Let’s talk publication day and book launch strategies that guarantee success. Because your book launch, especially if it’s your first book, is going to be one of the most important events of your life as a writer. It’s you telling the world, “I’ve written a book!” (Or: “I’ve written another book!”) It’s you telling yourself, We’ve done it! It’s you making your mark (or yet another mark) in the book world. It makes perfect sense, then, to strategize for it, making sure to create a significant buzz about your book and you.
A book launch involves more than just the publication day (or release date). It entails a series of events and activities, most of which are part of the marketing push to get your book to your target audience, and, preferably, also to your secondary audience—people who may not share the educational background or discipline/field as your target audience but who will still want/need to read your book.
Book launch events and activities are typically planned in the weeks or months leading up to the official book release day.
These are the most common events/activities for a book launch:
In this article, we will zero in on the strategies that guarantee a successful publication day.
A strategically scheduled, well-organized, and well-executed book launch leads to sustained interest and robust sales on publication day and onward. This is why it pays to have figured out your overall marketing strategy way before publication day.
When your strategy is perfectly aligned with your book’s subject matter, it makes you highly visible to your intended readers, and your marketing efforts are not wasted on the wrong audience.
To ensure a successful publication day, you must lay the groundwork for it and pique people’s interest in your soon-to-be-released book.
Here’s how you strategize to generate maximum interest in your book in time for publication day:
When picking your publication date, keep in mind that it’s ideal to start planning your book launch preferably six to twelve months before you publish your book to avoid getting overwhelmed by all the activities you will be involved in.
Set a date that doesn’t coincide with any major holidays or relevant events. FYI: The common industry practice is to release books on Tuesdays. That is, the Big 5 publishers do so, most likely because the major bestsellers are compiled on Tuesdays. In general, many indie authors find that releases at the start of the week—Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday—is a smart move, since it gives your book ample time to gain traction before the weekend. Amazon’s manner of recording weekly sales may also influence your choice of a book release on either of the first three days of the week, especially if you’re aiming for a bestseller status, which you have a better chance of achieving if you have great pre-weekend sales. This is something worth taking into consideration.
For self-publishing authors, once you complete the publishing process, that’s when your soft launch takes place. If you choose to publish on a self-publisher like Amazon, take note that it takes approximately twenty-four hours to set up and publish the book to various sites, so your actual launch will take place on the following day.
Your website is a great place to make the big announcement about your book publication day and your book launch party, so it would be great to have it ready at least three months before publication. Having an author’s website is one of the best ways to promote and sell your book and build your reputation as an author. It’s a great space to engage readers as well as those who are just learning about you. It is also a great platform for promoting causes, movements, and/or nonprofits (if any) that align with your subject matter.
You’ll want your website to convey professionalism and give visitors a strong sense of who you are, so make sure it is well and aptly designed. Your visitors should be able to navigate it easily, and your most important information and updates should be the first things to see every time they visit.
Is it wise to forgo social media if you have a great website? In this day and age, no. Your website will not be interchangeable with your social media accounts. Rather, you can use your social media platforms to direct traffic to your website.
As far as features go, your website should include the following:
The importance of a landing page
A landing page is a website page dedicated to promotions and data collection, and that’s just exactly what your upcoming book needs. You can use your book’s landing page to share excerpts from your book. This should help generate excitement around your book and improve sales.
As for what else should go on your book’s landing page, you can include the cover of your book, a trailer (optional, but we highly recommend it), and solicited reviews.
Your book’s landing page is also a tool for collecting site visitors’ email addresses, and they are more open to giving out their contact information if they’re getting value in return. For authors, that value can be in the form of a book giveaway, or the first chapter as an instant download, related merchandise giveaway, etc.
Let social media work for you. It’s one of the smartest marketing moves you can make, as long as you make the right choices for your book and for yourself as an author. You don’t need be on every social media platform. You just need to maintain two or three accounts that best allow you to promote your book, establish your author identity (and personal identity as well, if you are inclined to), and cultivate an organic relationship with your readers.
If you’re not active on social media, it’s time to start posting, before publication day gets too close. If you don’t feel that you’re built for social media, enlist the help of a pro (that can be someone in the family) to help get you started.
Here's an overview of the most widely used each social media platforms:
This needs to happen two months before book launch. Contact book bloggers (especially those who focus on your genre) and bloggers who focus on your book’s subject matter to discuss the possibility of a book review and/or an interview. Look for book and subject-matter-related blogs that feature guest posts (usually in exchange for a blurb about an author’s upcoming book). Take the opportunity if you’re confident your post will be read by your target audience.
The same idea applies to podcasts. Contact those that cater to your target audience to request an interview. The interview should be done in time for your book launch, although it’s fine to do it after the book has been launched.
Don’t get daunted now, but you really do need as many interviews, book review opportunities, and guest posts as possible within the two months prior to publication day.
Hosting a book giveaway is an easy way to get your target audience interested in your upcoming book.
Here are some effective ways to go about it:
Giveaways are a surefire way to put your upcoming book on readers’ radar. This translates to more sales, as some of those who didn’t win the giveaways will go on to buy your book because they are interested.
Here are two things you need to know regarding book launch parties:
1. You can choose not to have a book launch party.
Some publishing industry insiders seem to think a book launch party is not necessary for a successful book launch, and we shouldn’t be so quick to disagree. As a matter of fact, you can forgo a book launch party, especially if you tick off the following important boxes:
An excellent website
Quality social media content and meaningful interactions with your audience
Well-organized book tours
Well-timed appearances at well-chosen events
Must-read guest blog posts
Engaging interviews (whether on blogs and podcasts related to your book’s subject matter, on your own YouTube channel, or on your local paper, radio station, and/or TV station)
On the other hand, why have a book launch party? Because it’s another opportunity to catch the attention of prospective readers and prospective collaborators. If executed right, it’s a marketing event that can result in increased interest in your book and in yourself and your own story as an author. That’s an encouraging scenario against which to sell your book (and to write your next book/s!). Also, a relaxed and entertaining book launch party can serve as a way for you to take a breath and just have fun before setting out for the next event in your book launch schedule.
2. Your book launch party doesn’t have to share a date with your publication day (but it would be great if it did).
If you’re having your launch party on a different date, your best bet is to schedule it relatively close to your official book release date, either before or after, to help boost sales and sustain marketing momentum. If you already have a strong following on social media, consider asking people to vote on their preferred dates.
The best book launch strategies should include planning for publication day, or book release day. Making smart choices such as when to release your book, which exposure opportunities to take, and what kind of content to post on social media and when to post them can go a long way in generating interest among prospective readers.
Are you excited for that big day yet?
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