Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to announce your book with an e-mail blast

What’s the best way to announce your book via e-mail?
I’ve received quite a few book announcement e-mails lately, including some that were trying to achieve “Amazon best-seller” status. Sadly, most of the messages were not very compelling. More often than not, they were self-congratulatory (“I’ve achieved my dream!”) or self-serving (“If you buy my book on Amazon at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning, my book might become a best-seller!”). Some were brief: “My new book is out. Here’s a link where you can buy it.” Others were rambling. None of them told me why I’d want to buy the book – what was in it for me, the reader.
I don’t want you to repeat the mistakes I keep seeing in my inbox, so I’m sharing seven tips that will help authors with any level of marketing experience write a book announcement e-mail message that isn’t obnoxious, annoying, offensive, or downright sad :
  1. Start with the text from your back book cover. It should tell us why we will want to buy your book, right? You might need to massage it to make it more personal, since e-mail is such an informal means of communicating.
  2. It’s not about you. It’s about the person you’re writing to. Tell me what your book will do for me. Will it educate, inform, entertain, enlighten? What’s in it for me? How will your book improve my world, help me improve someone else’s world, or help me forget about my world?
  3. Include a link where we can purchase the book. Seriously – you’d be surprised at how many messages omit this.
  4. Forget the “help me make my book an Amazon best-seller” plea. Unless you are my total BFF, I don’t care if your book is a best-seller. All I want to know is whether I’ll like or need your book or whether I know someone else who would like it. If you feel compelled to be focused on that best-seller-for-five-minutes-on-Amazon plan (and my newsletter readers know how I feel about these campaigns), at least share information about your book, too.
  5. Don’t come on too strong. You might suggest that it makes a nice gift, but don’t tell me that I “should” buy it for everybody on my holiday gift list. 
  6. Ask me to share your news with my networks. If I know people who will want to know about your book, I’ll help spread the word. But sometimes I need to be reminded.
  7. Remember that the quality of your announcement reflects the quality of your book, so make it as high-quality as you can. I received one this week that looked like a ransom note, with multiple fonts and sizes. And I know this wasn't what the author intended. You don't need to have a professionally designed, all-HTML'd-up message, but you do want something that reflects the quality of your book.
Send your announcement to as large a list as you can assemble, remembering that some people will be more interested in this news than others. And some are just naturally better at sharing and forwarding. And whatever you do, make this just the starting point for your book launch. There's lots more you could -- and "should" -- be doing.

Have you ever purchased a book based on an e-mail blast announcement? Why?


Kathleen Gage said...

Excellent points you make about online book launches. And spot on.

Sandra Beckwith said...

Thanks, Kathleen! You certainly know what you're talking about, so thanks for the validation here! I appreciate it.

Monica Strobel said...

Great ideas! It might have worked in the beginning to have folks excited about someone's best-seller status, but it seems so gimmicky now. As a soon-to-be-published author, I appreciate the tips on maintaining integrity but getting the word out nonetheless! We have to believe our book would help people or we wouldn't have written it. But the marketing haze is hard to maneuver. Thanks again!

Sandra Beckwith said...

Thanks, Monica. Good luck with your book -- and have fun with it!


Jeff Emmerson said...

Excellent advice! Thank you.

- Jeff Emmerson

Sandra Beckwith said...

Thanks, Jeff! I'm glad you found it helpful.

Srish Agrawal said...

Excellent Ideas. I just shared this with a client of mine.

Sandra Beckwith said...

Glad it helped, Srish. I appreciate the feedback!

Vivian Kirkfield said...

Thank goodness I got the link for this post before I sent out my email "blast"...I'll definitely be revising it using your suggestions. As usual, Sandy, your recommendations are thoughtful, insightful and much appreciated!

Donna Perugini said...

Perfect timing! My books come out in 1-2 weeks and I'm ready to send out emails.

I recently commented on an author's blog regarding marketing. There were numerous writers and authors responding that it was obnoxious to 'market' with emails,Facebook Fan Page, etc. They don't want to be perceived as 'tooting their own horns'.

This posting covers the 'obnoxious; and the perception of 'horn tooting'.

It helpfully covers 'what to say and how to cover your bases'. Much appreciated!!

I feel like the lady who was told her zipper is down BEFORE I left the restroom.

Sandra Beckwith said...

Vivian, I know that "you" will shine through in your announcement and that will be essential. Donna, thank you for such wonderful feedback -- I appreciate it. You might be interested in my take on that "tooting your own horn" attitude in this link to a couple of blog postings on that topic: I think they will help you see how to position your role in all of this!


Marly said...

The only time I've considered a book via email is if it was sent to me from a trusted individual. I agree with you that mass emails are not usually well-written. Great post!

Sandra Beckwith said...

That's in interesting comment on "trusted source," Marly. I'm hoping that authors only send these messages to people they have some kind of connection with already, but I realize that's probably not always the case. Do you get them from "strangers?"