Guest Post by Shannon @duolit – The Justin Timberlake School of Rocking Your Book Launch

Rocking your book launch

 

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The Justin Timberlake School of Rocking Your Book Launch

In addition to charming you with his suave style, sweet dance moves, and amazing falsetto melodies, Justin Timberlake can teach you a thing or two about how to rock your book launch.

Teach us, oh master.

Seriously.

For those of you under-the-rock-dwellers, Mr. Timberlake recently released his third album, the 20/20 Experience, and sold 968,000 copies in the first week.

That’s a lot. Even for Justin.

Most of the agencies that project numbers for these sorts of things estimated Justin’s third album in seven years would move about 500,000 copies at best, given the market for music these days. (How many people still buy whole albums when you can grab a single on iTunes?)

So what made the 468,000 copy difference?

Justin Timberlake ROCKED the heck out of his product launch.

What can we learn from the master?

A ton.

I poured over this detailed outline of events leading up to Justin’s launch on March 19, 2013, and used that to put together these 7 ideas we can take and apply to our next book launch.

1. Start early

What Justin did:

After finishing his album in July 2012, Justin got together with his team to begin planning his launch in September 2012 (six months before his release date). By November he had advertising partners lined up for the big event.

What you should do:

Six months might be a little far in advance to plan your launch, but three months is the minimum amount of time I would set aside to get your ducks in a row.

You need plenty of time to set-up a blog tour (your version of Justin’s pre-launch ad blitz) and plan a steady release of exciting content leading up to the big event.

You can still be in final edits with your manuscript during those three months, but by about four to six weeks out you should have a well edited version to send out to your last group of beta readers and reviewers.

2. Set the tone

What Justin did:

In early January 2013, Justin posted a short video to his website announcing his return to the studio. Days later, he released the title of the new project and shared a very earnest letter with fans.

(Take a moment to go and read the letter, I’ll wait!)

That letter is a PERFECTLY crafted piece of marketing copy.

It’s sincere, builds anticipation, but remains vague in any details (notice he did not give any dates or other specifics).

Still, he made his fans feel like he was in their living room, sitting next to them on the couch, making an exciting personal announcement and asking (without asking) you to be happy for him and be a part of the magic to come.

What you should do:

Begin building anticipation with your fans via a direct, sincere message.

Tell them honestly how much work–how much heart and soul–you’ve put into your new novel. Tell them how excited you are to share it and how much you’re looking forward to enveloping them in the fun.

This will set the tone for what’s to come–it’s an exciting, special, unique, original, authentic, and passionate project. It’s not just a book, it’s a piece of work you have carefully crafted just for them (that’s not to sound overdone, but honestly we all put a lot of hard work into our books and it’s okay to say that sometimes).

3. Give them a taste

What Justin did:

A week after sharing his letter, Justin released his first single from the new album.

The timing here is critical. He kept the excitement rolling week-to-week from that letter straight through the launch of his new CD.

In this case, people were still buzzing about his return to the studio when they suddenly got a taste of what Justin had in store.

What you should do:

A single is to an album what an excerpt is to a novel.

(Did you just have a PTSD flashback to your last SAT test?)

Pick an exciting excerpt from your book (it doesn’t have to be the prologue or first chapter) to share with your fans.

This should get their taste buds tingling with anticipation. You want them to be eagerly checking back with your website or social media accounts to find out when there will be more to indulge in.

4. Keep the ball rolling

What Justin did:

Mr. Timberlake spent the entire month of February acting like the sample guy at the grocery store.

(You know you get excited on sample day at the market. Do I want a free, hot tasty cookie? Why yes, yes I do!)

He popped up every few days with a new little cup of goodies for fans to try out — the official release date of his album, the cover artwork and tracklist, a concert tour announcement, and a video to go with his first single.

This kept the momentum going as the big date approached, without beating people over the head with it or releasing a deluge of information that would just overwhelm his fans.

What you should do:

Maintain a level of excitement with your fans by releasing sample tastings of your own in the month leading up to your big release.

You can share your cover art, summary, reviews (if you have any in advance), character profiles, research/inspiration, blog tour dates/sites, and of course the official release date of your forthcoming novel.

These should be spaced out about a week apart in separate blog posts (which you should be sure to share on social media as well).

5. Get your feet wet

What Justin did:

At the same time he was sharing samples with fans, Justin made a few select appearances to perform material from his new album.

He played a small concert for a group of VIPs before the Super Bowl, performed at the Grammy’s, and made an appearance at SXSW.

These performances were not only a sampling of his new music, they were a warm-up for Justin as he prepared to take over the world prior to his album release date.

What you should do:

Outside of your pre-launch blog tour, plan a few events in the month before your release to get in front of an audience and break the ice.

You can do a guest post, a Skype session with a book club, or a Twitter chat with some fans. Anything that will get you talking about your book.

This will give you a chance to fine tune your message and figure out exactly what your fans get most excited about with the new book.

Plus, you’ll begin to build your street team of excited fans who will go forth and conquer–or at least tell all their friends about an awesome author with a new book they just heard about!

6. Flood the market

What Justin did:

About two weeks before the release of his album, Justin Timberlake was everywhere.

He was in commercials, hosting SNL, and making an entire week of appearances on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show. You turned on the TV and he was there. You turned on the radio and he was there.

That is–if you were between the ages of say, 25 and 35.

Justin did a very good job in this stage of not just getting himself out there, but getting himself out there through the right channels for *his* fans.

Here are Justin’s partnerships from the launch in a nutshell: SNL, SXSW, Jimmy Fallon, Bud Light Premium, and Target.

Here’s an alternative line-up of appearances/ad partners he *could* have had: American Idol, Warped Tour, Jay Leno, Coors Light, and Wal-Mart.

But Justin knows his fans. He knows who they are and where they hang out and what they think is cool and what they think is NOT cool.

He knows his most passionate fans are 20 and 30 somethings (myself included) who fancy themselves just a little bit hipster (enough so that they disdain today’s pop music and its primary production factory, American Idol), are still young enough (or single enough) to get their laughs from late night TV (but not those stodgy old guys their parents like–sorry Leno and Letterman) and would never admit to shopping at Wal-Mart (but know Target is the cool place to be).

What you should do:

This is where your reader profile and target market worksheets really come in handy. Your blog tour (an author’s equivalent to Justin’s all out pre-launch media blitz) should be carefully planned around the places your fans would hang out.

You need about 8 – 10 stops around the Internet planned for your launch (more is better if you can handle it, and keep in mind if you ask 10 – 12 blogs to be a stop on your tour, you can hope for about 6-8 “yes” responses).

But unlike Justin’s pre-sale blitz, you should plan your blog tour to start on the day of your book release and run through the next week or two.

Why?

Because you want fans to have the opportunity for instant gratification. As soon as they decide they like you and your book, you want them to immediately go to Amazon and make a purchase.

Asking them to remember to go back to Amazon in a week and make a purchase is dicey, at best. You’ll lose momentum. So it’s better to have the option available at the time of your tour.

You should also mix-up your stops, offering giveaways, excerpts, interviews, and guest posts so even if you’re sharing the same information, the different formats won’t make people who follow the entire tour feel like it’s all redundant.

The second most important part of this step (after tailoring it *your* fans) is this: You have to make it EXCITING.

Listen, I’ve been a fan of Justin Timberlake since the days of *NSYNC (note the proper asterisk placement and spelling denoting my TRUE devotion here) but even I was not excited of my own accord about Justin’s new album. I’m not that into pop music these days and though I love Justin, I had my doubts about what he could do after a seven year absence from the music industry.

But all the activity leading up to his release got me REALLY excited.

It is YOUR job to get the fans excited. You have to make your book launch into A BIG EVENT so your fans will feel the anticipation and want to be part of the big release (instead of waiting a few months to buy it whenever they feel like it).

7. Kick it up a notch

What Justin did:

On the same day he released his album, Justin also released an exclusive “deluxe” version (featuring two additional tracks) available *only* in Target stores.

I honestly could not tell you when I last bought an actual CD from a store. Like most people these days, I get my music from iTunes, delivered straight to my iPhone.

But moved by the perfect wave of Justin’s promotions, I took my butt to Target (after the gym, in my sweaty clothes, during rush hour traffic on a Friday for pete’s sake) and bought the exclusive deluxe album.

It was the same price as the regular album (for a limited time) but I would have paid more for it without blinking.

What you should do:

Create a limited edition set for your novel release featuring some special bonuses that will *only* be offered as part of this exclusive offer.

You can include a special bookmark, a hand-written thank you note, some sort of book-related trinket, and (of course) an autographed copy of the book.

These limited copies would be sold directly through your website (you can use PayPal for the transactions) and should cost more than the book by itself.

But your reader will be getting a special value above and beyond *just* a book.

Even if you only have 10 – 25 of these, it’s something really special and fans will want a *real* piece of the history you are making.

The ends justify the means

Yes, you’re probably reading this and thinking — “Good Lord, Shannon. That sounds like a lot of work! Have you forgotten that I also have a full time job and dinner to cook and kids to take to soccer practice and other hobbies I enjoy?”

Make no mistake, a *good* book launch does take a lot of work.

But the payoff is SO worth it.

Your book launch will set the tone for everything to come. It’s your best chance to build the kind of momentum that will spiral into steady monthly sales and therefore get you closer to your goals of doing this writing thing full-time.

People doubted Justin and he proved them wrong, nearly doubling their projected numbers for his first week of sales and breaking all sorts of records in the process.

So now it’s your turn to prove people wrong.

Show us what you got!

P.S. – In the middle of his album release hoopla, Justin confirmed a “leak” (totally planted, come on) that he will have a SECOND album out later this year. Just saying, if you want to announce a sequel…Justin wrote the book on doing that, too.

Blood Memory: Book 1 now available on other platforms via @Smashwords

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Available at:

Apple/iTunes –  (FREE)

Kobo –  (.99)

Barnes & Noble –  (.99)

Amazon –  (.99)

Smashwords –  (FREE)

Blood Memory: Book 2 – Beneath The Surface drops early July 2013!

Meet Lewis – Book 2: Beneath the Surface excerpt

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Lewis was listening to at least ten different voices at once, and on top of that, was managing the emergency response from the city on its broadcast grid. With an eye on the Alpha and his mate, Lewis did his best to redirect information to the Commander to avoid being caught in the confusion of the explosion in front of the Piazza. It was the sudden silence that confused the crap out of him.

 

An EMP is a burst of electromagnetic radiation that will burn out and cause irreparable damage to any electronics within its blast range. The higher the altitude of the explosion, the greater the coverage on the target ranges and vice versa. Lewis knew this, counted on it, in fact, but not while in the middle of uptown. His hardware was not protected by a faraday type cage and immediately all his systems went dark. It was time to leave.

 

Standing quickly, Lewis pulled off his now useless head piece and bolted out of the mobile control center. He heard the metal hit the ground behind him, underneath the van, and didn’t wait to see what it was that made the noise.  Lewis broke out into a full out sprint, just barely missing the initial explosion of twisted wire and metal, but the concussion picked him up and slammed him 40 feet forward against the cars lined up on the opposite side of the street, shattering glass, and throwing heat up, as well as his mobile control unit, into the air.  Lewis was wearing the proto Therian-weave, gotten by means he would never admit to, and it was the only thing that kept him alive.

 

Pulling himself off the ground, he felt the sting of abrasions healing up quickly on his back, and thanked anyone who was listening that he was wearing the body armor suit. The new prototype suits were experimental Level V Kevlar armor, resisting the .30-06 Springfield armor-piercing that was the standard at Level IV; otherwise the damage would have been lethal.

 

The force of the concussion grenade was distributed along the Therian-weave material, balancing out the damage.  So instead of shattered bones in his torso, the pain radiated out to the edges of his arms and legs, but it was manageable.  Rolling over, Lewis took a deep breath and felt the fire from his mangled van.  The Therian-weave did not prevent his hearing being damaged, but his innate abilities were making up for the lack of protection.

 

Noise was garbled – screaming, people yelling, and his vision was blurry.  Leaning back against the car he was slammed against, he tried to sit up when another Piper and his Commander rushed over to him.

 

The Commander’s mouth was moving, but Lewis could not hear anything but the high whine of ringing in his ears.

 

Lewis squinted and yelled, “What? The explosion…I…my hearing.”

 

The Commander grabbed his face and began mouthing slowly.  Are you alright? What happened?

 

“Concussion grenade.  Heard it drop, didn’t wait.”

 

Can’t reach anyone.

 

“EMP.  Like Glenveagh, I think. I’m blind…not literally, but-” Lewis’ ears began to ring and he shook his head, trying to steady it.

 

“Others…sewer….”

 

“I can hear you, kind of.  The Sergeant and the others?”

 

Vivienne.  Where is Vivienne?

 

“She’s with Sarge. They’re in the sewers. Vivienne, the Sarge, Red, and Marthinus.”

 

The Commander’s expression changed from his matter-of-fact demeanor to suddenly frantic.  He quickly turned away, only to have Lewis grab at his Therian-weave suit.

 

“They’re not alone down there.  And they’re trapped.”

 

“Where’s Huntington?”

 

Lewis shook his head again, his hearing coming back loudly as his ears popped with noise.  “I don’t know.  I lost him and his Mercs after Mr. Evans jumped.”

 

“Evans,” the Commander said through gritted teeth.

 

“All electronics are fried.  I’ve got nothing here, and even if I did, everything is dead. Can’t get word out, unless on foot.  I don’t know how far the pulse went.  Could be blocks.  Could be miles.  Could be the city.”

 

The Commander reached down and lifted Lewis to his feet, helping him stand upright. Lewis fought the urge to throw up, and then stood helpless, unable to do anything.  Lifting his hand, the Commander summoned two Pipers and took one of their weapons, a Sig Sauer, and handed it to Lewis.

 

“I need you frosty, Lewis.”

 

Lewis looked at the gun and then took it in his hand.  A field Piper he was not. Lewis spent 99% of his time in the Situation Room, handling all incoming and outgoing information that streamed to him through millions of lines of code, 24/7. Physically fit, he was trained as an Alpha’s Piper and could kill a man 20 different ways, but Lewis chose to keep his destruction on a higher level of existence. He could singlehandedly hack into any database, destroy the existence of a man, and make it appear as if he never existed. He could freeze operations of some of the most powerful business in the world, delete their information, and topple governments if given enough time. The digital world was his to play with or destroy. Anywhere. Anytime. This was power in the 21st century and Lewis was king.  Still, he handled the gun expertly and checked the chamber and clip, then nodded to his Commander.

 

“Roger that, sir.”

 

 

 

Doing final touches on Book 2 – Beneath The Surface!

The night began with such promise.

Following Vivienne Sena and Simon Huntington’s return from the deep cold tundra of Siberia, the Greater Pack and vampire clans celebrate the coming of the New Year.  Things have changed for Simon and Vivienne, now platonic friends, despite Simon’s wishful thinking. Together they embark on another adventure involving one Kyle Evans, human.

Revelations, explosions, a new year, and more questions than answers – Book 2: Beneath The Surface starts with both feet running and ends with a truly, unbelievable and disastrous celebration.

 

Really need to work on the blurb, but so dang excited it’s getting closer to release! Stay Tuned!

 

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Rising Calm by Haley Fisher @CelestialPromos

risingcalm

 

On Cara Weaver’s first day at her new high school—merely the next in a long line of new schools—she meets two senior boys: James Sable and Crispin Calaway. They’re new too; they’ve been at the school just longer than she has, and they’ve never made an effort to reach out to anyone. Until she comes. When her friends find out, they’re awed. But Cara can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to James and Crispin than the two are telling.

As the days go on, everything at her new home seems to be going better than it has in any of the previous cities she’s lived in. She loves her friends, gets a job at a bookstore, and even starts to spend more time with Crispin and James. She’s happy. But all that begins to change when she comes to realize that the two boys she’s becoming close to are hiding something. It’s then that she knows her unexplainable wariness of them has been justified all along. But she keeps it a secret.

Days later, when a stranger accosts her outside a small shopping center, Crispin and James arrive just in time to help her. But they seem know the attacker. And instead of running him off, Crispin and James take Cara away, for her own protection.

With little explanation, Cara is told that she’s important and that she can’t go home until the boys have sorted some things out. In the meantime, Cara’s world is being turned upside down as she finds out that there is more to her life than she possibly imagined.

 

About the Author:

 

risingcalmauthor

 

Rising Calm Author Haley Fisher
I’m Haley Fisher, a college student in Kansas, and I’ve just signed a contract with a company called Silver Tongue Press to publish my first book!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been an avid reader and an aspiring writer, but the step toward actually getting a book published is an enormous one for me. This is a big deal. And, as I’ve been told, the next step to being successful is getting the word out that my book exists.

So, though it’s not in print yet—it’s coming out February 14th—I’d love for people to keep an eye out for Rising Calm. It’ll be the first in a series of books about a young girl who finds out her life and her fate are far bigger than she ever realized. At the risk of giving too much away, the most I can tell you for now is that there is magic, prophecy, new worlds, and a cast of characters who I love to write.

 

Purchase at Silver Tongue Press – http://www.silvertonguepress.com/shopping-center.html

 

Praise:

 

This was a great read! It’s geared toward young adults but even as an old adult I loved the story and found the characters smart and engaging. I am very much looking forward to the next installment! – Midge (Amazon)

 

Haley Fisher does an amazing job of really bringing the story to life with her words. She is a very talented young author. I can’t wait to read the sequel to this book. – Patriot (Amazon)

 

 

Giveaway:

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