Some days it can feel like we’re drowning in marketing ideas and suggestions. Especially for new authors, the overwhelm can smother us to the point that it’s hard to act at all because of the barrage of tasks.
To help lessen the overwhelm, I’m beginning a series of blog posts to talk about what pieces should be the core focus of a launch, depending on what type of book launch you’re doing.
Today’s post covers a launch plan for your debut release, both the big picture goals and the details.
Disclaimer: Every author and book are unique, and we all have different goals for our book releases and career paths. With that said, these are generally the important focus area for this particular type of launch.
The big picture:
Your debut release is the time to pull out the stops as you’re introducing your book to the world and building your brand (and email list). Focus on these areas as you plan your launch:
- Launch Team. Try to have at least 20-30 people (more is better) lined up to post reviews the first couple of weeks. You’ll find it can be easier to do this on your debut than later books because of the excitement around your budding career. Assume about 1/3 of the people you line up will actually post reviews.
- Blog Tour. If you ever plan to do a blog tour, this is the time. You’re building your brand and working to get your name out there, both efforts where blog tours can be helpful.
- Growing Your Email List. Have email list sign-ups everywhere you can think of, but especially in the back matter of your eBook and on your website. It would be a great idea if you had a short story or some other incentive to encourage readers to sign-up.
Other options: If you’ve tackled the list above and are ready for more, these are you next steps to boost that new release even higher!
- Paid Advertising: If you plan to utilize this, I would recommend waiting until there are at least 15 Amazon reviews on the book with a 4.6 star rating or higher, then submit to eReader News Today and/or Robin Reads. (Make sure you coordinate with your publisher). Once you have at least 25 reviews on the book and meet the pricing requirements, begin submitting to BookBub. It may take several months of submissions to be accepted, but persevere.
- Launch Parties: This is entirely your choice, but there’s no better time to celebrate than the release of the debut novel you’ve worked so hard on!
So what does this actually look like when you’re writing your task list? Here’s one example, but make sure you tailor it to fit you and your book!
- Make sure your email list is set up and you’ve personalized your sign-up form and welcome emails.
- Make sure your sign-up invitation is very visible in the back matter of your book (for traditionally published authors, this should be a significant talking point with your publisher).
- Determine how you’ll be sending ARC copies to your launch team (Will your publisher send paperbacks? Does your publisher use Netgalley? If you’re an indie, do you plan to use BookFunnel, Booksprout, Pronoun, or another service to distribute your ARC?)
- Have you created your launch team yet? If not, reach out to all those people who have said they’ll be happy to post reviews for your book. Share timing with them and get the correct contact info so you can coordinate sending the ARC to them.
- At least a month before release, send the ARC to launch team members or get confirmation that your publisher has done so.
- Create some memes for launch team members to share. These could be interesting quotes or your book cover with a hook and purchase info.
- Create several Twitter and Facebook posts that launch team members can copy and post to their respective accounts. (Make sure you include a buy link for your book!) You might consider using a tool like sharelinkgenerator.com. On this website, you can create prewritten posts where people only need to click to post your message on any of the social media platforms you include. You can even add memes or other images for easy posting. People are more likely to share your message when you make it possible with only a click or two.
- About two weeks before release, send social media memes and prewritten posts to your launch team.
- Decide whether you want to coordinate the tour yourself, or use a service like celebratelit.com, litfusegroup.com, or another, or if you plan to coordinate the blog tour yourself. Get the posts lined up.
- Decide if you plan to do a giveaway as part of the blog tour (ideally, this would be something that readers love that ties in with your book, NOT the book itself).
- Write or prepare the blog posts. If you’re coordinating the tour yourself, use a spreadsheet or notebook to keep yourself organized.
- Make sure you write down the dates each blog will post, then stop by the blog to respond to comments.
So there you have it…a basic list of to-dos when preparing to launch your debut release. This is by no means comprehensive, but is a good starting point! From here, make a schedule of what needs to be done when, then try to get at least one item checked off each day. You’re off to a great start!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at core focus areas for a first-in-series, standalone book, and a later book in a series. I’ll also share the launch plan for my upcoming release, This Treacherous Journey, scheduled for release Feb. 6th, 2018. This is a first-in-series and I’m planning for a huge launch. Stay tuned!
Until then, what best practices have you found for launching a debut novel? I’m sure you have stories of your own or another author’s launch!