If done well, a book launch can create urgency, excitement, and unstoppable momentum for your book. It can also help you establish your brand, your message, and your presence on the web.
A launch will build your author business by increasing your email subscribers and social media followers. It will also expand your reach, your network, and may even present possible partnership opportunities with other authors, groups, and organizations.
Many authors struggle to find ways to promote and market their work, but your book itself is your marketing tool. You can use it to leverage multiple opportunities—like podcast and media interviews for example—especially during your launch.
And without question, a book launch is a celebration!
You deserve to highlight this amazing achievement. If you fail to reward yourself or acknowledge this significant milestone in your career as a writer it can be very disheartening. And remember, your enthusiasm for your new book is contagious—so it’s important to spread it around!
But here’s the thing, carefully preparing, timing, and executing just the right mix of launch activities to propel your new book out into the world is no simple task.
And although it may be difficult to nail down the exact return on investment you can expect to receive from your book launch, the real value is the attention you generate and the subsequent platform you build from your launch success.
There are six essential elements of a flawless book launch (which I’ll dive into in greater detail below).
The 6 Essential Elements of a Flawless Book Launch
1 | Define your launch objectives
It’s impossible to define success without first defining what you want to achieve.
Do you want to:
- increase visibility and awareness?
- gain authority and increase your influence?
- have a bestseller?
- grow your platform?
- extend your reach?
Try and take a step back and get a bird’s eye view of this book launch, and its relation to your overall career path.
Ask yourself: What does success look like for this launch? What do I want to accomplish? And how will I determine whether I’ve achieved what I set out to do? (How will I track and measure my results?)
For example, although many authors may say their goal for their book launch is to “sell lots of books”, this isn’t very useful because it’s not measurable – how do you determine “lots”?
Is it a hundred books sold? A thousand? Ten thousand? And what is your real objective in selling lots of books? A liveable income so you can quit your day job? To spread an idea? To help or entertain as many people as possible?
Each objective or goal will require a different launch strategy. If you’re hoping to share a message far and wide, your launch strategy might include giving your book away for free. But if you’re hoping to make a consistent and liveable income from your book, you’ll need to carefully consider a price point for your book and a launch strategy that maximizes revenue rather than downloads.
And hopefully, this won’t be the only launch in your writing career, so consider each launch as a small piece in a bigger picture.
- Are your goals for this book launch in line with the goals you have for your overall writing career?
- Where do you see your writing career 2, 5, or 10 years from now?
Work backward from that point and loosely plan out a path to get there. One launch probably won’t get you there, so leverage THIS – and every launch – to put you in a better position to reach your ultimate objective.
2 | Get clear on your message and positioning
The basis of this is: what do you want to say, who do you want to say it to, and why should they care.
Master Your Message
When you connect to your purpose and can articulate clearly and succinctly what you have to offer, your ideal audience will respond. So focus on your strengths, passions, and goals.
Discover who you are and what you want to do, outline your unique areas of advantage or value, and clarify what makes you and your work different. Any successful book launch needs to have a clear message that is consistently articulated and your “story” is what people will connect with on an emotional level.
One of the best strategies to quickly establish credibility, get known, and differentiate yourself, is to share your “why”, so attach your launch to a bigger story and give people a reason to care.
Shape Your Unique Brand
Writers often balk at the idea of “branding” themselves or their work. It just feels so… corporate. But if done right, your author brand should extend naturally and organically from your message and your “why”.
It’s how people will identify and relate to you, and it lets them know what they can expect from you and your work. Your brand stems from who you are, how you want to be known, and who people perceive you to be.
When crafting your unique author brand, carefully consider the following:
- What’s your brand story? How do you want people to feel? What experience do you want to create for them?
- How do you want to be known? What words, ideas, concepts, and feelings do you want people to associate with you? What mood or immediate impression do you want to evoke?
Now use what you’ve discovered about yourself to create an authentic brand personality.
Know Your Audience
Now that you’ve identified and can express your “special sauce” and the why behind your work, it’s much, much easier to identify the group of people who will be most receptive to your message. Who are you writing for?
You can’t develop a launch plan for an audience you’ve yet to identify. [TWEET THIS]
The deeper your understanding of your readers’ fears, needs, and desires the better so take the time to learn where they are, what they need, and what they are searching for.
You’ll want to know:
- their demographic and psychographic information (things like their personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle)
- why they need YOUR book
- who influences them
- what types of media they consume
- and any other information that is relevant.
As you gather more and more information about your audience, be careful to stay connected to your reasons for sharing your work, and focus on only those topics that are relevant to the community you are building. Don’t try to win over those who are not already inclined to be receptive to your work. Instead, uncover that group of potential readers who already “speak your language.”
Do Your Research
Aside from taking the time to really get to know your readers, sometimes the best way to take your launch planning to the next level is by gaining a deep understanding of what other writers are doing well, what opportunities are being missed, and what your readers really crave.
Much of what you need to know about your readers, the market, what works, and what doesn’t is already out there. You just need to know where to look.
Eliminate the noise and focus on those elements that can give you an edge—in most cases, other authors in your genre or niche won’t take the time to do this.
3 | Take inventory
After you are clear on what you want to accomplish in your book launch, it is time to take inventory of your launch assets.
Your launch assets include things like:
- your author website/blog
- your email list
- your social media followers
- influencer and advocates lists
- your author brand
- marketing materials
- and any other assets you have at your disposal for your launch.
And as I noted earlier, don’t undervalue your assets. Even a small email list of 20 to 50 interested readers can yield big results when it comes to helping you get the word out about your book. Often these “early adopters” turn out to be your biggest supporters.
Also take into consideration things like your budget, your talents and skills, and how much time you have to dedicate to your launch. What can help you reach your launch goals?
Make a note of any gaps that need to be filled. Will you need to take a course, purchase new software, or pay a cover designer, for example?
To move forward, it helps to know where you stand right now in terms of results, assets, and resources. Then focus only on those things that impact what you’re aiming to achieve.
Leverage the tools available
Love it or hate it, technology has leveled the playing field. And authors are becoming more and more adept at using technology and “tools” to carry out the career author’s to-do list.
But a critical factor that is often missed when striving to “check all the boxes” is this: It’s not the tools, but the implementation that matters. You can have everything in place to launch your book but still fail miserably.
Because a powerful launch is more than just the sum of its parts. If done right, there is a synergy between the tools you choose to use, how you implement them, and the intention behind it all.
4 | Make them an offer they can’t refuse
To create stellar content that people will actually care about, you need to have a clear vision for why you are developing the content in the first place, and an in-depth understanding of the people you wish to consume it.
A content strategy is your publishing plan of action for:
- what to create – things like books, guides, interviews, tutorials, infographics, curated content, videos, your opt-in offers, written articles, email sequences, giveaways, social media updates, and so on)
- how to create it – including the format you will use, the skills, talents and tools required, as well as how to communicate or share it (on your homepage, landing pages, sales pages, book descriptions, blog posts, sales funnels, and social media updates)
- when to create it – this is your launch publishing schedule or content editorial calendar
- and for whom to create it – which is of course, your ideal reader
And here’s a hard truth: people don’t care about your book – they care about what your book will do for them. So focus on creating launch content that is meaningful and adds value to your readers, not repeatedly pushes your book.
5 | Gather your “A” team
Hobnobbing and elbow-rubbing are not the sort of activities that solitary creatives typically engage in willingly.
But like it or not, you must start building your network and influencer list.
If you prefer to stay tucked safely behind your computer with a hot cup of tea and a decent supply of chocolate, I have some unsettling news…
Avoiding networking will not lessen its importance to your career.
Gone are the days of the lonely, introverted writer. Connections are critical, and incorporating networking into your launch planning is a must. To survive, writers need to have a shift in mindset. The goal of networking is not to pitch an agent, hawk your book, or have someone you hardly know do you a favor.
It’s simply to have a conversation.
Go into it with a “What can I do for them?” approach, rather than “What can they do for me?” Networking feels icky and uncomfortable when you have a hidden agenda, or you’re not being authentic. So start building relationships now that will earn you goodwill before your launch date.
Street Teams and Super Fans
Find your evangelists and give them extra-special attention and care. Help them tell your story. Create resources, pre-written blog posts, images, videos, quotes, data – whatever you can to get your team excited.
Create an “insiders” list and give them advanced review copies of your book, get feedback on content and encourage them to get invested in your project. Build loyalty, trust, and a connection with your newly forming community and in all your interactions with them.
Focus on creating a kinship of connected, interested, and highly engaged admirers. Then, when it comes time to promote your new book, you’ll have both devoted customers and an eager promotional team ready to spread the word.
6 | Your launch plan
Your launch plan is your blueprint for your entire book launch. It combines the tasks involved and, more importantly, the sequence of events in your launch.
Your launch plans should include:
- the tools you’ll use (implemented in the right way)
- the tasks you’ll complete
- and day-by-day plans for the release of content during your launch.
There are so many details in a good book launch that you need a script to follow. The secret to pulling off a successful launch is to clarify what you need to do (based on your launch objectives), when you need to do it, and the resources, people, and tools you’ll leverage to get it all done.
Want a little help?
None of us have time to waste on things that don’t generate results.
Instead of burning up Google with your panicky “How do I launch my book?” queries (and then trying to piece together a coherent launch strategy), let me help you create an actual plan.
To help you put strategy into action, I’ve developed a specialized “done-with-you” coaching program, using my experience in branding, marketing, sales, and advanced promotion strategies to help you with your launch.
You’ll get focused attention that includes one-on-one guidance and training, as well as a customized Book Launch Action Plan to maximize your launch and avoid costly errors.
My Launch Strategy for Authors coaching program will not only save you time, but eliminate the need to create your own plans and templates from scratch:
Most authors will never discover that book launch success comes from doing just a few things the right way, in the right order.
Hopefully, you won’t be one of those authors. 😉