When you’re getting ready to launch a new book, doesn’t it feel overwhelming to think about all the steps you need to make sure are done first? Sometimes, you can’t help but wonder if you’re missing a step or three. Well, in this article, I’ve created a checklist of everything you should do to get your book ready to launch and make a splash. It’s designed to help you think through the process and make sure you don’t forget anything.
In addition to the checklist, I’ve included links to plenty of articles from the archives that are relevant to each step, which will help you get up to speed on how to successfully accomplish each step on the list.
So, without further ado, here is The Ultimate Indie Author Book Pre-Launch Checklist.
Before you even think about launching your book, make sure you get a good editor’s eyes on it first. Remember that typos, grammar mistakes, and other flaws are a sure way to lose readers and get bad reviews. It’s well worth the effort and cost to hire an editor to make sure your book is in tip-top condition before you put it out there for people to read.
There are many editors out there, so you should be able to find one who fits your budget. If you need a starting point, I’d suggest checking out my friends over at Penoaks Publishing. They also do interior layout, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Pre-readers are not the same as an editing pass. Think of them as a small audience that you are giving early access to your book so that they will tell you what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes you’ll want to do this before the editing pass, sometimes after, and sometimes both.
What’s the difference? Before the editing pass, your pre-readers (or test readers) are helping you look for story flaws. After the editing pass, you can ask your pre-readers to be an exclusive pre-launch group that gets the book early in return for leaving reviews.
For more details on pre-readers, check out How to Make the Most of Your Pre-Readers.
Get a Great Cover
It’s true that people really do judge a book by its cover. And because it’s your book’s first impression, having a great cover is important. Make sure you have one that stands out! Get more details on what kind of cover works well on Amazon in A Sea of Covers.
Format It Right
It’s difficult for most writers to even describe good interior formatting. That’s just something we subconsciously understand from reading so many books! And that means bad interior formatting sticks out like a sore thumb. You can’t describe it, but you know it when you see it.
Sadly, most of us authors are a little bit blind to bad formatting when it comes to our own books. Maybe it’s the allure of seeing our words in print that shuts off that part of our brains; I don’t know. Make sure you get a good formatting and interior layout job done on your book so that your book looks as great on the inside as it does on the outside.
Set the Right Price
Setting the right price for your market can mean the difference between selling lots of book and selling none at all. Make sure you do your research to determine what price works best for your book’s niche. Find out more in The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Price for Your Book.
Choose Keywords and Categories
Great keywords and categories make sure your book will be found in searches on Amazon. Your goal is to choose keywords or categories that aren’t too crowded, but that are also getting a lot of traffic and that are relevant to your book.
For more details on picking great keywords and categories, start with the mega-post How to Optimize Your Amazon Search Keywords. There’s also Smaller Ponds: How to Use Categories to Sell More Books if you want more.
Write an Amazon Description
You can’t sell books if you can’t convince people to buy them. Your Amazon description goes a long way toward making the case that your book is worth purchasing. It’s not just the words in your Amazon description, though. The way it’s formatted also plays a part. Learn how to write a great Amazon description with How to Write an Incredible Amazon Description. Follow that up with How to Format Your Amazon Description to Stand Out if you want to know how to make it look great.
Make Sure You Have a Website
You want to have somewhere for your new readers to go after you launch the book! Set up even a simple website so that they can click the link at the end of your book and find out more about you and your other titles. Check out Does an Author Really Need a Website? for more.
Even More Important: Make Sure You Have a Mailing List
The mailing list is the non-negotiable item on your author platform list. You must have a way for your readers to sign up to receive all your latest book release news. This makes it far more simple for you to sell your next book. Get started by reading Does an Author Really Need a Mailing List? and then follow that up with The Number One Way to Build Your Author Mailing List to learn how to make it really take off.
An author mailing list is one of the most crucial platform-building things you can do. That’s why I’ve written more articles on that topic than any other! If you’re having trouble getting people to sign up, read Why They Won’t Subscribe. If you need help coming up with things to send out to your mailing list, check out How to Write a Fantastic Author Newsletter.
Put Your Book on Goodreads
While it’s not necessary to be on Goodreads, it would be foolish to ignore this social network for readers that is owned by Amazon. Besides, it doesn’t take much to get started and you don’t have to engage with it as a social network if you don’t want to. Just having your book listed there is great! Look at Does an Author Really Need Goodreads for details on getting set up and ideas for engaging with your readers on this unique social network.
Make a Launch Plan
You can do all of the above steps to get your book primed and ready, but if you don’t have a launch plan, it isn’t going to go much of anywhere. Take some time to think about how you’re going to make a splash with your book launch and propel it to success. Check out Delay the Gratification of Launching Your Book for more.
There you have it! A checklist for launching your book with all sorts of useful links, all in one place. If you know another author who needs to see this roundup, feel free to share.