(541) 848-5219 joel@launchmybook.com

It’s never too early to be thinking about your book launch strategy. Seriously, it’s never too early. If you’re writing a book right now and are still on the fence about whether or not you should self-publish, you should still be formulating a plan for what happens after the book is published. 

One common mistake we see a lot of author’s make is waiting until the last minute to come up with a plan to actually launch their book. They write and publish it, and then it just sits there while they wait for people to find it. But that’s not how book marketing works, especially not for self-published authors.

While book marketing extends well beyond launch week, and frankly we aren’t big proponents in putting a lot of time and energy into launch week, we still wanted to share with you seven things you could be doing to have a successful book launch week.

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1. Find Your Book Launch Team

Every successful book launch week requires a launch team. You as an author cannot launch a book by yourself, and while you don’t necessarily need to hire a PR firm, or a book launch expert, you still need to recognize that you can’t go at it alone. You will need a team of people who believe in you and want to support promoting your book. 

This could be your family, friends, the people on your email list, your co-workers who have been watching you write your book on your lunch break, and your local community members. Find your launch team early in the publishing process and identify the ways they can help your marketing efforts during launch week. 

2. Engage Your Team

Once you have your launch team identified they are going to want to know how to help you. Make it as simple as possible for them: 

  1. Ask them to buy the book when it comes out
  2. Ask them to leave a customer review
  3. And if they are so inclined, ask them to please post about  your book launch on social media. 

If that feels like too much, you can volunteer to write a customer review for them so they just have to copy and paste it into Amazon, and even provide them with social media content to post on your behalf.

Then, remind them the week before of their duties as part of your launch team. Remind them the day before the book goes live, and the day off. You’ll feel like you’re being a nuisance but they are doing you a favor and the least you can do is remind them of what you need from them. 

3. Activate Your Followers

In the same way you asked people in your inner circle to join your launch team and support you during launch week, you can ask your followers for support as well. These would be people on your email list, and who follow your social media channels

Send out regular reminders both in your newsletter and on social media about the book launch and remind folks the ways they can help (buy the book, post a review, and post about it on social media). In fact, encourage them to buy a book for themselves and one or a friend.

You could consider giving your followers some sort of freebie by participating in your launch week. It could be as simple as some stickers or a personalized bookmark that you send to those who buy a copy of the book and post about it on social media. You’ll have to ask them to tag you in their social media posts to claim their prize, and then you can reshare their posts which gives you free content. 

4. Consider Discounting the E-Book to Increase Sales 

You might consider discounting the price of your ebook to .99 or even giving it away for free during launch week as a thank you to those who have agreed to purchase a copy. They will get it for much cheaper, or even free, but Amazon will still count those transactions as sales, bumping up your sales ranking. And folks who want a real copy of the book will still purchase the paperback version at full price. 

5. Reach Out to Local Media 

While you might think your local media won’t care that you wrote a book, it never hurts to reach out and let them know you have a book launching. Many locally-owned newspapers or radio stations will run a press release about you and your book if you send them one in advance. While you’re at it, see if you have any local podcasts you could connect with or online media sources that might cover your book launch. 

You might be surprised at how much press coverage you can generate just by submitting your own well-written press release. 

6. Contact Your Local Bookstores

There are major barriers when it comes to getting a self-published book into bookstores, however many bookstores welcome book announcements from local authors, and might even consider carrying your book on their shelves if they have a local or regional author section

Instead of just emailing the owner about your book launch and requesting that they carry a copy, check the bookstore’s website to see their policy on local authors or selling books on consignment and be sure to follow the steps.

Few book stores will take unsolicited materials, nor do they like having books just dropped off or mailed to them with no context. Instead, take time to become a regular customer of your local bookstore and then introduce yourself as an author and ask about their local author policy.Some bookstores will require a copy of your book to vet for quality, or they will want to set up a time to talk with you as an author. 

If you can get your foot in the door, consider seeing if they allow book signings or author events. Ask your local launch team to purchase their copy from the bookstore, which will encourage the store owner to keep stocking it. If you have an author website, be sure to list the book store (or stores) as a place where folks can purchase your book. 

7. Keep Asking for Reviews After Book Launch

Customer reviews are like gold when it comes to the Amazon algorithm and the more you have the better. While your launch team has agreed to leave you a review during launch week, keep asking for customer reviews every chance you get. Leaving a customer review or a rating is a free way that someone can support your work that can have a big impact on your success. 

Bonus: Don’t Forget About Your Soft Launch Period

While launch week is exciting, don’t forget about your soft launch period. Because print-on-demand companies like Amazon can be a little glitchy, we highly recommend making your book live for a week or two in advance of telling people, so you can check for any issues with your book listing. We’ve seen books go live and suddenly the cover art disappears from the book listing. We’ve also seen Amazon list the wrong author on a book after it went live, and a myriad of other issues that all require taking time to contact customer service so they can fix the issue. 

While your book is in its “soft launch” phase, you could ask a handful of people in your launch team to go in and leave a five-star review so that you already have a high rating when you activate the rest of your team during launch week. 

If you still need help planning your book launch, reach out to Joel Pitney for a free consultation!

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