Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life is my eighth book, but from the start, I knew everything about this book was going to be different. My previous books were historical fiction for adults and children set in World War II. This one fell into the self-help/personal growth category with a larger potential audience and wider appeal. It was also based on my blog of the same name, so already had a following.
So, I decided to set the official launch date for Bursts of Brilliance as Oct. 3, 2019 but start building buzz for the book in advance of that date. And I decided to ask for help. I sent a personal e-mail to everyone on my list who was active in social media or was good at getting the word out in other ways. It was important to approach them personally, not just blast out an invitation to join my book launch team to anyone who might follow me on social media. I wanted people I knew and trusted and people who cared about me and my book, and I wanted them to know I wasn’t asking just anyone.
To my great surprise, fifty of my friends, acquaintances, and fellow writers asked to be on my book launch team. Fifty! Not only did they ask to join, they were honored to be included and excited to help.
The next thing we did was send out a Google Form via e-mail to our team. That was my assistant’s idea. To be honest, I wasn’t sure it would work. I doubted people would take the time to fill out a form, so we kept it short and sweet and visually appealing (using original artwork from the cover), and hoped for a few responses. We built the form with the intention of having people commit to how they would help us. Commitment was important.
Our first question was about why they wanted to be part of the team. The second was how they wanted to receive their advance copy, as a PDF, a paperback, or they could download the e-book on Amazon for only 99 cents for the month of September, which would allow them to show up in the Amazon system as a verified purchase.
Next, we asked them to commit to three things they would do for us in that 30-day period. They could write a review for Amazon/Goodreads/Barnesandnoble.com; they could agree to create posts on social media three times during that month or share our posts; they could suggest my book to their book clubs or reading groups; they could invite me to be on their blogs or podcasts; they could send an e-mail to friends or mention me in their newsletter or on their website; or they could choose their own unique way to help.
Again, to my great surprise, 48 of the 50 people returned the form within a week. The other two later told me they didn’t get it and sent me their answers via e-mail. So, we were off and running. We sent everyone on the team the link to the Amazon e-book and most downloaded that, even if they wanted the paperback too. We mailed out the paperbacks and included some promotional postcards we asked them to hand out or mail to friends (and many did). We sent memes and written content our team could post on social media, and we asked what else they might need.
And then the ball started rolling. Within days, some of the people who had downloaded the e-book or received the PDF were already posting on social media or quoting from Bursts of Brilliance. Very soon, Amazon reviews started popping up. So did newsletter and blog mentions and an article in a newspaper. Others wrote to invite me on their podcasts or blogs.
We also asked the team to spread the word about my new buying packages on my website, www.burstsofbrilliance.com and to ask their friends to like the new social media pages created for Bursts of Brilliance™, my new business associated with the book. Within a few days, we had 100 likes on the new page on Facebook.
Each week, I touched base with our team, sharing my very sincere appreciation for all they were doing and encouraging them to keep it up. And they did. It was humbling and amazing to see the fun ways they came up with to talk about the book.
My Bursts of Brilliance™ Team came through with flying colors. By the time the book officially launched on Oct. 3 (with a book release party that drew 60 people), the book already had more than 15 positive reviews on Amazon and dozens of social media posts created or shared.
In my initial e-mail asking people to join the team, I mentioned I’d never asked for help launching a book before, but this book was special. It’s all about igniting the creative spirit in everyone and embracing your inner artists, whether you believe you have one or not. This book had the potential to go big, but I couldn’t do that on my own. My team’s response lifted my confidence and convinced me I was right. They were excited about this book and eager to help spread the word. Can you imagine the lift that gave my creative spirit!
I’ve gotten a bit jaded these past few years, recognizing how crazy busy people are. I wasn’t sure anyone would have the time to be on my team or the desire to take on something new. I’m so glad I was wrong about that. It was a lesson to me that if something is good, if it’s positive, if it’s special, people will make time.
Might there be people out there eager to help you launch your new book? Ask, and you may be surprised!
Teresa R. Funke is the author of Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life. She has also written seven award-winning novels set in World War II, a popular blog, and numerous articles, essays, and short stories. She is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, and community catalyst. Please visit www.teresafunke.com or www.burstsofbrilliance.com.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love this book: The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan by Nonfiction Authors Association CEO Stephanie Chandler!