In the past week, I’ve had multiple conversations with authors about book launches. They’ve said things like, “How did you do that?” or “My publisher would never go for that.” And that, in the words of Yoda, is why you fail.
Launching something isn’t about satisfying the status quo. It’s about exceeding expectations. And most people refuse to do this because they're afraid. Sadly, the fear leads to the very thing they're trying to avoid.
If you’re going to get people to care about your book, your business, or even your blog, you’re going to have to do more than satisfy them. You’re going to have to wow them. Which means you must make them sit up in their chairs and say, “Really?!”
Just the other week, Jon Acuff did that when he broke the cardinal rule of book publishing and gave a free digital copy of his book to anyone who preordered the hard copy.
This isn’t supposed to happen. Books come out on their publishing dates, not months before. But it did. And Jon’s readers rushed to order the book so that they could start reading now. That’s the kind of thing that gets people talking.
Another example was when Bob Goff announced at the end of his bestselling book, Love Does, that every penny spent on the book was given to charity (including the publisher’s cut). When did Bob announce this? On the very last page of the book. It was an added delight, not something you expected going into it.
How to know you’re on track
For my upcoming book launch, I’m doing something super crazy that almost feels too risky. In fact, I’m a little bit scared it won’t work or that it’ll blow up in my face. But this, friends, is when you know you’re on to something.
When it feels like you’re about to be too generous, it’s time to lean in and give even more. Because nobody talks about normal. People talk about stuff that wows them. And the best way to stand out is do something unexpected.
So what does that look like?
First, you have to realize that you don’t get to decide what remarkable looks like. Your audience does. They will tell you when you’ve really done something incredible.
Second, you have to identify what normal looks like. In other words, what is expected? You can’t hit “wow” until you know what people want.
Third, you’ve got to go for broke. Meet expectations, then do something that totally blows them away. And find ways to keep doing that as you go.
What have you done that feels too risky? Share in the comments.