In the past six months I’ve launched four different ebooks for EducationIsMyLife.com. We’ve had great success in getting our readers to share and spread the ebook before launch. What’s been fun is seeing which methods work, and which are worth a try. I’m trying a few different pre-launch strategies with my new ebook, ‘Teach Above the Test”, and I want to share what’s working well and what you can do if you plan on launching an ebook. Here are five steps to get started on your launch before you actually send out the book.
Design a cover for your ebook. Why do I start with design? Because designing your cover focuses on what your book is all about. You’ll also want to have a finished looking product on your landing page so people know they are getting a quality product. Too often you see landing pages and ebooks with covers that have no depth or design aesthetic. Keep it simple. One color, maybe a background image, and big bold text. I’ve designed some covers that I’ve liked, and ones that I haven’t with free ebook cover software online. Recently I went the route of using a Photoshop template, and I’m excited about the “Teach Above the Test” cover.
Find the pain for your readers. Your landing page should get readers thinking about your ebook and what value it has for them. If you are going to be selling this book, then it needs to solve a serious problem, or provide a resource that will help them with their job (or some other main part of their life). If it is free, then why is this book worth their time? Once your find the pain point, make sure it is in BIG BOLD letters on the landing page. That is your “call-to-action”.
Choose a landing page/platform. There are MANY landing page platforms and sites out there, but for the sake of what we are looking to do (and what works) I’d suggest three options.
- Launchrock.com: When LaunchRock first came on the scene it was much needed. It was a quick and efficient way to put up a landing page that looked great, and had social power. Three years later and it’s still one of the leaders in the area of landing pages. When you sign-up they give five different options for creating a landing page, and you can go through the process in about 10-15 minutes before it is live. You can attach it to one of your own domain like I did with “book.ajjuliani.com” or keep the domain they give you. If you are not a WordPress user, this still might be the best option for collecting email addresses and sharing ability.
- WordPress Launch Effect Theme: One of the great reasons to have a WordPress blog (or site) is the functionality. This theme allows WordPress users to have their site turned into a “Lauchrock esque” type landing page. The best part is that it connects potential readers to the actual site/blog you will be hopefully using thus keeping them in the loop before and after your launch. It has many of the same features as LaunchRock, but you can take it a step further with their Premium theme. The original is free to download and install.
- LeanPub.com: We’ve used LeanPub for four successful launches of our ebooks from Education Is My Life. We’ve had thousands of readers download our ebooks through the site, and I’ve heard tons of positive feedback. LeanPub provides a “lean” solution to publishers and authors. When you use LeanPub readers can download your book in formats for iPhone, iPad, Kindle, and PDF. It makes it easy to reach all the different devices. The LeanPub landing page collects potential reader interest and provides a short way for them to share out after interest. They are notified via email when you launch. It doesn’t have as much pop as the other options but if you are going to use LeanPub to publish it might be the best option.
Get the sharing settings right. You want your potential readers to spread the word. Make sure when users sign up for your ebook they are able to share on social media with pre-made messages. You’ll also want a confirmation email to go out to the readers who sign up. In this email you can explain more about the book and then have another call for sharing. I used to feel a bit odd about asking people to share, but now I think it is silly not to! These readers obviously want to read your work, and giving them options to share starts the discussion. Hey, it’s all about the community!
Write blog posts on your site and for others. So you have a cover, call-to-action, landing page, and sharing settings all set up. Hopefully your ebook is written and being edited/formatted! Now you have to spread the word yourself. If you have a blog that is an obvious place to start. But you can also reach out to your network of friends, family, and learning network to write guest posts. Guest posts are a nice avenue to provide quality content, while receiving some traffic from the links. Remember to focus on providing real value for the readers of the blog you are writing for. It should be your best work!
Now go out there and launch that ebook!