Part of the Indie Author Series
My latest book, Bound by the Heart, released last month. Hooray! I tried something new this time, which is always fun as an indie author. Instead of doing a blog tour, which mainly targets other writers, I enlisted a “pre-release” team consisting of family and friends.
The idea was to garner some reviews before the actual release date, which makes the book more visible on Amazon, which exposes it to a wider audience.
Once the book was available in all formats, here’s what I did:
- Emailed closest friends and family, and other folks who’ve expressed interest in my work. Tip: email it to yourself and use “bcc” (blind carbon copy) for everyone else. This avoids exposing all the other email addresses.
- In the email, I explained that I needed their help prior to the wider release date.
- Offered the book at a discounted price (I listed it at $.99). Note: you can offer it for free, but most people acknowledge that reading a book for a buck is a great deal. Plus, I’m not experienced with free.
- Included direct links to all formats.
- Asked them to read the book within two weeks and post an honest review.
- Asked them to email me directly if they saw anything wonky--typos, strange formatting, etc.
- Calendared two weeks out to change the pricing on all formats and announce the wider release.
- Thanked them profusely!
People responded to my request with such enthusiasm. They loved being part of the pre-release team. It created camaraderie among the people closest to me who are rooting for me and wanted to be a part of the process. It also created buzz when I met with those people at family gatherings, track meets, and other school functions.
The results? I don’t have numbers for you that would determine how well it worked, because I don’t track such things (*gasp*). But I can tell you that it was fun. And isn’t that what’s most important?
One of the beautiful things about being an indie author is that you can try new things, play with strategies, and see what works. You have nothing to lose!
Tell me, have you ever been a part of a pre-release team? Have you ever enlisted one? Do you have any other marketing strategies that would be fun for us to try? Please share!
Julie Musil writes from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her Young Adult novels, Bound by the Heart, The Summer of Crossing Lines and The Boy Who Loved Fire, are available now. For more information, or to stop by an say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.
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About Bound by the Heart
When she crashes her bike beneath a highway underpass, she’s rescued by JR, a surfer dude who takes easy-on-the-eye to a new level and draws portraits as easily as drawing breath. With JR’s guidance, Lucy confronts her nightmares by sketching detailed images she sees each night, until a familiar face appears—one she’s sure has an insidious link to the heart beating in her chest.