New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Tim Grahl joined our January #BBchat Twitter Chat to discuss his book The Book Launch Blueprint and how writers can plan their own successful book launch.
Tim Grahl is the founder of Out:think Group, a firm that helps authors build a platform, connect with readers, and sell more books. He is the author of The Book Launch Blueprint and Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book and works with many of the top authors in the world, including Hugh Howey, Daniel Pink, Dan and Chip Heath, and Barbara Corcoran. Learn more about Tim at www.booklaunch.com.
If you’d like to be notified about future BookBaby Twitter chats, subscribe to our Facebook events. To view the entire chat transcript, visit this link. Below is a reformatted version of our discussion.
What would you say to writers who are holding themselves back from success?
Fundamentally it has to do with fear. Fear of putting yourself out there. Fear of judgement. Fear of not being good enough. Recognizing that fear will never, ever leave, you must learn to dance with the fear and create with the fear. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic, fear is allowed to come along for the ride but it can’t drive. Required reading for everyone: The War of Art.
What is the one essential belief that writers must have for their book to be a success?
That it is actually a good thing for people to buy and read your book. It is amazing how many authors at their core do not actually believe this. You can have the best marketing tactics in the world but without this belief, all of it will fail.
Why is it important to define what a “successful book launch” means for you?
You can always find an author who has sold more books than you. You have to define your version of success, otherwise, you will always feel like you are not good enough.
Who are an author’s “fans” and why is getting them involved so important?
I define fans as “people who will buy my books.” Your #1 goal is to gain permission to stay in contact with your fans long term.
Why do some writers get stuck in their comfort zone when it comes time to ask for help, and how can they get out of it?
Again, fear. We are afraid of looking dumb, so we don’t ask for help and we don’t try new things. We must check our ego at the door, always be learning, and be quick to admit when we don’t know.
Why is the pre-sale period the most important time to crack the bestseller lists?
Because it is the only time when sales over multiple weeks count toward the list. Read this for more insights on the major bestseller lists.
When planning a launch, how far out should you start marketing the book before the release date?
I start planning nine months out and start actively marketing four weeks out. People don’t tend to buy books further out than four weeks before pub date. I’ve been teaching a lot of this on my podcast.
Where should writers spend most of their time: building a social media following or growing their email list?
By far, the most important thing an author can do is build an email list. Social media, blogging, podcasting, and everything else is far less effective.
Who are “influencers” and how can they help expand your book’s marketing reach?
An influencers is anyone who influences other people’s actions. Bloggers, podcasters, TV personalities, and authors are all influencers.
In what way does empathy play a role in successfully pitching an influencer?
Every interaction with an influencer should begin with the question, “How can I help them get what they want?” Zig Ziglar always said, “You can get anything you want in life if you only help enough other people get what they want.” This absolutely applies in influencer outreach.
Lucy Briggs, BookBaby marketing manager, Twitter Chat interviewer, and LiterarYeti tamer, interviewed Tim Grahl for BookBaby’s January Twitter Chat.
All You Need To Know About Book Pre-Sales
Book Publicity Tips From An Industry Veteran
Making The Most of Print On Demand, Part 1: Your Timeline To Maximize Book Sales
Budget Enough Time (And Patience) For Your Book Promotion
Book Marketing Tips For Self Published Authors
What Book Publicity Can An Author Gain On Her Own (And Where Does A PR Firm Help Out)?