I’m back. I thought I’d give you a few days’ rest between book launch to-dos. So you can let everything sink in. Well, actually, that’s not quite true. I had 3 tennis matches this week and visitors from overseas, I had to repeatedly tell my kids to unload the dishwasher, and I dedicated an inordinate amount of time on selecting the best header picture for item #3 on this very list, creating a new Facebook page. That’s what the break was most needed for.
Aaaaanyway… Up until this point, all our to-dos were pre-book launch activities. All the stuff you should have tackled BEFORE hitting that big fat “publish” button but, if you are like me, probably didn’t. Don’t worry, there is still time to do it afterwards. But before is better. Because guess what you REALLY should be doing after you’ve released your book, or rather after allowing for a few days of self-congratulatory excess? Write your NEXT book, that’s what. So getting all the marketing activities out of the way early will work in your favor.
In the order published, though not necessarily the order you need to do them in, they were:
- Pick a launch date
- Announce Launch Date on Your Blog
- Share Launch Date on Facebook Page
- Join a Book Lovers Facebook Page
- Announce Launch Date on Twitter
- Amazon Author Central
- Share on Google+
- Establish Yourself on Goodreads
- Create a Fact Sheet
- The Big Launch Day
But today, finally, the BIG DAY has arrived. Today is LAUNCH DAY. If you have all your social media set up by now, you might want to announce launch day with big fanfare, perhaps by starting a daily countdown on Facebook and Twitter a few days ahead of time, and perhaps even by attaching some kind of a raffle – each person who shares your post or tweet will be entered into a drawing for a free signed copy of your book. Or something like that.
Launch day might actually arrive a few days after you hit that “publish” button on Amazon’s KDP site. At first, your book will go under review, and Amazon will send you an email once it’s live. This could be anywhere from a few hours to two days. On CreateSpace (for your paperback) this will even take longer, since you will want to order a proof of your book first (I will talk about the details of on demand publishing via CreateSpace in a future post).
So make sure your book is absolutely ready and perfect the exact way you want it to look. Hopefully, this will happen by the date you set in #1. (And if you were smart, you maybe didn’t pick a very exact date then and rather a launch month – only as you get closer will you have zeroed in on the date and started the aforementioned countdown to increase the hype.)
Make sure you actually have time on launch day, as you’ll want to be involved. Think about your message, the actual words you are going to say about the launching of your book. If you find a way to make this funny, it will work better. As in “Whew, the day of my book launch has finally arrived, and it’s a good thing, because I’ve been in my pajamas for three days, there is only half an apple and some expired yogurt left in my fridge, and I’m buzzing around like Kramer from all the coffee I’ve poured into me in one all-nighter after the other. Thank god the wait is over.” I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Just make it more interesting than “My book, XYZ Book, is now available for sale. Please buy my book.”
To start out with, make yourself a big pot of coffee or tea. You’re going to have some fun. If you’ve done all your homework up until now, today you get to:
- Post an announcement with link to your book page on Facebook for all your friends to see.
- Post it on your Facebook fan page, which hopefully by now has a decent following of a few hundred, boosted by all your hard work building up your fan base by posting relevant content.
- Post it on Facebook groups (#4) you belong to; better yet, if they are moderated groups like We Love Memoirs which don’t allow self-promotion, get a moderator to post a link to your book. Book lovers, fellow authors, people with an interest of the topic of your book – hopefully you’ve done your homework and established a presence in some of these groups by commenting on relevant topics and creating some interest in you as a person.
- In all your posts, tag the people you know may be interested or post a link on their pages.
- Tweet the news on Twitter, several times that day, again tagging people who may be interested and will hopefully retweet.
- Share on Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, wherever you are on social media.
- Make sure you answer all the comments to get a conversation going.
- Publish a blog post (prepared ahead of time, hopefully!) on your blog/website that announces the book; as with your social media postings, provide a direct link to where the book is sold (there is such a thing as an Amazon universal smartlink, like hyperurl, that sends people to their respective country pages; when in doubt, use the Amazon U.S. store link).
- Share the blog post on social media.
- Place an ad for your book in the sidebar of your blog/website, hyperlinked to the Amazon book page.
- Send emails to all your friends and family.
- Send emails to your newsletter mailing list, if you have one (I will write about Mail Chimps in a future post).
- Contact potential reviewers (more on this later) to offer a free copy of your book. Yes, these are the people you can (and have to) give it to for free.
- If people tell you they’ve just downloaded or ordered your book, thank them politely, and indicate to them that you would love to hear what they thought (setting the seed for future reviews without obnoxiously asking “please write a review once you’re done reading.”
- If you’ve done a book trailer (more on those also later), put it on YouTube.
- Post a quiz about your book topic or about yourself.
The one thing I WOULDN’T do on launch day or the first few weeks thereafter: give your book away for free or put it on sale. Those are things you can do later. You’ve worked so hard to build excitement about your new book, you’ve told your friends and family and loyal readers about it, and now is the time to cash in on the buzz you’ve created. These are all people who have been patiently waiting for your book for months, and they are going to buy it anyway. It seems perhaps a bit unfair that you should make your most loyal fans pay, of all people, but trust me, it’s the best way.
Through all of launch day, make sure you ENGAGE with your audience so it is a conversation and they sense you are present. Your virtual launch party might be a booming success, or it might fizzle and there is nothing left to do after your first few posts about your book. Don’t feel too shy. This is the one day where you get to brag a little bit. People will cut you some slack for running in promotion mode for an entire day, as long as you have the sense to turn off the spigot again the next day and return back to normal.
Because the next day, the party is over.
Time to obsessively check your Amazon sales numbers every few hours.
This concludes my Book Launch Checklist, which came out to be a tidy package of 10 tips. I have many more to-dos or you regarding the marketing of your self-published book, but I decided to put them in a new series about book promotion – all the things that typically came AFTER your launch day.