Kathi and Anna LeBaron, book launch coach, continue their conversation about launching your book well. They take a deeper dive into how you can engage your readers to help expand your book’s reach.
In today’s episode, you will know:
- The importance of serving your audience and how to do it well.
- The three things you need to accomplish before your book launches.
- How to invite your readers to join you in helping you serve your audience.
To take this topic to the next level:
If you’re hungry for more of this conversation, you are invited to check out our next Writing at The Red House Retreat on July 12-17 where we will focus on “Creating your Book Launch Game Plan” with Anna LeBaron. We will be answering the question “What do you do in order to make sure that your book launch is as successful as it possibly can be?” Reserve your spot here.
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Resources and Mentions
Transcript of this Episode
Read along with the podcast!
Communicator Academy Podcast #182
Keeping the Book Launch Momentum Going
Kathi – Well, hey friends welcome to Communicator Academy, where our heart is to equip and encourage men and women to become the communicators God has created them to be. Today, I am continuing my conversation with book launch guru, okay, guru might not be the best term we want to use in Christian circles, but you can all translate that.
Anna – How about coach?
Kathi – Coach! Okay. You really are a coach.
Anna – I’m a certified life coach, a certified Think Differently coach.
Kathi – Perfect. And if there was a certification for Book Launch coach, you would be it.
Anna – Well, I do have a website: booklaunchcoach.com.
Kathi – There we go. See? So, you didn’t wait until #the4500 invited you to launch their book, and you didn’t wait to be called ‘coach’. I love this. So, we talked last week, and if you didn’t listen to last week’s podcast, go back and listen to it. It was basically the book launch basics, but not the basics that anybody talks about. That’s the interesting thing. So, Anna’s book launch basics, which, by the way, are mind blowing to everybody else, but today, I want to talk about After the List. The New York Times’ Best Sellers List, or Publisher’s Weekly has come out, and you’ve made the list, or not.
Anna – Either way. My book did not make the list. Any of them.
Kathi – Yeah, and you know what? So much of that is so out of your control. You were talking about, yesterday, there are some weeks that if you sell seven thousand books in a week you could make the list. Then, there are other books, you could sell 20 000 copies, and not touch anything. Every story about how somebody got on the list, is just a wild, mind bending ride. When us mere mortals do it. So, after the list, you still have the book. We’re not done. It doesn’t matter whether you made the list or not, you now live with this book. You are now married to this book for the rest of your life.
Anna – Yes. And you get to talk about it until you take your final breath and stand before Jesus.
Kathi – Right. Absolutely. So, first of all, please make sure you love your book before you put it out there. Yes. Then, also, I want to talk about some of the ways to keep talking about your book. I think this is one mistake authors make. “I have been talking about this book for years, and I’m sure everybody in my circle is tired about hearing about this book.” And you would say to that?
Anna – Think about your friend who has launched a book and that keeps talking about their book. I don’t get tired of my friends talking about their books. I don’t. I support them. I champion them. I cheer them on. It doesn’t bother me to see another post about the book. I’ll click ‘like’ on that so fast, it’ll make your head spin, because I know what it takes. So, you have to assume your fans and your followers already know that it’s your job to market your book.
Kathi – It’s your job to market your book.
Anna – They’re not going to sit there and roll their eyes, and go, “Oh my, gosh, there she goes, talking about the book again.” They’re not feeling that way. If they read the book and were affected by it? They are happy to see that thing float across their news feed again, and be reminded of what they learned, or the way it affected their life. So you have to be generous towards your readers, just like you are generous towards other authors.
Kathi – It goes back to something you said before. Serve. Serve. Serve. Serve. Sell. So, if you’re posting about serving your audience, and one of the tools you use to serve your audience is the book? Nobody gets tired of that. But, if you’re posting Sell! Sell! Sell! Serve?
Anna – They’re going to get tired of it. Nobody wants to be sold 24 hours a day.
Kathi – And nobody wants to be begged at. Like, “If you don’t buy this book, I can’t feed my children.”
Anna – There’s a way to do it that’s icky, and there’s a way to it that brings the readers along on this journey that you’re on.
Kathi – And it’s that heart of service that makes the difference.
Anna – But before the release day, all that happens, and this was one thing we didn’t cover last week, so I’m going to go ahead and insert it right here as a lead in to what we’re going to talk about today. Anything you’re doing to launch your book needs to include and accomplish one of three things: One, pre-order sales. Two, reviews. Prior to release, you have people review on Goodreads. After release day, you focus on Amazon. Not because other book seller websites aren’t great and you want to have people posting on all the book seller websites where they have an account, but Goodreads and Amazon are where most thoughtful readers go to decide if they want to buy a book that they heard about. They’ll look at the reviews. They’ll look at the star ratings. They’ll read some of the negative reviews, like we all do. Then they’ll make a buying decision.
Kathi – You only have so much spend with your book launch team, with your people. You want them to do it in the places that matter. I also, for my close circle, I ask them to do it on Barnes and Noble.
Anna – And I don’t have a problem with people doing that. It’s just that, my focus, when I’m leading a book launch team, I focus on Goodreads, prior to release day, and then after release day, it’s Amazon.
Kathi – I love it. And you feel like there’s a magic number over at Amazon.
Anna – Well, your first goal, of any author, is to get 20-25 reviews, because you want to trigger whatever algorithm does on Amazon, where Amazon starts selling your book for you, when they start including your book in those parts of the website where it says, “People who bought this book also bought…” You want Amazon putting your book cover in front of more of the people that are looking up the bestselling book that hit the New York Times that’s in your same category.
Kathi – Yes! You want to be among the considered. I can’t tell you how many people who had never heard of me, never done any of that, were like, “Other people buy it.” And they read the description and they’re like, “Oh! That’s what I’m looking for.”
Anna – So, the magic number is somewhere between 20 and 25. Nobody knows the sweet thing that happens when, but your goal as an author is to get to that 20-25 reviews on Amazon – somebody bought your book and hated it – it still counts towards the 25.
Kathi – I love it. Okay, next time somebody says, “Does she even know how to write?” then, I’m just going to say, “Thank you, Jesus, ‘cause you got me closer to 25.”
Anna – Negative reviews actually help authors, and we could have a whole podcast about that.
Kathi – Let’s do that someday. I think that would be super fun. I need an attitude adjustment sometimes.
Anna – Yes! I would be happy to help you with that. So, preorder sales is one. Reviews, both on Goodreads and Amazon is two. The other thing is just social media awareness of your book title and book cover. Here’s why that matters so much. Most people need to see a new thing and average of 7-10 times before they make a buying decision, so you want that book title and book cover floating across people’s news feed. I love Brené Brown, but, and I will say, I had to see Daring Greatly on my friends’ newsfeed 5-10-15 times, before I got, like, “Fine! I’ll go see what this is all about!” Then, I fell in love, and I’m the one posting about Daring Greatly. So, just because my friends were reading it and it was impacting their life, is what caused me to go and be curious enough to look it up and buy the book and read it.
Kathi – So, your book, The Polygamist’s Daughter, on Amazon. I want to go back on Amazon for a second, then we can talk about social media again. Your book has over 600 Amazon reviews. First of all, mind blowing. I think the most I have is right around 180, and I was really proud of 180, but 600! Holy cow! So, you got them in two ways. Can you explain the two ways you go those Amazon reviews?
Anna – Yes. I had a launch team for my book. It had 500 people on it. When you have a group, the Pareto Principle is at work. That’s the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work. Twenty percent of your investments get you eighty percent of your return. So, that 80/20 is at work in any group in the world, so when I had a launch team of 500, twenty percent of that is about a hundred, ‘cause I had to math in my head. I’m a words girl.
Kathi – I can only do retail math. I can tell you how much of a discount that blouse is.
Anna – So, about a hundred reviews is the norm; what I would expect and hope for. I was able to get 250, so roughly half. I still felt a little bit, like, “What? You got a copy of the book to read, and you didn’t do your job?” But it’s just the nature of people. It’s not personal. It’s just nature.
Kathi – What do you think is the biggest thing on book launch teams, why people don’t post to Amazon?
Anna – They’re intimidated. They’ve never written a review before, and they don’t know how. So, when I’m leading a launch team, I am very vocal about, “If you have any trouble, if you feel intimidated, if you’re not comfortable with it, let’s have a chat. Let me help you with that.” I never tell people what to review, and what to say, but I do help them overcome the obstacles in their mind.
Kathi – It’s so funny that so many people are afraid.
Anna – One reason is, they want to honor you as the author, so they feel like they need to write some incredibly moving review of your book, and they don’t feel qualified to do that, because they love you as an author. So, I tell people all the time, “One sentence is a review.” The other half of that equation is, if you’re like most people, and you’re looking at a book on Amazon, and you go there, and there’s a hundred or more reviews, and it has a 4 point anything rating? You’ve already decided you want that book, and sometimes people don’t even read the reviews.
Kathi – They know there are a lot of people who loved the book.
Anna – There are a lot of people who loved it, and they’re making the buying decision. So, it’s not even the content of the reviews. I hate to tell people that, but it’s true.
Kathi – It’s just mass. It’s critical mass that helps out.
Anna – So, when you first go for reviews, your first goal is 20-25. Twenty five is your first goal. Then your second goal is to get to 100. You want to be in that three digit, because three digits just does something in someone’s mind. So, your 180 is in the three digits. Or, you could have 101 and still be three digits. There’s just a thing about three digits.
Kathi – It says that enough people like this, that I’m not going to waste my money.
Anna – Yes, but the next goal after that is a thousand. And a thousand is a tipping point for a book.
Kathi – Really?
Anna – Yes. So, that’s my goal, and that’s why I have over 600 now. The first 250 of those reviews came from my launch team, and I was grateful. Then, in the last two and a half years since the book released, I have literally asked and invited people to review my book one at a time.
Kathi – That’s amazing. So, let’s combine Amazon reviews with social media, ‘cause these are the three things that we’ve talk about keeping the momentum, so after the list, Amazon, Goodreads, let’s talk about social media. So, how to you ask those people on social media?
Anna – Okay, so first, we don’t ask. We invite. Because an invitation to do something is way more appealing than an ask. We invite them. Let’s get the word in your mind, and let’s get that mindset “We’re inviting people to do something.” So, the first invitation is, you invite your readers to post on their social media and tag you. A lot of people don’t want to tag the author, because, “I don’t want to bother them. I don’t want to be whatever.” No! Bother the author!
Kathi – That’s what the author is there for!
Anna – So, tag the author. Use the hashtag of the book. You can find out what the hashtag is by going to their socials, if they’re using one. So, invite your readers to post about the book on their socials and tag you, so that you get that notification. Then, once you see that post, that they’re reading the book, you go engage with them. Comment and say, “I’m delighted to have you as a reader!” Whatever it is that you’re feeling in that moment, convey that to them. Then say, “Please let me know what you think when you’re done reading.” Then, when they love the book (and most of them do) they will come back to you and say, “This is what I thought.” Then they make their one sentence or two. So, then you say, “Would you consider copying and pasting what you just wrote, as your review on Amazon?” Because, literally, it’s not the words. It’s the number of reviews. So, you’re inviting them and what you’re doing by saying that is, you’re overcoming all the mental obstacles that they have.
Kathi – You’ve already said, “This would serve me beautifully.”
Anna – “Copy and paste what you wrote. That would be a delight to my heart to read that as your review on Amazon.” Then, often times, when I say that, the response I get the next time I get a notification is, they’ll say, “Absolutely. I will.” Or they’ll come back and say, “Done.”
Kathi – That’s beautiful. That’s the best thing ever, right?
Anna – Yes, but the other kind of comments that you’re going to find on that book post is, other people saying, “Oooh, that looks interesting.” Or “Oh, I just put it in my cart.” When those things happen, you comment to those people and invite them to do the same exact thing. If they say, “Oh, that looks interesting.” Your comment is something to the effect of “I would love to have you as a reader. Let me know if you decide to make the purchase.”
Kathi – Oh, I love that.
Anna – If they said, “It’s in my cart. I just bought it.” Then your comment is, “Please let me know by tagging me in a post, when your book comes in the mail.” Then you just start this conversation all over on the next post. I’ve done this for two and half years, and have over 600 reviews just based on that.
Kathi – That’s amazing. I love it. This is stuff rich stuff. I want to have you back to talk about Goodreads vs Amazon. I want you to come back and talk about bad reviews. I want to have you back to talk about everything. Guys, if you are loving this conversation, if you’re as hungry for this conversation as I am, I’m not going to ask you, I’m going to invite you to check out our next Writing at The Red House. July 12th through 17th. Creating your Book Launch Game Plan with Anna LeBaron. I’m so excited to be a part of this. We will be talking about “What do you do in order to make sure that your book launch is as successful as it possibly can be?”
Anna – Can I add one thing?
Kathi – Of course.
Anna – If they decide to pick up my book, The Polygamist’s Daughter, please tag me in a post.
Kathi – Please tag her in a post, ‘cause she wants to hear about it. Yes, please do that guys. If you are considering coming to The Red House, let us know. I would love for you to tag me in a post. We can talk more about it, if you want to find out if this is for you. Anna will be teaching all about book launches. I talk about rooted marketing.
Anna – And can I say that your talk about rooted marketing left me feeling all the feels. I was, literally, in tears at the end.
Kathi – I feel like marketing is a ministry. I know you feel the same way.
Anna – It’s like, I’ve never heard it put that way before. It opened my eyes to some things.
Kathi – But you and I have similar hearts. We want to serve the people who are reading our books. We want to serve the people who are following us on social media. I would love to say that I am always in that mode. I am not always in that mode. My heart is always in that mode. That’s what I feel like God has given us this platform. We’ve had to work hard. We’ve had to develop it, but I love learning from another servant. That’s what makes me so excited to have you at The Red House. When people are coming to The Red House, I’m like, “You guys don’t even know what you’re in for. You don’t even know and I can’t wait.” We’ve had other wonderful teachers here. Susy Flory, Tonya Kubo, I mean, it’s so rich. We will be putting together an amazing team for July 12th through 17th featuring Anna. Anna, thanks for being on Communicator Academy.
Anna – Thank you for having me.
Kathi – And friends, thank you so much for listening. You make this the podcast we want to show up and do every week. You’ve been listening to Communicator Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. You’ve been given the best message in the world. Now, go live it.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned item
Meet The Guest
Author, Book Launch Expert, and Social Media Strategist
Anna LeBaron is an author, book launch expert, and social media strategist who is blazing new trails for the publishing industry.
With the help of #the4500, a national network of readers and bloggers, Anna rogue-launched Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love in 2015. Since For the Love, she has employed her enthusiastic and intuitive approach to social media to successfully launch more than 60 other titles from a long list of publishers, as well as her own memoir, The Polygamist’s Daughter (Tyndale, 2017).
Meet Your Hosts
Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO
Author, Speaker, Mastermind Coach