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Ask the Publisher: How to Successfully Launch a Book — Part 1

Ask the Publisher

Hello, everyone!

Here at Common Deer Press, we are already deep in our pre-launch promotions for our three December releases. So, how to successfully launch a book is at the top of my mind for sharing with the readers of this blog. It’s a six-month process for us, and there is a fair amount of material to cover just that’s author related (it doesn’t include what a publisher could be doing on your behalf). To break it down into manageable chunks, the content will be split into four blog posts. At the end, there will be a nifty one-page checklist for you to download.

Even if you are traditionally-published author, it’s important to supplement your publisher’s marketing campaigns with your own marketing efforts so that your beautiful book reaches as many readers as possible. Nowadays, readers want to engage with authors they like, especially online. So even if your publisher is running fabulous promotions, it’s important to reach out to your readers yourself and give them the personal touch. While you may not always have the same publisher, I’ll bet you’d like to keep your readership!

And, if you’re indie published, you’re going to have to do as much of this promotion as you possibly can yourself.

As an author, some of these ideas will be useful to you and others won’t. Some will need to be added over time. Feel free to pick and choose and DON’T try to do it all at once! Eventually, you will have a book launch checklist of your own that is tailored to suit your books.

Six to five months before the book launch

Do what you can to help drive pre-orders by making your existing readers aware of the upcoming release. It’s possible that the more pre-orders you get, the bigger your initial print run, and the more marketing resources your publisher will dedicate to your book⎯and you might even hit a bestseller list during launch week! Here are some ideas to drive those pre-orders:

1. Post a cover reveal

Six months prior to a book launch, you or your publisher will likely have your cover design ready to go. A tantalizing way to begin marketing your book six months before launch (also known as the release date) is to share the cover with your readers on your website and your social media. Each cover is different and typically provides a hint as to the contents.

2. Add a synopsis to your website

Put a synopsis of your book on your author website with photos of the book/book cover. Put ‘teasers’ and links on your social medial channels to drive your followers to your website where they can read the full synopsis and, you guessed it, pre-order it.

Pro Tip: Bonus points for adding a link on your website to download the first chapter to really hook your audience.

3. Email your mailing list

Have you already built an email list? If so, one of the best ways to promote your book in advance is to begin talking about it in a newsletter. If you haven’t started sending out newsletters, this is a great opportunity to start one. Again, share a great photo of your book with links to the first chapter download (if you’ve done one) and to pre-order.

4. Update your author profiles

Update any online profiles listing your books on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads. This way if anyone Googles you and finds these bios, they’ll be able to learn about your newest book. It’s a good idea to keep these bios constantly updated with links to trade reviews and news about events and promotions surrounding your new release.s

5. Send Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) to major publications

In addition to sending ARCs to readers or using them as giveaway prizes, consider sending some to any major publications in which you’d like to see your book mentioned, along with a personalized note. If you have a traditional publisher, they will likely look after the ‘big guns’ like Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal and Kirkus for you but no publisher has the time or resources to cover all eventualities. A publisher prizes the author who offers to work with the marketing team to cover as many bases as possible! While this doesn’t guarantee a mention, it is a good reminder to the editors of those publications and can result in a nice bit of publicity!

NOTE: While some of the major reviewers will accept digital review copies, many still want to hold the actual print book. This means having your book fully edited and ready to print 3-4 weeks before you want to send out ARCs.

Before your book launch: 1. Post a cover reveal 2. Add a synopsis to your website 3. Email your mailing list 4. Update your author profiles 5. Send ARCs to major publications

This was a long post and we are still six months out from your release date! As I said in the beginning, some of these ideas will be useful and some not. It really depends on where you are in your writing career and the time and resources you have at your disposal. If you can’t do one or more of these, it’s certainly not a train smash.

Next week, we will cover ideal promotions during months 4 and 3 pre-launch date. As always, if you have questions, concerns requests for more details/resources ask them below or send me an email. I will be sure to answer them all.

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