Podcast

How to Launch a New York Times Bestselling Book

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I’ve been talking about doing this for weeks and the time has finally come!

Here it is: the full behind-the-scenes breakdown of my entire book launch for The School of Greatness book.

I had been planning this book launch for years (no joke) and I was as excited as the next person to see how it would all go down.

Here are my original notes, in pre-planning mode a year ago, about how I was going to attack this book launch.

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I put my heart and soul into it, plus countless hours, no sleep, and HUSTLE.

In the end, I fell one spot shy of my goal to hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List – the book came in at #2 for the entire month in the Business category (and #3 for the actual launch week). I’m pretty happy about it 🙂

It’s been a wild ride, full of ups and downs. I feel so much gratitude for every person who supported me and the message of greatness in spreading it to a bigger audience than ever before.

As one expression of my gratitude, I wanted to pull back the covers and give you the full rundown of how we put together this launch, what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned.

My hope is that you will set yourself a massive goal, like I did 8 years ago, and that these insights will support you in achieving that yourself.

Here we go:

TOP WAYS WE MARKETED THE BOOK

1. BULK BOOK ORDERS

In exchange for my normal speaking fee, I accepted several requests to speak at events with the agreement that the host would order the value of my speaking fee in books. This was big since I was able to get thousands of orders from these events and the event attendees got to each receive a copy as part of their ticket price.

I also got multiple companies and individuals to buy large orders of books to give to their clients, employees, etc. which added up fast.

2. PODCAST TOUR

I lined up A LOT of podcasts to come on as a guest. A lot of these were friends of mine, like Michael Hyatt and Gary V, who are awesome and did it because we’re friends. Some were people I hadn’t heard of, but they offered to buy a bulk order of books in exchange for me coming on. In total, I did 29 podcast interviews. I know. It was a lot. But that got the word out to all of those podcast audiences. It pays to leverage other people’s audiences.

3. STREET TEAM

I did a call out a couple months before the book launch to all my followers to see who the superfans were. They showed up in a big way and I had over 1000 applicants who wanted to be on the street team. In the end, we took 500 (who got an advance copy of the book) and they all promoted the book big time on their own social channels. Big shout out to the street team for their support!

4. BONUS OFFERINGS LANDING PAGE

We made a huge list of book bonuses, giving a ton of extra value for those who purchased more than one book. You can see that full list of bonuses HERE.

5. PRESS

I started lining up major press opportunities in January of this year – 10 months ahead of time. I networked and leveraged every possible opportunity to get on major news shows like Fox, as well as local news stations in the cities I visited on the book tour. I ended up doing about 10 TV interviews, which was great for exposure to audiences I would not have gotten in front of otherwise. Influencers like Kimberly Guilfoyle have really loyal followings, and one shout out from them goes a long way.

Being featured on the cover of Experience Life Magazine was a highlight for sure.

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6. GUEST POSTS

In addition to the TV and podcast interviews I did, I got a ton of requests and opportunities to do written interviews and guest posts on all sorts of blogs, news sites, and websites. There was literally no way I could have written all these on my own, so my team really supported me on this one and I looked over a lot of these without having to actually write them from scratch. Overall, I was either featured in or wrote original pieces for over 35 different publications.

7. AFFILIATE PROMOTION

I have the best friends in the world. But really. This took years of prep work, but it all paid off. Having my network promote the book to their audiences, for free, because they’re awesome, was huge. Chalene Johnson is just one amazing example of this.

In fact, I reached out, personally, to tons of past podcast guests to ask them to support getting the word out.

Lewis Howes Book Notes

Also, I did some actual affiliate deals with companies like AppSumo, where we put together a great bonus package for anyone who bought the book from their list, with goodies that no one else got. This was huge since AppSumo has a massive list who loves them.

I taught a class with CreativeLive as well (on podcasting), which was another way to promote the book to a new audience.

8. BOOK TOUR

Then came the tour, starting with my book launch party in LA a few days before the actual release date and then a party in NYC on the actual launch date. I hit 15 cities over 6 weeks, and it was intense. But I LOVED IT. It was so amazing to see so many fans in person, hear their stories, give them hugs, and share my story with them. I’m still recovering physically from this part of the launch, but it was absolutely worth it.

One of the most fun events I did, pre-book tour, was hosting a one-day Master Class with my good friend Michael Port, in LA. Everyone who signed up through me got 10 copies of the book as well.

Lewis Howes and Michael Port

9. SCHOOL OF GREATNESS PODCAST

I started promoting the book on my podcast months before the launch. Episode after episode, I pitched the book, generated excitement, and reminded my listeners to sign up for book updates.

If you were listening to the podcast during the book launch, you know I did a book takeover during launch week and put up an episode almost every day that week. This was my game time mode. I was preaching inspiration and hustle from the rooftops and pouring my best out every day to my whole podcast audience.

This not only helped spread the word and pump up listeners to keep buying the book, but it kept me pumped up during a crazy week of no sleep.

10. BOOK TRAILER

I invested big time in this and got an amazing team to film this video. It was epic and was really popular on YouTube and Facebook.

11. SOCIAL MEDIA

I know this one is obvious, but it is what it is. I did a full out book marketing campaign on all my social media channels leading up to and during the book launch week. I was posting videos of me doing press, going into book stores, with my mom traveling between book events, etc.

I posted all the big updates when we hit rankings, like top 10 on Amazon, and of course, the NYT #3 spot after the first week. We also ran a Thunderclap campaign for followers to automatically post a shout out about the book on their Facebook and Twitter on the launch day of the book to create buzz.

I was on Periscope almost nightly for weeks leading up to the launch, talking all about how the launch was going and selling books straight from Periscope.

I Snapchatted the play by plays of every day of the book tour.

Instagram is my favorite right now, so of course I was posting there and responding to comments. I was engaged as humanly possible on all platforms, but there’s no way I could keep up with all of the buzz. My team scheduled most of the Facebook and Pinterest posts and I focused on Instagram and Snapchat.

12. ONLINE SUMMIT

I recorded 27 interviews with top minds before the book tour and presented a free online video summit 2 weeks after the book launch. While the content was awesome and lots of people watched, I didn’t feel like I was able to really promote and leverage this event right in the middle of the book tour.

13. BOOK LAUNCH MANAGER

Considering the massive amount of organization and operations all of the bulk book orders and affiliate relationships took, I hired someone to actually manage those aspects of the launch. He led the street team of 500 fans who got advance copies of the book so they could post reviews and shout outs on social media, as well as managed the logistics of the bulk book orders through big sellers like Books-A-Million. This was really helpful since it was my team’s first time doing any of this, but we still did a ton of this work as well.

This is just the outline of the process. Scroll down to listen to my full analysis in Episode 270 of the School of Greatness! And let me say, one more time, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your support in making this book a success and spreading the message of greatness. If there’s one single piece of advice I could give to create this kind of success, it would be to give, give, give your best away for a long time, and then when it really matters to you, ask for support in return. Your tribe will be there for you if you’ve been there for them first.

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