book launch

Book Launch Checklist: How to Promote Your New Book

Ann O'Brien

Ann O'Brien

February 23, 2023

You’ve spent months or years writing your book, and it’s finally printed. The next step is to launch your book into the world with a marketing push that gets it noticed. Follow this book launch checklist to make sure your book gets off to the right start.

Why You Need a Book Launch

A carefully planned book launch is the best way to introduce your book to the world. It allows you to reach potential readers, reviewers, and others who can promote your book. It’s the first phase of your book marketing campaign, and it could be the most important one.

A book launch is important for both fiction and nonfiction books. It takes a while to plan, so get started as soon as you’re in the final stages of writing your book.

Set the Date

The first step in your book launch checklist is to choose a launch date. This will depend on whether you’re publishing with a traditional publisher or self-publishing.

It can take several months to plan a complete book launch. Start planning your launch at least six months before your book’s publication date. This gives you time to get everything done without feeling rushed or panicked.

If you’re self-publishing, you have more control over the publication date. Your official publication date is the day your book comes back from the printer. Putting the book on a self-publishing platform takes about 24 hours to set up, so plan your launch for the day after that.

If you waited until the last minute to get your book launch planning started, don’t panic. You can still do quite a bit in the remaining few days or weeks to get some attention for your book. Follow the steps in this book launch checklist, even if your book is already in print.

Think of Your Ideal Reader

When you plan your book launch, always keep one question firmly in mind: Who is your ideal reader? Your launch must focus on ways to reach that reader. People who enjoy your book will talk to others about it and help promote it.

If you’re printing your book and selling the hard copies, focus on getting media attention for your book. Books, newspapers, blogs, and newsletters are the traditional forms of marketing for printed books. If you’re putting your book on a self-publishing platform, your early efforts should focus on getting reader reviews and early sales.

Develop a book launch email list

Develop a list of early readers and reviewers. Think about the pool of people you know who could help, including:

  • Friends and family members
  • Clients you’ve written for
  • Former and current coworkers
  • Past employers
  • Social media followers
  • Industry contacts

If you focus on people in your social circle, you can probably come up with a list of about 50 people who would be willing to read and review your book on a self-publishing platform or a review site. This list is the first part of your launch.

Build Your Author Website

Whether you’re publishing traditionally or self-publishing, an author website is a good marketing tool. It’s a platform for yourself and your writing projects. There are many good reasons to set one up:

  • It establishes your brand as a writer.
  • A website allows readers to learn about your new projects.
  • You can post your news and book events.
  • If you set it up to sell, you can use your site to sell your book directly to readers.
  • Posting valuable content will attract leads.

Even if you have a strong social media presence, an author website gives you authenticity that social media can’t. With social media, you are always at the mercy of the platforms you use. If they change the way they operate or you lose your account, there is not much you can do about it.

A website, on the other hand, is a permanent site that is always yours. You have complete control over how it looks and how you use it.

Include these in your website

Your author website should have a contact page and a page dedicated to each of your books.

While you’re at it, use your website to start a blog. A blog is a good way to post quick updates, stay in touch with readers, and share your thoughts with the world. Blogging can also help you build readership. When people interact on your blog, get their contact information, and add them to your email marketing list.

Add a media kit that includes a headshot, photos of your book’s front and back covers, and contact information. This should be in a downloadable format.

Lower the Price of Your Book

To help your book get off to a good start, set a low price for the e-book version. On a self-publishing platform, low-priced books command attention. The price should be low enough that these readers feel it’s not much of a risk to spend on a potentially great new book.

Most experts recommend pricing it at 99 cents for the first week of your launch. This will attract buyers and quick sales. If you’re on a self-publishing platform, good first sales and good reviews will boost your book’s ranking. On these platforms, books that get early attention are more likely to be promoted by the platform.

Remember, this is just the price for the first week. Once your launch is over, you can reset the book to its regular list price.

Take a Social Media Tour

In the months leading up to your book launch, start your social media plan. Ideally, you will spend that time creating awareness on various sites about your book. This is a crucial step in your book launch checklist, so plan carefully for it.

You can do this after the book is published, but doing it during the launch will help build anticipation.

How do you get these social media mentions?

Make a list of blogs, podcasts, book review sites, and other social media sites related to the subject of your book. If you’ve written a true crime book, contact true crime bloggers and podcasters. Ask them to review your book or to interview you.

If you approach a blogger, offer to write a guest post in exchange for a plug for your book instead of payment. Bloggers are always looking for content, and many will welcome an offer of free content. Make sure the guest post is on a subject the bloggers’ readers want to read.

Some bloggers may write reviews of your book. Others may simply mention that it’s available, but don’t discount that. It’s an important marketing step. There are many books out there competing for attention, and any mention of yours will help it stand out above the crowd.

Line up as many interviews, reviews, and guest posts as you can during the book’s first weeks.

Your Book Launch Checklist: A Summary

To sum up, you need a multifaceted marketing plan to get your book off to a strong start. Your book launch plan should include the following.

  • Marketing materials: Create blog posts, emails, news releases, blurbs, and other marketing materials to promote your book. When you get a chance to talk about your book, have those materials ready to go.
  • Social media interviews: Line up interviews on blogs, websites, and podcasts to promote your book.
  • Paid advertising: Some authors use paid ads as part of their marketing.
  • Author website: Create an author website, and start a blog.
  • Lower the price of your book to boost early sales.
  • Get reviews from friends, family members, and colleagues to post on book platforms and review sites.

Throw a Book Launch Party

Many authors like to celebrate getting published by having a party. This is a good way to relax after months of hard work. Throw a party to thank those who helped you reach this milestone. A book launch party may not pay off in terms of promotion, but it’s enjoyable for you and your guests.

We hope you found this book launch checklist useful. At Publishing Xpress, we specialize in working with fiction and nonfiction writers. If you want personal customer service, expert printing, and a printer you can count on, contact us today.

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