Sometimes marketing a new book release can be overwhelming, so a few weeks ago, I started a series of blog posts to help simplify the process. We’re talking about what pieces should be the core focus of a launch, depending on what type of book launch you’re doing.
You can see the launch plan for a Debut Novel here.
Today, we’ll cover a sample launch plan for your 1st-in-series book or a standalone title. I consider these as comparable when it comes to planning the launch, because you already have readers from previous books, but you don’t have the momentum of previous books with familiar setting and characters to drive read-through sales.
We’ll look at the big picture goals and the details!
This launch plan is timely for me because I’m currently working on the launch of my upcoming release, This Treacherous Journey, the first book in the Heart of the Mountains series.
Without further ado, let’s jump in!
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:
You won’t have the momentum of the series and familiar characters to carry your new book, so you’ll want to do more outreach to spread the word and build excitement for the new series.
- Email List. Utilize the email list you’ve been growing since your debut, by sending at least these three emails to your list. Make sure you’re working to add new readers to your list, too, by having email list sign-ups everywhere you can think of – especially in the back matter of your eBook and on your website.
- Launch Team. Work to invigorate your launch team about the new series. Give them ARCs early, if possible, and consider providing quotes and memes for them to share on social media. Try to have at least 20-30 people (more is better) lined up to post reviews the first couple of weeks. Assume about 1/3 of the people you line up will actually post reviews.
Other options: If you’ve tackled the list above and are ready for more, these are your next steps to boost that new release even higher!
- Newsletter Swaps. This is something I’m seeing more and more, and I’m actually coordinating one now for my upcoming release. (If you write Christian fiction, I’d love to swap with you! Get details and sign up here.) Basically, other authors agree to share your book announcements with their email list, and you agree to share their book with your email list. It’s important to make sure you’re swapping with authors and books your readers will love!
- 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.
- Blog Tour. Consider doing a blog tour (even if it’s scaled down) to get the word out about the new series.
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!
- When your book is available for preorder or sale, change the “New book” email in autoresponder welcome sequence to reflect this latest release.
- Write and schedule the 3 emails to your list: (1) an email to send when the preorder is available, (2) an email that sends on release day, (3) an email that sends 2 – 4 weeks after release thanking them for the purchase and asking for reviews.
- 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?)
- 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.
- On release day, send all the retailer links to your launch team where they should post reviews.
- Create a form where authors submit their info when they agree to swap book announcements. Google forms works well for this, or it could be a form on your website.
- Create a file in Dropbox.com or another cloud folder where you can place all the things the authors will need to share your book with their readers. At minimum, they need you book cover file, links to retailer pages, and a blurb. It’s also nice to include a date range when you want the announcement to be sent, and several different graphic types.
- Share the link to the sign-up form in all the appropriate author loops where you’ll find other authors with similar target readers.
- Send the link for the Dropbox folder to the authors who signed up for your swap.
- Collect book info from each of those authors and schedule their book announcement email to your email list.
- If you plan to do any paid advertising during preorder or release week, schedule that in advance (check each website to see how far in advance is acceptable or required).
- 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 a new series or standalone book. This is by no means comprehensive, but is a good starting point! From here, make a schedule of what needs to be done and when, then try to get at least one item checked off each day. You’re off to a great start!
In the next post, we’ll cover a launch plan for a later-in-series book. Also, watch for a post soon where I share my actual 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 a huge launch. Stay tuned!
Until then, what best practices have you found for launching a new series or standalone? I’m sure you have stories of your own or another author’s launch!