Your Book Launch Toolkit
by Joel Friedlander
Launching your book can be one of the most exciting—and most stressful—parts of publishing a book.
Carefully preparing, timing, and executing just the right mix of activities to propel your new book out into the world is no simple task.
Authors are faced with a large variety of actions and strategies they can use for their book launches, many more than most new authors realize.
Why bother? Remember that your book launch is the best time to make an impact. It’s when more people will be paying attention (if you’ve prepared your launch). What will a launch do for you?
- Create excitement about your book, and help you establish yourself online.
- Build your email subscribers social media followers, your network, and partnership opportunities.
- Leverage opportunities like podcasts and media interviews.
- Celebrate your achievement as a writer.
The real value of a book launch is the attention you generate and the growth to your author platform.
How to do it? Here’s a list of the tools you could deploy for your launch. You may only use one or two, so see what’s on the “launch menu” that suits you.
- Book Website or Landing Page—This is an essential part of your launch and every book you publish should have its own page, on its own site or on another site you own.
- Review Campaign & Endorsements—Testimonials can be powerful incentives to buyers, and a review campaign is the easiest and lowest-cost marketing of all.
- Media Kit—Create a media kit and host it on your website to facilitate your interactions with journalists, bloggers, and reviewers
- Marketing Materials—You may want to create bookmarks, posters, social media graphics and more to help with your launch
- Book Trailer—Lots of authors have created “buzz” with book trailers, but you need to make sure this is something that will work for your audience
- Email Campaign—Every author who puts time into building an email list will profit during their book launch. You’re doing that, right?
- Social Media Campaign—Social media has helped level the playing field for indie authors, so make sure you’re up to speed and know where your readers are
- Book Pre-Orders—Retailers have made it easier to set up pre-orders, which can amplify your launch by helping you gauge interest before publication day
- Interviews—Doing interviews during your launch on television, radio, in magazines and newspapers, or online multiplies your launch efforts
- Guest Posting—Many bloggers and site owners will “loan you their microphone” during your launch, so start building your network as soon as you’re able
- Speaking Engagements—There’s no replacement for the bond you create when you speak to people live, and there are opportunities for both fiction and nonfiction authors
- Amazon Bestseller Campaign—This longstanding strategy to briefly conquer one subcategory on Amazon still works
- Book Launch Incentives—Incentivizing buyers during your book launch can have longstanding effects on the success of your book
- Special Sales and Bulk Purchases—Looking outside the normal book distribution system for other partners who can help with your book can quickly put you in the black
- Blog Tour—Visiting blogs in your category, genre, or niche can put you in touch with thousands of likely readers
- Contests and Giveaways—A great way to create excitement during your launch is running contests or giveaways that emphasize your book and its themes
- Advertising—Targeted advertising for the right book can add significantly to the number of people you reach with your launch
- Teleconferences & Webinars—These online events bring hundreds or thousands of people together, an ideal place to promote your book launch
- Joint Venture Partnerships—Finding partners who have a vested interest in your topic is an advanced strategy, but works wonders with the right book
- Book Launch Party—Time to celebrate! A party can attract news, media attention, and sales.
Your launch is a unique time in the life of your book. You can make it longer or shorter, as you see fit. But trying to get the the most attention during this time will help your book rise above the tide of publications, because most authors will not go to the trouble of putting together a full-on book launch.
So pick the ones that seem most appealing, or most appropriate for you, then start planning. And good luck with that book!
(This article was excerpted from The Book Launch Toolkit, a marketing tool for indie authors I developed with platform expert Kimberley Grabas.)
Joel Friedlander (@JFBookman) is an award-winning book designer and blogger. He’s been launching the careers of self-publishers since 1994 from his book design and consulting practice at Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California. Joel also writes TheBookDesigner.com, a popular blog on book design, book marketing and the future of the book, and he is the founder of The Self-Publishing Roadmap, a training course for authors; BookDesignTemplates.com, where he provides pre-designed book templates for Word and InDesign; AuthorToolkits.com; and BookPlanner.com, a project management tool for authors who publish their own books. Joel is a past president of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.