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8 Steps to the Perfect Book Launch

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You’ve spent months (if not years) completing your book. That includes writing, editing, and re-writing. Now, it’s time to hit “publish” and introduce your book to the public— but wait! Are you ready yet?

Publishing is only one of the many steps involved in launching a book. To sell your book, you’ve got to do a lot more than simply publish it. It’s also your responsibility to promote the heck out of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a traditional publisher or if you’re publishing it on your own, you should still take an active role in your book launch.

Book promotion can be overwhelming when you don’t have a plan. So, let’s create a plan. Here are the steps that you should take when launching your book.

What Should I do if I’m Working With a Publisher?

Working with a publisher means that you will have some assistance with promoting your book ahead of its launch. Every little bit helps. However, if you’re a new author with an as-yet-undiscovered audience, don’t expect the publisher to pay for an elaborate book launch. Depending on the publisher’s budget and connections, they may be able to hook you up with a book tour or a modest ad campaign.

Instead of letting them take charge, partner with your publisher to launch your book. Find out how they plan to promote your book, and then choose what you can do on your own from this launch list below.

What Should I do if I’m Self-Publishing?

If you’re acting as your own publisher, you’ll be able to follow all of the steps that we list below. Every step can be accomplished by either a newbie and an old pro.

Step 1: Choose a Date for Your Launch

Choosing a date is the first step to a successful launch. Once you decide when you’ll release your book, you will have a specific goal to work toward.

Ideally, you should start planning your launch six to 12 months before you publish your book. Choose a launch date that’s at least a few months from today, if you can. This gives you enough time to cover all of the steps in this guide without feeling rushed and overwhelmed.

By the way, if you’re self-publishing, your soft launch happens once you complete the publishing process. However, keep in mind, if you are publishing on Amazon or another self-publisher, it takes approximately 24 hours to set up and publish the book to various sites, so your actual launch will take place on the following day.

Step 2: Create an Author Website

The next step is to create a website. As an author, you need a platform to promote yourself and your books. Sure, you can do this on social media, too, but it’s crucial that you create your own space, too. You own your website. You only rent your profile on social media. If the social media gods decide to take down your profile, there’s not a lot that you can do about it. It’s always best to have a website that you have complete control over.

On your website, include all of the usual features: An about page, links to your social media, and contact information. You should also dedicate pages for each of your books (more on that next). Another great option is to start a blog on your website. Through your blog, you can build excitement for your upcoming book launch. Blogging also helps you build your email list. Start collecting email addresses early so that you can notify your email subscribers about your upcoming launch.

Additionally, include a downloadable media kit on your website. In this kit, include high-resolution photos of you, a bio, excerpts from your book(s), and the book cover(s).

Step 3: Create a Landing Page for Your Book

Every book deserves its own landing page. A landing page is simply a page on your website that’s dedicated to promoting your book. Use this page to share excerpts from your book and get site visitors excited about reading it.

On this landing page, include the cover of your book, a trailer (if you have one), and reviews from early readers. You should also collect email addresses on your landing page. The best way to ask for email addresses is by offering something in return. Tease a book giveaway or give away the first chapter of your book as an instant download.

Step 4: Get Active on Social Media

Launching your book

These days, you cannot hope to sell a book without the help of social media. Use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even YouTube to get in front of your audience in a personal and authentic way.

Recognize what each platform does best. For example:

Facebook is best for marketing. With over two billion Facebook users, you'll be able to reach your audience on this platform. Use Facebook to find new readers for your book. Target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Twitter is great for starting a conversation with your audience. Using popular hashtags, you can attract new prospective readers and immediately engage them in your conversation.

Instagram is all about building relationships. Use Instagram to show glimpses into your personality, motivation, writing process, and workspace. This can forge a personal connection with prospective readers before launching your book.

YouTube is perfect for building awareness for your upcoming book. YouTube is the Internet's second-largest search engine (behind Google). Create a book trailer and upload it to YouTube. Interview yourself and share that video on YouTube. Discuss your process, read excerpts from your book, and share how you came up with the ideas and characters in your book.

Don’t feel like you need to be on every platform. Choose one or two and then focus your efforts on building an audience prior to your book launch.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a traditional publisher or if you’re publishing it on your own, you should still take an active role in your book launch.

Step 5: Go on a Blog and Podcast Tour

To sell books, you’ve got to expose yourself.

A couple of months before your book launch, reach out to bloggers, especially book bloggers in your chosen genre. They may review your book or even do an interview. Some blogs offer the opportunity to write a guest post in exchange for a blurb about your upcoming book. If you think that your target audience will read that guest post, accept the offer. Remember: There’s no such thing as overexposure when it comes to your book promotion.

Also, research podcasts that cater to your target audience and then reach out to the host to request an interview. Schedule the interview in time for your book launch. (It’s okay if the interview happens after the book is launched.)

Line up as many interviews/ guest posts/ book review opportunities as humanly possible within the months leading to your book launch.

Step 6: Host a Giveaway

An easy way to generate interest in your upcoming book is by hosting a giveaway. There are several ways to do this:

  • Advertise a giveaway on Facebook or Instagram
  • Promote a giveaway on your book’s landing page to coincide with the book launch (and encourage email signups)
  • Do a book giveaway on Goodreads or LibraryThing

Giveaways are great for building awareness. Even if they didn’t win the giveaway, some will go on to buy the book because they’re genuinely engaged.

Step 7: Find a Venue for Your Launch Party

Launching your book

You have two options for a launch party: Go virtual or host it in an actual brick and mortar facility.

Virtual launch parties can be hosted on any website, but it’s more interactive and more accessible over a social media platform. Facebook is the go-to fave for virtual book launch parties. Schedule your virtual launch party for the day of your hard launch (the day after publishing on Amazon, if you plan to self-publish).

If you plan to host an in-person launch party, reach out to local facilities like bookstores, libraries, cafes, and event halls. Also, create a schedule of events for your party (it’s never too early to start thinking about this). Think about games, giveaways, what book excerpts you’ll share, and when you’ll sign book covers.

Step 8: Send Invitations to Your Book Launch Party

Send a “save the date” at least four months in advance, if you can swing it. This allows prospective party attendees to pencil you in. Then, two months out, send a formal invitation. Include the name of the event, the date, location, and time.

Next Steps

Here are a few additional resources to help you successfully launch your book:

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