Creating an Out of This World Launch Team
By Erica Wiggenhorn
Remember the moment you signed that book contract? The look on your face in your post radiated pure joy, right? This was a dream come true moment! Now launch day approaches. The niggles start to wriggle in the pit of your stomach. What if my book doesn’t sell? What kind of criticism might I face? How do I get the word out about my book? The answer is so much simpler than you think! You create a launch team that encircles you and engages the people in their world with the contents of your book, encouraging them to buy it.
I’ve broken it down into six steps using the acronym LAUNCH (can you tell I used to teach kindergarten?).
Let them in. Make these people feel like insiders. Give them access to areas of your life no one else gets to see. In other words, what you share in your launch team should be entirely different than what you are sharing on social media that day. They are the first and only people to know the inside scoop. They should feel like they know you—your quirky sense of humor, what your messy kitchen looks like, your favorite coffee mug, your pet’s names. You get the idea!
Activate. Get the ball rolling in your launch team by sharing a bit about yourself through a “Let’s Get to Know Each Other Post” and take the time to comment on each person’s response building relationship. It can be, “I love the beach, too,” or “That’s my mom’s middle name.” You want them to feel seen and heard and that you have taken the time to acknowledge your gratitude that they joined the team.
Delegate. After activation comes delegation. Get a captain to do all of the asks. Don’t look like a desperate author saying, “Pleeeeaassseee write a review for me!” Get a captain to pep them up and to put out the info you need shared! Don’t know who to ask? Find that friend who loves social media, a fellow author who also has a book coming out and you can agree to do it for one another, or you can hire a virtual assistant to help you. If you hire someone, make sure they have fully read the manuscript and they have explained to you with enthusiasm, why they want to help spread the message about your book. That twenty-year-old college student who needs extra money probably isn’t the best person to run a launch team on how to retire well.
Understand your Team. Not everyone who signs up loves you or your book. Bummer, I know. Some people want a free book. Some people want to troll a launch. Some people clicked “Yes,” to a Facebook group invite and don’t have a clue as to why they are there. This is why you have to communicate clearly the felt need your book addresses. Not the demographics of your audience, but the psychographic needs of your reader. When you communicate the mission of your book rather than simply the message the manuscript contains, teams will rally together. People support causes, not pages of clauses.
Never Stop Engaging. Once your captain takes over, you still need to be engaged. Hop on weekly. Do a surprise live pop-in with the group. Share an unexpected behind-the-scenes photo or video of your life during launch. Let your captain do the asking, while you do all of the applaudings for those who take the time to share.
Cultivate Community. Put some posts into the launch team that are locker room posts only. You aren’t asking them to share anything, you are simply pouring into them. In my latest book I’m preparing to launch next month, Letting God Be Enough: Why Striving Keeps You Stuck and How Surrender Sets You Free, Moses is the central biblical figure in the chapters. So once a week I am posting a “Beyond the Burning Bush” question where I ask them to share what they sense God is speaking to them and what action they feel compelled to take in response. I will share first and invite them to share with me. This private discussion among launch team members communicates that you are not simply asking them to help you sell books, but that you care about their own souls too.
Have Fun! “I really need more things to do,” said no woman. Ever. If you want them to engage, the captain needs to do more than issue orders. They have to make it fun. Invite them to demonstrate their own creativity. Have them create videos or send photos. (You can always use these on social media also and they love getting the shout-out from you!) Have fun contests. Make them laugh. Do something silly. Since my next launch centers around Moses and his fear of inadequacy, I may or may not involve rubber snakes at some point in my launch team. Sshhh! Don’t tell! These are the kind of things that make your team memorable. It also helps your team to feel connected to you as a person.
A few more things…Don’t plan your launch at the last minute. Start coming up with ideas at least four months before your launch date. Go through the book with the launch team so they are ready to write reviews on launch day. Ask your friends who know your personality to preview your book and help you come up with ideas. And last, but certainly not least, pray! This is your opportunity to bless and pour into a group of people on a daily basis for at least thirty solid days. Let’s allow the LORD to direct us in that endeavor, shall we?
May your next launch be out of this world!
Question: Have you ever been on a book launch team? What was your favorite part of that experience?
Erica Wiggenhorn is an award-winning author and speaker. She loves to teach the truths of Scripture inviting God to transform lives. She is the author of three Bible studies from Moody Publishers: An Unexplainable Life, The Unexplainable Church and Unexplainable Jesus: Rediscovering the God You Thought You Knew. Her latest book, Letting God Be Enough releases September 7, 2021. To connect with Erica visit www.ericawiggenhorn.com.