You might be planning to release a new book soon and are wondering how to do it. For most authors, when deciding the time to launch their book, it is usually determined by when the manuscript is complete and sent to publication. Therefore, it will be launched when it is ready.
In a real sense, timing is critical, and you will be in better hands if you could decide the release date instead of leaving it to other people.
You have probably put hours and hours into your book, making sure it is perfect. Money has likely been spent on the book cover, proofreading, hiring an editor, and other related expenses. And in these final moments, it’s therefore important not to let all that dedication go to waste by not having a proper launch.
But, then again, this poses the big question: How does a self-published author launch their book successfully?
Many self-published authors on Amazon barely make money, which usually leaves them unmotivated and demoralized to pursue their careers.
The self-publishing industry has had a bad reputation, not because the books are bad but because the authors do not know what to do. As a result, when launching their book, the authors are unsure what works and doesn’t.
Fortunately, today you are going to learn the dos and don’t of self-publishing, including:
- Preparing for the launch
- The best way to conduct your launch
- The post-launch ideals
But first, like any other research, we’ll look at the industry traditions by analyzing how the traditional publisher’s timelines are done. Read on to find out more about how to launch a self-published book.
About the Traditional Publisher
Traditional publishers needed a lot of pre-planning as there were many considerations, including announcements, marketing, and bookstore considerations.
In the past, publishing a book and selecting its timelines were easy. Summer, winter, and spring were the time for new releases. However, authors were disadvantaged because they were in areas that fit them best instead of being in a season that fills the publisher’s book list for that time of the year.
It is usual for traditional publishers to select and confirm titles at least 12 months ahead of the street date.
However, there is a need to meet consumer demands, so if your book is concerned with hot topics like celebrities or politics, it will likely appear ahead of time. These are referred to as drop-ins because they tend to abruptly drop into lists of releases.
Having this type of knowledge might come in handy if you are planning to launch a self-published book with a topic that is about lifestyle trends or the news cycle. If, for instance, a famous or well-known author was launching a book the same month as you, you might be better to move your launch to a new month to give you a less crowded audience. However, if your book is not targeted at big media, you might do well and even benefit from the rising tide effect.
How to Know Certain Books Are Being Launched
Getting your hands on Publishers Weekly might come in handy. They offer publication information and can be accessed online. You can also use Publishers Marketplace, a paid service that offers considerations on how to launch a self-published book. Staying informed on upcoming book releases can help you avoid crowded months that may limit your book’s visibility. Alternatively, it can also help you ride the future waves of trending topics allowing you to sell more copies.
The Dos Before Launching a Book
There are important considerations to make after finishing your manuscript and just before launching your book. The following are some of the things you can do:
- Have a good book description
- Carefully select and pick at least 7 keywords for your book.
- Ensure your book has two main categories.
- Have a landing page for your book to collect email addresses. You can also give out a chapter of your book just before release. However, this is optional.
- Use a KDP online reviewer to proofread your book by uploading your manuscript to KDP.
- Upload the cover.
- Set a launch price.
- Get a lead magnet at the front and back of your book.
- An audiobook is optional; you can plan to release it through ACX or Audible.
- Pre-write the emails you will send to the launch team.
- Set up an account with Goodreads and have an author profile.
Setting a Successful Launch Date
To have a successful launch date, here are the essential things you need to keep in mind:
Selecting a Launch Date
One of the best things about self-publishing is choosing the date you want. However, some practices are common in launching a book. One of them is that Tuesdays are usually favored for book releases by traditional publishers.
However, you can choose a different day to avoid competition. The other is that after you select a date, give yourself time so that you promote your book. Finally, remember that a strategic, well-organized launch begins six months before the release date.
Get a Cover Artist
Regardless of the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” people will judge your book, so ensure it has a professionally designed cover. You might say that it is too expensive, but it is not. You can also find an artist online to help you with this. Websites like Fiverr will help you find artists.
When you have the book’s title and information, get the artist on board and let them get started on the cover. It is advisable to have a contract in place with details of payment and date of delivery.
Find Beta-Readers and Editors
Beta-readers are individuals who read your book and offer their feedback and suggestions before it is published. They are usually unpaid, so you don’t have to worry about the cost.
As you are nearing completion, try to find beta-readers. An added advantage is if you are an active member of a writing community as you probably know other authors. Ask them to beta-read your books and, in exchange, beta-read for them. It is a great way to build connections and have constructive and thoughtful feedback on your work.
Some questions you can give them to think through include the chapter they feel is strong; the chapter they believe is weak; areas of improvement; and any loose ends or confusing parts. Editors are also crucial as, unlike beta-readers, they will correct your work in terms of grammar and spelling suggestions.
Editors will also recommend elevating your book regarding overarching themes and character development. Choose an author with experience specializing in your book’s genre. You can find great editors on social media sites like Reedsy and Fiverr.
Identify Early Bloggers And Readers
It is crucial to have early readers go through your work to build the hype. You can find these kinds of bloggers and readers on social media. Find those who specialize in your genre or at least bloggers who write on similar content to yours.
Create a list of these individuals; reach out to them and decide how you will send them a copy of your book. Use the contact method on their website as most bloggers prefer.
Also, note that some bloggers you contact can deny your request, especially if they think the book won’t be a good fit for them. Early readers with huge followings on social media can also offer reviews to help future readers decide if they will buy it when it is released.
Have an Ad Copy and a Captivating Book Summary
Many authors write an afterthought, which might not be the best idea as online shoppers read summaries to see if they will like a book. Make sure your summary is captivating. You can seek assistance from editors and professional writers to help write your summary. If you would like to do it yourself, familiarize yourself with the process by looking at work done by famous people in your genre.
Get on Goodreads
As an author, being on Goodreads comes with many advantages. It is a platform where book enthusiasts keep track of books they have interacted with, books they plan to read in the future, and even leave reviews on the books they have read.
Account owners of Google reads can keep up with the authors regarding updates; they can like and comment on other people’s reviews. An annual awards program also allows readers to nominate their favorite books.
Be on Google reads and apply for the author program. First, make an account, then add your book after 7 days. After this, you can request an author page that, once approved, will allow you to make changes, manage your author profile and use the paid advertising and giveaway features.
You can plan a launch party at a local bookstore to celebrate your hard work and get people running to buy your newly launched book. Find a local bookstore owner and see if they will partner with you and allow you to do a book signing or reading at their store.
Many bookstore owners would jump at hosting such a party because it brings traffic. Some may request a small percentage in exchange for hosting the event. We recommend having a written agreement before the event to avoid any conflict or confusion afterward.
The convenience is that you won’t have to spend much money. Costs to create flyers or advertise can be shared with the store. The store can also use its social media to get the word out. You may have to put up refreshments or snacks to welcome the guests, but it is not necessary. The most important thing is a table where you can display your books.
To get the community excited about your work, we advise using social media to the fullest. First, start promoting the event early enough using social media posts. You can even create a Facebook or Instagram account for people to be updated and follow live streams. Then, as the launch goes on, have someone take pictures and videos of the event, which you will later share with your followers.
After the Launch
After you launch, you now have to sell your book. Some bookstore owners have strict rules regarding self-published books. Get in touch with independent bookstore owners and inquire about their consignment policies. Some even have forms available on their websites.
As you await the final release, you should aim to promote your book over time. Tease your audience. You might begin by saying you have a book, releasing the title, then the cover, and so on. Keep sending reminders to your audience. If you have pre-orders, let it be known. However, be cautious not to overload your audience, especially with too many emails.
So there you have it! Launching a book is not an easy feat, but it’s not impossible. With marketing, you can also build an audience eager for your future releases, giving you a ready market. Moreover, they can also tell their friends about your book and increase your following over time.