It’s always an amazing feeling when you finish your latest book. You’re finally ready to release it, make your fans happy, and hopefully get some cash. You’re all set to hit that big red Launch button. But wait! Today, I want to tell you why you shouldn’t launch your book.
I know, you’re probably thinking I’ve finally gone off my rocker. Hear me out. You see, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched indie authors launch a new book like this:
“I’m not sure yet when this book will be done. Once I get the cover art finished and the book uploaded to KDP, I’ll just launch it then.”
It’s almost like they believe that simply launching a book will ensure its success. But if you’ve ever launched a book before, you know that’s not the case. You really need to do some hustling to push your book to a successful launch.
And that’s why you need to learn delayed gratification when it comes to launching your book. Rather than launching your book as soon as you get all the files prepped, think about it like a plan. Once you know when all your files can be expected, add a few weeks to your schedule and then start filling in the things you can do to make a big splash with your launch.
Here are couple things you should think about when you’re planning for your launch date.
A launch can spread farther if you have some good social proof or testimonials telling prospective readers that your new book is fantastic. A pre-reader program gets you that social proof.
To make this work, give out digital copies of your book a few weeks early to some selected pre-readers. And if you’re wondering how you’ll ever sell books if you give away a bunch of copies before launch, just remember that you’re playing the long game here. Your pre-readers will be responsible for your first round of Amazon reviews, and maybe even some blog reviews or interviews. Those early readers will provide reviews for other prospective readers to convince them your book is worth buying.
The launch plan is what you’re going to do on and around your launch date to really spread your book far and wide. I find it helps to break things down into what audience you want to reach and what you want that audience to do. The possibilities are nearly endless, but here are four ideas. You can do all four of these ideas together in the same launch plan, or pick and choose the ones that work best for you.
Promote to Your Current Fans
Goal: Get your current audience to buy your new book.
This one is simple if you’ve already built a mailing list from your current readers. You’ll want to send out an e-mail a few weeks before release to give them a heads up that your book is coming out. Then once your book is actually released, send another e-mail to let them know it’s now available. You could even combine this with a pre-reader program by offering a free pre-release copy to your fans a few weeks ahead of the release date.
Promote to New People
Goal: Get new readers to buy your new book.
Promoting to new people is a little bit more difficult than promoting to your current audience. That’s because you’re going to need to convince somebody who hasn’t heard of you to take a chance with your book. And you’re going to need to spread the word about your book beyond your own audience. Let’s take those one at a time.
First, to convince somebody who hasn’t heard of you to give your new book a try, you’ll probably need to put the book on sale. That lowers the barrier to entry for new readers to try you out—it’s easier to take a chance on an author you aren’t familiar with if the price to do so is $0.99 or even $0. If giving away your brand new book for a lower price (or free) is making you squirm, just remember that if you get a new fan on board, they will want to read everything you’ve written, so you’re again playing the long game for future sales of your other books. It’s a fair trade.
To spread the word beyond your own audience, you can do a few things. If you can set up a bunch of blog appearances, that’s a decent strategy, though it’s also one that involves a lot of hustle to make it happen for free. If you’d rather spend your time writing, you could purchase a slot in a deal newsletter for your sale and let somebody else do all that promoting.
Promote Your Back Catalog
Goal: Sell more of your previous books.
This strategy works well if your new book is a sequel to a previous story. You can capture some new readers by promoting the previous installments in your series, especially if you deep discount one or more titles in your back catalog. Just use the same concepts as when you’re promoting to a new audience.
Give Something Away
Goal: Build your mailing list for the next book launch.
Once again, this is where you’re playing the long game. If you can incorporate a free giveaway into your launch plan to entice some of the people who are just hearing about you to join your mailing list, you’ve just laid the foundation to do an even bigger launch for your next book. It’s worth the effort to put together a compelling offer and make it a key part of your launch.
You’ll go a lot farther with your new book launch if you put together a plan first. Delay your gratification and get a plan ready, then go ahead and hit that big red button.