In today's guest post, Shannon from Duolit shares some words of wisdom for planning a successful book launch. Keep in mind that book launch tactics are not just for new books - they can also be used to jump-start sales of books that have been out for a while.
4 Steps to Take Charge of Your Book Launch
I made a huge mistake with my first book.
I got caught up in the excitement of finally finishing my manuscript that I rushed straight through to the publishing part, ready to share my book with the world and watch the sales roll in.
A few purchases from family and friends took me through my first week, but then things took a nosedive. In the absence of anything close to a marketing strategy, my big book launch was less like the roar of a space shuttle lift-off and more like the fizzle of a bottle rocket dud.
I learned my lesson the hard way.
Like all the kids say these days, it’s all about YOLO: You Only Launch Once.
(That is what the acronym stands for, right?)
So how can you take control of your book launch and make it count? How can you set the proper tone and put your sales on a good growth trajectory from the outset?
You just need to follow these four steps and the sky’s the limit for your book launch (pun intended).
Step One: Assemble Your Team
When properly executed, a great book launch will make you feel like a spirited conductor. But first you need a talented orchestra to lead (otherwise you’ll just be a weirdo waving your arms in the air).
Don’t fill the seats with the first musicians you stumble across, you’re looking for real talent and a good personality match for you and the rest of the team. Search for editors, designers, reviewers, advanced readers, and street team members who know something about your genre, come with great references, and can meet your deadlines.
Step Two: Get Down to the Publishing Details
Speaking of deadlines, you need to find a calendar and make it your *best* friend.
It can be a web-variety (like Google) so you can sync it to your laptop, tablet, and smartphone, or you can invest in a printed planner (I know it’s old school, but I like the more tangible nature of a real planner – plus it’s an excuse for me to buy post-its and highlighters).
The first note in your calendar should be you target date for launch. Pick a day at least three months out. It might seem like an eternity, but I promise your patience will be rewarded. Rushing your launch will only stress you out and lead to mistakes.
Once your launch date is decided, it’s time to set yourself some deadlines. Lay out your target dates for submitting the final manuscript to your editor, completing the recommended edits, sending the completed book to be formatted, and choosing a cover design.
Be realistic, but firm with your deadlines. Don’t force yourself or your team to accept sub-par work for the sake of meeting an impossible deadline. Respect the time it takes to make a good product, set achievable deadlines, and stick with them.
Step Three: Start a Rolling Snowball of Excitement
In addition to your publishing deadlines, your calendar will also hold all the carefully planned pieces of your marketing puzzle. When put together, these pieces will achieve your number one goal – get your fans excited.
The reality is, your readers don’t *have* to buy the new book as soon as it’s released. Presumably, it’s going to be available for purchase well into the foreseeable future, so there’s no rush to buy the book unless *you* create one.
Start sharing small details about the book at first (the title, character names, summary, launch date) and build to bigger things (cover art, book trailers, excerpts). Like a snowball gaining momentum as it rolls downhill, your fans’ excitement will grow.
By the time your launch arrives, they will line up to be part of the launch excitement.
Step Four: Go on a Blog Tour
Launches are the best opportunity to grow your fanbase.
Find new readers the same way you’d meet new friends – get out there and introduce yourself. You can hire someone to put the tour together for you, or use your own elbow grease to set one up.
Think outside the box, going beyond book bloggers to find other blogs where the readership overlaps with your target fanbase. Switch up your stops, providing feature posts, book excerpts, giveaways, and reviews to keep that snowball rolling with your new (and old) fans.
You should time your tour for just after the book is launched for maximum sales effects. It’s better to give excited readers the option for an instant gratification purchase rather than force them to wait for the book to come out (which just gives them time to cool off and forget about your book).
Buckle up for the big launch
Now that you’ve learned from my mistakes with these four steps, you’re ready to seize control of your book launch and aim for the skies.
Whatever you do, don’t get overwhelmed. Break your launch plan down into manageable chunks and tackle one thing at a time.
And remember the motto: You Only Launch Once!
About the Author
Shannon (The Author) blogs, tweets, eats, and sleeps book promotion along with Toni (The Geek) at Duolit (The Self-Publishing Team). Jumpstart your book sales with a free copy of The Weekend Book Marketing Makeover – an introvert-friendly approach to finding your crazy-dedicated fanbase!