How Does Pat Flynn Launch a Book?Jun 30, 2021
Pat Flynn is one of the kings of the marketing world and that showed in the way he launched his 2016 Wall Street Journal bestseller, Will it Fly?
Because he’s very open about the methods he used, I was able to do research and determine some of his most effective strategies.
He Focused on Pre-Launch
He made an effort to build a big pre-launch audience and he did that by continually educating readers on the “value proposition” of the book—in other words, what the book would DELIVER for the reader and not what the book was ABOUT.
He had the person he hired to manage the pre-launch group, Daniel Decker, on his podcast and shared that he had over 500 people in it.
They made a big effort with GoodReads: about a month before the launch, they made sure the book page was connected to Pat’s author page and his author profile was updated with his website, bio, photo, and favorite books on his “Read/Want to Read” lists.
They asked the Street Team to post early reviews and used the built-in blog feature to announce when the pre-order was ready, the launch day party and when the book was officially live. Later they used Goodreads advertising and giveaways feature.
For the pre-launch team, they showed the behind the scenes of writing the book, he made a book trailer, he showed snippets of advance reviews of the book, he shared preliminary concepts, he showed the audience book covers that were inspirations, he shared quotes from book and he shared fun facts like the number of hours he spent writing. He also shared daily updates.
He also focused on any other “exclusive” content that he could find.
He Threw a Virtual Launch Party
But he didn’t just throw a simple thing on YouTube. He had it on Google, Periscope and YouTube on release day where he was able to announce its already impressive Amazon statistics: that it was the top 84 of all books, #2 in all of entrepreneurship.
He also shared openly about some of the issues that can definitely creep up on launch day—namely that the Kindle version was still in review!
In the 90-minute video, he’d thought of everything, down to the WILL IT FLY shirt he was wearing and the people he featured, including other impressive entrepreneurs like Jamie Tardy, Hal Elrod, Amy Porterfield, Michael Stelzner and Cliff Ravenscraft.
He Got Social
He created a hashtag: #willitfly, which generated 1,561 posts
He started his social media plan with Twitter (where, as of right now, he has 162 k followers). As he said, “Once that content was crafted, we could then extend it naturally to other social media platforms.”
This approach, he added, “proved to be very effective because Twitter forced us to keep this simple at the start and then expand and enrich them for other channels like Facebook, Periscope, and Goodreads.”
Pre-launch, his team retweeted all the #WillItFly hashtag and he knew the primary call to action, which was to drive followers to book pre-order page and then the secondary CTA of tweets which was to drive followers to book trailer, blog post, launch team signup
On Facebook, he focused on images and videos. After the launch, he featured images of readers holding the book.
(RIP Periscope. In 2016 this meant something!)
He Went All Out on the Book Trailer and Website
He made two trailers—one one-minute one that featured his ridiculously adorable kid making paper airplanes and one of him at San Diego Air and Space Museum where he talks about why he wrote the book, how it’s broken down. In other words, it is all about the viewer and not about him. The one-minute video has over 6000 views and the three-minute one has over 8000 views.
At first, Willitflybook.com was an informational page where people could sign up to be the first to hear about the book, then it became a pre-order page with graphics and then it redirected to the Amazon page (where it still redirects today).
He Actively Used a CTA
Dave Chesson, who assisted Pat with his launch, said when I interviewed him, that Pat created a mini course that was kind of like a study aid, video version of the book. As Dave said, “It's not like without the course, you can't finish the book—that might piss people off. But it's like more or less that this will help you with the book as you go.”
He made the course free and put a link to it at the front of the book so that people browsing on Amazon could click on the “look inside” and sign up for the course without even buying the book.
According to Dave, Pat said that one third of the people who bought the book signed up for the free course and he built a huge email list from that. He then created a paid course that was the next step up and the day that he launched that paid course, he made over $111,000 just from the email list that he built from the book.
What Can We Learn?
He focused on things he could control—not media but his friends, his audience and serving both. He didn’t try to do everything but double downed on the things he knew would be effective. He published the book himself, knowing that he was surrendering a chance to be on The NY Times bestseller list but making the WSJ list. Because he wasn’t being controlled by a traditional publisher, he could put CTA’s in the book and release it how he wanted.
He didn’t do everything himself. He hired someone to manage his advanced reader team. He hired Dave Chesson to help. He has a team. He spent money. He didn’t throw together a video. He hired pros. That’s not to say that this makes sense for everyone. Spending money on a video team may not make sense if thousands of people aren’t going to watch the video. Hiring someone to manage the launch team might not be logical if you can’t get hundreds of people to join.
He leaned on friends to help promote. He wasn’t afraid to ask for support.
He made it about the reader and not him. He constantly reinforced what the reader would get out of the book. He shared behind the scenes stuff so they would feel like a part of it and get ideas if they wanted to publish their own books. He featured people they would know about in his video. He featured their images after the fact. He created a course they could use.
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QUOTE OF THE POD:
“He made an effort to build a big pre-launch audience and he did that by continually educating readers on the “value proposition” of the book—in other words, what the book would DELIVER for the reader and not what the book was ABOUT.”