Regardless of how long you’ve been publishing, the process of actually launching a book can be stressful.
If you’re going it alone you have to manage final edits, the book cover choices, uploading the book and setting up your retail pages. It’s a lot for sure.
A checklist for your book launch would be helpful, right?
Well, if you have a book coming out (whether it’s your first or your fiftieth) you’ve come to the right place because today we’re digging into some book launch recommendations, inspired by a post I read recently.
Whether you’re traditionally published, or self-published – the rules apply to everyone.
Most publishers won’t plan elaborate book launches, and it’s not because they don’t like your book or want it to do well, they simply don’t have the time. Also, most publishers (if they do offer marketing for your book) are going to focus on a few select things that they do over and over for the books they release. This may sound monotonous (and it kind of is) but it’s much easier for the publicity staff if they don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.
So let’s dig into some recommendations for your next book launch!
Choose a Publication Date
For sure, this should be your first action. If you have a traditional publisher, they will probably select one for you, or work with you on a date. But a date is helpful because not only do you have a target, but everything else that you’re doing can be structured around this date.
Some factors when considering a publication date are:
Is there anything that directly ties into your book? So a Valentine’s Day topic, or Mother’s Day or Christmas? If there is, consider launching a head of those key dates. Yes, I said ahead. Why? Well think of when certain holidays start showing up in stores. At my local Costco, Halloween stuff was going up in mid-July. After New Year’s, most stores pull out their Valentine’s Day stuff (and often even before the end of the year to get a jump on buyers wanting to plan ahead).
Consider trying to plan far enough in advance that you have time to market to a particular date and don’t wait till you’re too close to the specific holiday to launch it. Why? Because while a Valentine’s Day launch may seem like a terrific idea, by the time V-day hits, most people have moved on from the holiday. Sure, you can do a fun holiday tie-in event, and I’d recommend that, but start your book launch ahead of any major holiday to give you enough time to ramp up.
But what if you have no clear-cut holiday tie in? Are there months that are better for a book launch than others? The short answer is no, the longer answer is look at what’s coming up in the world. Because these days, pretty much anything election related sucks most of the oxygen out of a room, so steering clear of the November primaries (for example) is probably not a bad idea. And it doesn’t mean that you have to avoid November entirely, but for those of you with non-fiction books in particular, you’ll want to be aware of what’s consuming the media and plan accordingly.
Create an Author Website
I absolutely agree with this. You’ll want to make sure that you have a website up and running ahead of your book launch for sure. If you’re going to have a blog on your website, make sure you have some blog posts, too. The idea is to make your website feel a little “lived in” before your book launch!
Create a Landing Page
I felt like this was obvious in the prior bullet but let’s just dig into this briefly. A “landing page” by definition is a page on your website dedicated to your book. So, yes, you should absolutely have a page, or section for a scrolling-style site, dedicated to your book. And in case you’re wondering, yes, adding a dedicated space on your site should be at the top of your list for launching a book, every single time you’re preparing to publish.
Get Active on Social Media
Social media isn’t always a must-do for authors, and I just did a podcast episode on this that I’ll link to in the Resources section. Because really, the choice is yours to make. If you have the time to invest in social media, or someone helping you, there’s no reason you can’t have at least one social media platform that supports your book, and I’ll admit having a solid social presence makes getting creative about launching a book much more straightforward.
But be careful about adding social media just because you feel like you have to – because it’ll always feel like a chore. Things that feel like a chore aren’t things you look forward to and while marketing a book isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, you should at least feel excited about getting your message out there.
If you’re going to add social media to the list of things that you’ll do to market your book, then be sure that the platform you’re on is something you can manage and that your audience gravitates to. For example, don’t hop on TikTok just because you’ve heard about the popularity of the hashtag #booktok. Tiktok requires a lot of work and lots of creative video content. If creating video isn’t something you want to do, then maybe set this social media portal aside and come back to it later if you really want to try and build a community there at some point in the future.
The other piece is when you get on social media. I always tell authors that before your book is out, you want to be doing brand marketing – not book marketing. So starting on social media early to find your groove and your tribe and see what resonates with your audience will give you some time to float some test balloons and see what your (potential) readers resonate with.
Book a Blog and Podcast Tour
Media is a standard go-to when launching a book. But ask yourself first if your topic is right for the podcast world. I know that podcasts are wildly popular, but not all topics do well in the podcasting world so make sure that there’s an audience for your book on a podcast.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re knee-deep in launch a book and the idea of podcasts really excites you! And you have a fiction book, mystery or cozy mystery or a contemporary romance. There are probably podcasts that interview authors but who is their audience? If they just interview authors, across the board, you may wind up with a mixed bag in terms of listeners. That said, there are a few podcasts out there dedicated to just author interviews and do very well. But with just a few, it won’t be the biggest driving force of your marketing.
The same is true for blogs. Yes, there are lots of blogs that serve all kinds of markets. But if your book ties into something in the news, you may want to do a combination of blogs, online media and media – and maybe podcasts, too.
The point being that picking your right audience may require you to be flexible with your targets. And, as with anything you do to prep for your book launch, start this early.
Host a Giveaway
I love doing giveaways, whether it’s via your newsletter, your social media or on Goodreads – a giveaway is never a bad idea. If it’s your first book and you haven’t built up a reader base, then consider doing a Goodreads giveaway just ahead of your book launch and maybe do another one after your book has been out for 2-3 months.
Plan Your Launch Party
When my first book came out in 1999 this was the thing to do and it was such fun planning an event like this. But times have changed. Yes, launch parties can be fun, but if you don’t have the time or budget for an in-person one, why don’t you plan a virtual launch party with friends and family and one for your fan base (readers especially love this).
If you’re doing a virtual launch party with fans, be sure to mail them some fun swag. Maybe a canvas tote bag or something they can use that has your book imprinted on it. And even better, why not stuff a tote bag with books from similar authors and ask them to invite their reader base to your virtual launch party to help build your readership and get a cool swag bag full of authors they may not have read before. This is truly a win-win situation.
Send Save-the-Date Cards
In the original post, this bullet referred to launching a book with an in-person event. But I’d love for you to get creative with this. Whether or not you’re doing a launch party (virtual or otherwise), why not send your readers a save-the-date ecard for your upcoming book release? How fun is that? And you could tie it in with a book benefit, like for example: Save-the-date to create luck and abundance in your life! Or: Save-the-date for some spooky Halloween magic.
You get the idea!
The point is, launching a book should be a fun experience and yes, it requires a bit of planning, but a great book launch is something you can look back on fondly and it’s a great way to capitalize on the new release books on Amazon, which get a nice algorithm boost on these lists, too.
Have you had success launching a book? Add your #1 tip in the comments section!
If you want to read the original article, you can find it here.
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