What Authors Can If You're Running Late on a Book Launch
"My book is releasing next month and I am completely overwhelmed with the launch."
"I'm really late to the game in setting up the release of my book - what should I do?"
"This release completely snuck up on me - I'm already halfway through writing my next book! I have no idea where to start!"
We receive phone calls and emails about book launches all the time - whether they are running way behind on planning their launch, they are completely overwhelmed, or they have no idea where to even start. It's something many authors face more often than not.
Releasing a book to the world is a big thing - this project that you have poured yourself into for months, maybe even years, is about to see the light of day. And that can muster up a multitude of emotions.
We all want our book to be successful, to reach as many people as possible. But one thing that I see over and over again is that authors and publishers do not allow enough time to properly set up a book for a successful launch. Especially for new authors.
In today's world, a successful book launch needs more than just a month or two set up before the release date, especially if you don't have an established audience or a strong presence online.
But if you find yourself in this situation, don't panic. Here's what you need to do:
1) BREAK IT DOWN INTO THREE STAGES
No matter how much time you have - whether it’s six months or a few weeks - breaking your release down into three manageable sections will not only help you organize your thoughts and ideas, it will give you a reasonable approach to what you are doing.
The three stages are ATTRACT, RELEASE, and FOLLOW-UP.
ATTRACT: This stage should be starting today up until two weeks before the release. This focuses on growing your audience as much as possible. This includes creating shareable content (in images, blog posts, videos, etc.) that your current fans will want to share with their friends, tapping into connections you already have to help you spread the word, conducting a short blog tour to broaden your audience, and so on. This is to help you broaden your reach and establish a connection with more people online.
RELEASE: This stage is the two weeks before your release date. This is where you do a more focused promotion of your book release. This might be done through Facebook or Google ads, a larger number of book giveaways/contests, holding an ebook giveaway on BookBub, Noisetrade, or Amazon, and so on. This is to draw attention to your book and make it known that it will be available soon.
FOLLOW-UP: This is the stage where you have a bit more freedom and time to continue your promotions after your book launch. The life of your book doesn’t end on the release date - it’s just the beginning! Maybe take some of the ideas you had in the “Attract” section that you weren’t able to get to and implement them now. You always want to be growing your audience and broadening your reach. Maybe do a follow-up blog tour or giveaway. I have some other ideas here at this blog post. →
2) PICK THREE STRATEGIES FOR EACH STAGE
There are a ton of strategies and “how to’s” in regards to how to set up a release, which is great and very valuable information. But sometimes, depending on your timeframe, you aren’t able to do each and every one of those ideas. Then you may start to feel stressed and anxious. Not a good feeling at all.
So instead, pick three strategies for each of the three stages mentioned above and do them well. When we put too much on our “launch plate” we spread everything too thin. When we put our focus on three strategies we are able to give them more attention and do them better.
What I suggest you to do is a brain dump - a lovely and classy term, I know - which gets all of your promotional ideas out onto paper. Once you have all of your ideas down on paper, pick three. If you have more time (like three to six months) maybe pick four or five, but only if you have the time.
For example, maybe for the “attraction” phase you will plan a short blog tour, create some beautiful images with quotes from your book to share on social media, and create an online launch team. For the “release” phase you could focus on targeted Facebook ads, giveaways on GoodReads, and a Twitter Chat on release day. On the “follow-up” phase, pick up some of the promotions you weren’t able to do and spread them out over the next few months.
It’s more about creating focus and effective promotion within the timeframe that you have.
3) CREATE A SCHEDULE
Creating a schedule to serve as an outline to what we need to do and when we will do it is the biggest timesaver (and headache saver!) you can do. If you just “wing it,” you will be left stressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
Take the time to create a doable schedule so your time is well managed, you will get things checked off your to-do list, and you will see more progress.
So now that we have the general outline of your launch, remember this:
THIS IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
Your book has a long life after its release date. Yes, we want to make a big impact when the book releases, but that particular date doesn't determine if the book lives or dies. If you’re late to the game with your release, don’t panic. Your book has a long life ahead of it.
SET REASONABLE GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
Being aware of what you’re up against in the world of books is important. A good way to set reasonable expectations is to take a look at the book categories on Amazon. What this will do is give you some context as to how many books within your genre are out there that you are up against.
Go to Amazon and select the books option. On the lefthand side you will see all the different categories along with a number. This number indicates how many books they have within that category. If you click on that category you will see subcategories pop up, which will also show a number. Find what category your book falls in to get a reasonable read on what your expectations should be.
LEARN FROM THIS EXPERIENCE
Next time, plan ahead and set yourself up for success rather than a mad dash. Don’t wait to create your website two months before the release of your book, don’t start your Twitter profile three weeks before your release date - all of these elements take time and need to be set up at least four to six months BEFORE you start to plan the launch of your next book. These resources will not help with your success if they are thrown together at the last minute. They need time and nurturing to help you in the way they were intended to.
Everyone wants their book launch to be a success - it just takes a little foresight, some planning with a simple strategy, and then learning from each book you put out into the world.