Often people say that writing is a solitary business, but I really think it’s the opposite! I’m always meeting more authors, readers, and book lovers that are just as passionate about great stories as I am. It’s part of what makes the writing life so much fun!
If you love talking about books and meeting new authors, you definitely want to meet Angela J. Ford.
Angela is the author of the epic fantasy novel The Five Warriors and also works as a Digital Marketing Strategist. She recently created a course called How to Plan a Book Launch. I had the honor of previewing the course and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful and well put-together it is. This course has everything I wish I knew when I was launching my first book! Indie authors, take note—this course doesn’t just show you how to market your book, it makes you excited to market your book!
I’m so happy that Angela agreed to stop by the blog today for an interview! Thanks for joining us, Angela!
Ellen Smith: Angela, I love how much support you offer new and indie authors with your course, How to Plan a Book Launch. What inspired you to create this course?
Angela J. Ford: The course creation was a long journey. I started my business as a freelance marketer while I finished writing and published The Five Warriors. I'd been following the book launches of several authors including Jeff Goins, Todd Henry, and Michael Hyatt. Even though I don't have the kind of budget they do (one of them spent $100,000 on a book launch), I knew I could still make an impact, have an amazing book launch, and make money!
Once my book came out, authors started messaging me on Facebook, emailing me and having calls with me to discuss book launch strategies. I put together a free guide: "How to Plan an Epic Book Launch in 6 Steps" and authors started downloading it like crazy, which got me thinking: How can I monetize my expertise and help authors understand book marketing? I created the sales page and wrote up the course curriculum and I found it's actually a lot of fun, I may like talking more than I like writing!
ES: You have personal experience with launching a book from marketing your first novel, The Five Warriors. Can you tell us a little bit about how you planned for your book’s launch?
AJF: I was taking a coaching class about writing a book in 100 days, and it focused on the writing, but not so much on the marketing. However, the coach asked us to put our marketing plans together, which made me think through what I wanted to do. Here goes:
• An interactive quiz + giveaway where people could get to know The Five Warriors
• A ThunderClap campaign to spread the word on social media
• Pre-order bonuses to encourage readers to order the book before it came out
• A book launch party in Nashville, TN
• A virtual book launch party on Facebook for everyone who couldn't be at the party in Nashville, TN
• Giveaways to encourage readers to leave reviews
• Goodreads giveaways of the paperback novel to reach a new audience
• Ads on Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon to make more people aware of the book
• Daily posts on Instagram to connect with book bloggers
• Outreach to book bloggers for a review/promotion
• A blog tour to reach a new audience
• Free ebook promotion to increase awareness of the book and gain new reviews
It sounds like a lot but the key is, I didn't do it all at once! Each month had a focus and goal which helped make the process easier.
ES: I’d love to know more about your writing process. How long did it take you to write The Five Warriors? What was the process like for you?
AJF: Wow it took me two years, which was not what I was aiming for. I was hoping I could get it done in one. I wrote the original book when I was 12 years old, and I still have it just to look back and laugh at it. When I was 25 I took a week long vacation to Tucson, Arizona for a writing retreat. I stayed at an amazing resort and focused on writing, that was the beginning.
From there I wrote almost every day, sometimes it was 10 words, sometimes 100. Once I got into a rhythm I started averaging 5,000 words a week. I also did several re-writes based on feedback from my beta readers, especially since the first ending I wrote was disappointing and fell flat. Re-writing the ending was the best moment in writing The Five Warriors. I was at a coffee shop in Nashville one morning, with a white chocolate mocha (my favorite drink). I wrote for 3 hours in a fury, my fingers flying over the keyboard, never stopping until it was done. It was like I was there, watching what was happening and all I needed to do was write it down.
ES: You’re working on a sequel for The Five Warriors, too! Can you share a little bit about what your work-in-progress is about?
AJF: The Blended Ones is Book 2 of The Four Worlds Series. I've completed the 1st and 2nd drafts of the book and now I'm working on the final draft, but I had a crazy idea for a plot twist, so I’m working on that. With NaNoWriMo coming up, my focus will be completing it by the end of the month, then turning it over to beta readers and starting the editing process.
ES: Do you plan to use any new or different strategies when you launch your second book that weren’t available when you launched your first?
AJF: Yes, I didn't put together a book launch team, that's something I will focus on with the goal of ramping up reviews on launch day. I also plan on having a bigger book launch party in Nashville, TN and using candles as the pre-order bonus.
ES: One thing that shines through in your work as an author and as a digital marketing strategist is that you really love what you do! How did you decide to make the change from the 9-to-5 workweek to the entrepreneurial lifestyle?
AJF: You know, it was one of those moments when I looked at my future and I thought to myself: If I am doing exactly what I'm doing now next year or 5 years from now, will I be happy with the direction my life is taking? The answer was NO – and that's when I knew I had to make a change.
ES: One thing I love about the entrepreneurial life is that it allows us to have more time and flexibility to be creative! In addition to writing, what other creative pastimes do you enjoy?
AJF: Oh, I love traveling! Just like the characters in my books, I'm always off to my next adventure. One of my big passions is music, I used to be a musician when I was a teenager, now I love listening to soundtracks, eventually I want to film a movie. I'm not sure whether you would call this a creative pastime, but I love world building games and I'm still obsessed with Mario.
ES: It was fun talking with you and finding out more about your work! How can readers stay connected with you?
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Angela! If you’re interested in Angela’s course, How to Plan a Book Launch, click here to get started.* I highly recommend it!
*Note: link is an affiliate. I only link and blog about products that I sincerely love and think you will love, too. Affiliate links help me stay well-stocked in fine-point Sharpies, post-it notes, and other writing essentials.