Gone are the days of stuffy formal events; now it’s all about authentic communication where people live (on their cell phones). Let’s talk about how you can use your social media channels and email list to promote your self-published poetry collection.
Remember all of that pre-work we recommended you do to grow your social media following and email list? Yeah, it’s going to come in handy big time here. Having an organic following in place will make sure people see your message when you’re launching. A launch is not the time to gain followers: it’s the time to nurture the relationships and the audience you already have and to convert them into buyers of your work. If you have any other email contacts that you haven’t already added to your list, now is the time to add them.
You also need to establish a set date and time you’re going to “launch” and make sure you’re glued to your computer to be there if anything goes awry (Murphy’s Law, y’all).
Plan out and create your email sequence
The big thing about launches is planning ahead so that when it’s go time, it’s like a sequence of dominoes falling perfectly. We recommend starting promotion at least three weeks before the launch date, but we cannot stress this enough: don’t overdo it! You don’t want to turn off your readers before your collection is available for purchase.
Three weeks out, we recommend sending an email that hints that something is coming. You can be as subtle as you like, and it’s always good to add an air of mystery and to give the readers a taste of what is coming in the next several weeks. A week before the launch, send out another email that acts as a reminder, generates more excitement, and shares a bit more information about what’s coming.
From there, we recommend a series of 5 to 6 emails spread out over the course of 2 to 3 weeks to generate a sense of urgency without causing overwhelm. In these emails, include a strong call-to-action and language that both entertains and empowers the audience. One way to do this is with “power words.” Here are some examples of power words from Charlene Boutin to consider when crafting your content: create, explore, start, find, try.
And we’ve said it a million times, but we’ll say it again: all of your content needs to convey why your work adds value and provides something beneficial to your readers’ lives!
This is where the fun begins! It’s time to unveil your new self-published poetry collection to your audience and announce that is available for sale. If you’ve been offering value in line with our earlier advice about building a freebie, sending follow-up emails to develop an audience relationship, and generating excitement with your pre-launch emails, this is the time to tie it all together and create a link between the value you’ve been providing and the additional value and enjoyment they’ll receive when they purchase your book. Always include a link to your order page on your website!
Get their attention with a promotion or discount offer. You don’t want to discount your work too heavily, as entrepreneurs and psychologists have long said that people don’t value things the same when they get them for free, but you want to make your work accessible and, again, create that urgency that will help to convert sales. Another way to do this is by adding additional value. You can reuse your freebie, but we recommend adapting it or creating another similar quick win-generating tool that you offer for free via digital download after someone purchases your collection.
Now is the time to lean on friends, family, mentors, and potentially even influencers in the poetry space. This email should share testimonials and stories about how people have been positively and profoundly affected by your work, and encourage your audience to purchase based on emotional connection and trust. Using some strategic design with photos of the people being quoted and something fun like putting quotes in speech bubble text blocks, can create an email that will stand out and move hesitant buyers along in the sales process.
Prep your Kleenex: now is the time to go deep and talk about your “why.” Talk about what poetry means to you, how it relates to your life, and why you’ve decided to create this self-published poetry collection. Be vulnerable. Be detailed. This is your chance to connect with your audience and encourage them to purchase.
Here is your last chance in the sequence to create urgency and direct people to buy your collection. If you have a promo offer, this is the time to remind your audience about how they don’t want to miss out on getting your work at an amazing price. If you’re not offering a promo or a freebie that comes with the collection for a limited time, use this email to overcome objections. Think about what may be giving your audience pause when it comes to making that purchase. Is it the price? The topic or length of the collection? Sell the value and work to overcome those objections.
And don’t forget about social media
Now that you’ve got your email sequence planned and prepped, it’s time to do the same for your social media. It sounds like a lot of work (we know), but it will be soooo worth it when your launch is an amazing success. You’re going to want to incorporate a lot of the same concepts we discussed in the email sequence (you can actually repurpose some of the copy for this), and make sure you’re also using graphics to get people’s attention. Use platforms like Canva (see our earlier content on social media for more information on social media graphics) or hire a graphic designer to curate a look for the graphics that are in line with your personal branding and the look of the collection.
In addition to prepped graphics, you’ll want to include book cover photos (stylized is best), photos of you, photos of you holding the collection, etc. to align your visual message with your written one.
Launch events in a digital age
As a self-published author, you need to get creative with how you reach your audience and how you create a buzz for your work without the budget or footprint to travel for in-person events around the globe. As you plan out your marketing for the launch, develop a launch event that you can do from the comfort of your own home (but leave the footie pajamas in the drawer for this one).
When it comes to hosting events, you have to think about what you’re comfortable with and what you can pull off successfully. Do you like all eyes on you or do you get stage fright? Do you feel more comfortable roping in some friends and loved ones to assist in the production or are you a one-person show?
Some great ideas you can use for your own launch events include virtual poetry readings; an informational “Q&A with the poet,” where someone interviews you; interviewing another poet in a podcast-style format; or a giveaway (which you’ll definitely want to plan in advance and promote accordingly).
Make sure you’re ready to handle an influx of orders, everything from website capacity to having enough packing materials to getting everything off to the post office. And don’t be shy about enlisting help from people in your circle to make it happen.
Following the launch, it’s always good to reach back out to your audience via social media and email a few weeks later (though not with an entire sequence) and share new insights you’ve gained from the launch and pass along some of the feedback you received from readers who purchased the collection. Remember, everything you do now will serve as a building block for future projects and launches.