Launching a book can be the most terrifying and exciting moment for an author. And it never gets any easier. I’m currently preparing to launch my eighth title and the second book in my Dragon Saga. Whether you’re launching your first book or your hundredth having a good plan in place is crucial. Today I’ll be talking about my launch plan and a little bit about what I have done when I’ve launched a book in the past. This is not a one size fits all sort of deal, but you can get a better idea of how to make your launch work for you.
PRE-LAUNCH CHECK LIST
- Professionally Edited Manuscript
I’m a stickler on this one. You absolutely must have a professionally edited manuscript.
- Professional Cover
I know it’s tempting to just throw up something you made yourself in paint, but DON’T; a bad cover screams amateur, and no one is going to even look at your book if it has a terrible cover.
- A Good Synopsis
Don’t just throw up whatever sloppy description you want, this needs to be tweaked and edited almost as much as your novel itself. This is what’s going to get people to click buy.
These three things above are absolute musts! No one should even be considering publishing without all three of these things taken care of first. If you’re missing any one of these, then you need to pump the brakes on publishing until they’re all ready.
- Fan Base/Advertising/Author Network
You cannot launch by just throwing your book out into the wild and hoping it will turn out for the best. You need to either have existing fans, (think Wattpad followers) or you’re going to need to pay for advertising, which I will talk about more later. Take a minute before planning your launch to think about who your ideal reader is, and figure out how to reach them. It will make your launch that must easier.
Now that you’ve got everything you need to launch, let’s get to the fun stuff. How I handle my launch.
LEADING UP TO LAUNCH
- Cover Reveal
I start every launch with a cover reveal, where I announce the name of my next book, and the anticipated release date. I typically do a pre-order at a discounted rate which I announce at the same time (which I’ll get to again in a minute). I first send an announcement to my mailing list leading up to the cover reveal to build up excitement, and then on the day of the cover reveal, I have my cover shared along with teaser images, and buy links.
A few weeks before the cover reveal, I start reaching out to bloggers, authors, and anyone I know who would be willing to share the cover along with the teasers and links.
When I first started out, I worked with a blog tour company which I paid to contact the bloggers in their network to help spread the word about the release. This is a great alternative when you’re first starting out and don’t have anyone to help share the word.
My last couple of launches have all included pre-orders. Which is when, if you’re not familiar with the concept, readers can pre-buy the book before it goes on sale. I typically put my pre-orders at half off or 99c as an incentive for my readers to buy early. And when the book is outside of launch week it goes back up to full price.
One great way to build up excitement and drive readers to your pre-order link is teasers. For each launch I typically take 6 excerpts from my book. Just quick sentence or two set to an image, to get the readers excited and even introduce new readers to your work. You can see an example here:
Along with the quick social media shareable teaser images, I also post a couple of the first chapters to my website, to really stoke the fires of excitement for the readers.
- Advanced Review Copies (ARCs)
This is where having a fan base makes a huge difference, usually two to three weeks before release, I contact my list of reviewers and give them a free copy of the book to review. With the expectation that they’ll leave a review on the retailers the day of the launch (or reasonably within a couple days). Having reviews makes a big difference to potential shoppers. A book with even 5 reviews looks much better than a book with no reviews. If you don’t have readers, there are blog tour companies that offer a paid service, or you can try pitching bloggers to get them to review you book.
Up until this point, I am primarily focused on my existing readers. I’ve been sending them teasers, getting them pumped up for the release. But during launch week, I also pay for advertising. My favorite websites to use are Freebooksy, Ebook Soda, Betty Book Freak and Fussy Librarian to name a few. During the lead up and the week of launch, the book is at 99c and I promote the 99c sale through these websites which then sends the deal to their newsletter subscribers.
- Social Media
On the day of the release, I am a bit like an excited puppy dog, running around all over social media. I email my followers on my mailing list, I am sharing posts on social and generally being a spaz.
- Virtual Launch Party
You’ve probably seen virtual parties popping up around the web, maybe you’ve even attended a few. Now this is not necessarily going to sell you more books. I do this as a way to celebrate with my readers. In the past I had guest authors come in, talk about their books and do numerous giveaways. I love this method and it’s a lot of fun for collaborating with other authors. But for my upcoming release I am planning on doing it more like a party where my readers can get a chance to win the book that’s going to be released along with some other party exclusives.
Giveaways are a staple of my launches, just because I love giving back to my readers. I like giving away signed paperbacks, I’ve made bookmarks, and other trinkets for them to have. And I plan on doing the same with my next release. I generally do giveaways using Google forms and picking a number through random.org. But you can also use Goodreads giveaways to reach new readers who may even review, or you can use Rafflecopter as well.
The most important thing about a launch is to make it fun. It doesn’t have to be hard. Use whatever parts of my launch you like, add and change. The most important thing is to spread the word without spamming others.
Nicolette is a romantic fantasy author who was born and raised in San Diego, and as a result she has a serious aversion to weather fluctuation. She loves writing about complicated family relationships, unrequited romance and lovers torn apart all set in grand and sweeping fantasy sagas.
In the real world she is married to the love her life, and has two beautiful children. She also considers her cats her babies and can often be caught talking to them as if they understand. When she’s not locked in her writing dungeon, Nicolette enjoys camping, hiking, biking and a lot of outdoor activities.
Books by Nicolette that I (Dilyana) have reviewed:
- The Priestess and The Dragon (The Dragon Saga, Book I; Fantasy, Japanese Mythology)
- Kitsune (Tales of Akatsuki Series, Book I; Fantasy, Japanese Mythology)
- Heart of Thorns (Thornwood Series, Book I; Fantasy, English folklore)