Publishing Big Enough in 41 Days ?

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain.

In 41 days, Big Enough is officially published and right now it’s filling a lot of my work hours. I think about it constantly and devote much of my time to preparing. You might wonder: What does an author do 41 days before a book comes out? 

Let’s start with the current status. The book is complete. It has been printed and is ready to be distributed and read. Now that this phase is behind me, I’ve stopped second guessing the book’s contents and my writing. It is what it is. My time is better spent getting the message out. After years of thinking about it, it feels good to have moved on!

Being an author today means much more than writing. For a book to be successful, it must be marketed and promoted. As the author, it’s up to me to put myself out there and show people why they should buy my book. I am the only person who can do it.

I dreaded the self-promotional phase. I worried that I would annoy my connections or seem too sales-y. I’m starting to get over that, too. I’m working with a marketing expert at Page Two, my publishing partner, named Chris who has helped me see that book promotion can be playful and fun. He has encouraged me to share more and show my face. I’m learning.

Three book-related activities currently taking my time:

1 – Podcasts

One of the best ways I can get the word out in the COVID-era is by appearing on podcasts. I have scheduled three for next week and am working on many more. I’m constantly reaching out to podcast hosts and pitching myself as an interesting guest. The content of the pitches change over time and I’m always trying to improve. Here’s an example I drafted this morning:

My second book is arriving on September 15th and it has some similarities to your book. It’s called Big Enough and I wrote it because I believe traditional ideas about success in business are becoming outdated and unhealthy. My hope is that the book inspires people to consider how a business can support more than bank accounts. For over a decade, Sachi and I built Common Craft to be an intentionally small and scalable business that makes our quality of life a shareholder value. Big Enough shares what we learned.

If you know podcast hosts who might be interested , please let me know.

2 – Pre-order Campaign

Before a book is officially published, it is usually available for pre-order and those purchases matter because they all count on the same day. A big launch day sales number can make a splash and earn the book more attention. Many authors, including myself, run a campaign that offers incentives for pre-ordering. It usually works like this (actual terms TBD):

If you purchase 1-4 books and send me a screenshot of your pre-order receipt, I’ll send you three Big Enough stickers and a nice card. If you purchase 5-9 books, I’ll also include a pair of Big Enough socks (yes, socks). This continues all the way up to 100+ books.

As you can imagine, this takes some planning. I had the stickers designed and printed. I designed the card and socks and had them made. And I loved every minute of it. Now, I just need people to pre-order the book.

41 Days from Now

The pre-order campaign starts on August 15th, one month before the publish date. Right now, I am making multiple lists of people who I will contact about the book. These are influencers who may help me get the word out along with friends and family who might consider pre-ordering the book and reviewing it. The list includes hundreds of people. I have two big requests for them:

  1. Pre-order the book and if you can, buy multiple copies and give them as gifts
  2. Read it and write a brief review on the website where it was purchased

This is how authors start the sales engine. Initially it’s by motivating people they know, then it hopefully spreads from there. Pre-orders for the paperback and ebook are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, and more.

3 – Videos

Authors often have a video available to promote their book. As a video producer, it’s expected of me and I feel the pressure. I am working on three very different videos for Big Enough and have plans for more. I love making media and will gladly spend many hours on an idea. One that I can’t wait to share includes scenic footage of me walking the dogs as a voice-over describes the big ideas of Big Enough. It’s unlike any video I’ve produced.

As you can imagine, this all takes time and effort. Some days are long, but I have come to be excited about it all. You can ask Sachi. I can’t stop talking about it. Part of the transition from dread to excitement has been seeing the response from people like you. It’s incredibly encouraging to know friends and family support my work and want to see it be successful. I couldn’t do it without you.


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On most Tuesdays, I share a story from my life on Orcas Island and a recommendation for something I love. I'm interested in how to design work and home for lifestyle, livability, and fluffy dogs. Learn more.

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