Happy Monday, everyone and welcome back to our four-part series, How to Successfully Launch a Book. We are now in the mid-stretch and there is lots to cover in the next two months of the ramp up to launch! So, without further ado, let’s get started.
4 months prior to launch
Compile a list of bookstores and libraries in your area so that you can start setting up book signings and appearances.
Start compiling a list of book bloggers who might be interested in reviewing your book.
This is also the time (if you are indie published) to start looking for a printer who can do short runs of your Advance Reader Copies (ARC’s) at a reasonable cost. Keep in mind that short print runs can be expensive—the set-up costs are the same as for a big run and spread over a smaller number of books.
Pro Tip: Ensure your ARCs have the following on the back cover:
A statement declaring it an uncorrected proof
The ISBN number, pages, and format
The publication date and keywords
Where to pre-order
If you are planning to print-on-demand with a distributor like Lightening Spark Ingram (LSI) or CreateSpace, now is the time to make sure that your print files, covers and ePubs are in the format required. They will be happy to print your ARC’s and ship them to you at a very reasonable cost.
Pro tip: While LSI will certainly list your book(s) on Amazon, your Amazon visibility will be improved if you are also using CreateSpace.
3 months prior to launch
Three months prior to a book launch, you or your publisher need to start scheduling book tours, running paid ad campaigns, and mailing out ARCs and swag. For example, at CDP we have a special bookmark created for each book with info about the book. We give our authors copies so that they can use them at book signings and other events. We have also started to put together teaching/discussion guides, and lists of praise. We also handle paid advertising campaigns, with respected trade periodicals like Publishers Weekly.
During this time, you can help create buzz by engaging with your existing followers/readers on social media. These people build your launch team. They are true gems and they will make your next launch phase possible. Begin sharing creative ties to the book on various social media platforms. These might be a link to the first chapter of your book and fancy graphics with quotes from the book.
One creative idea from one of our children’s authors is a four pack of bookmarks with illustrations of a character on the front (plus details about the book, of course) and on the back, a recipe from a dish described in the book.
A series of postcards with quotes from the book can also have a significant impact—they work particularly well on Instagram.
When posting these on social media, remember to include pre-order links in the description!
Now’s the time to run giveaways of Advance Reader Copies. This is a great way to not only generate early reviews, which will make it more enticing to new readers upon its release, but it can be structured to help build your mailing list!
Okay, it’s been a busy two months and we are still two months away from your release date. Next week, we cover those last two months right up to the night before your launch party.
Resources for finding the right book bloggers for your book
Top 100 Children’s Book Blogs and Websites for Parents, Teachers and Kids: This well-researched and current post gives a thumbnail of 100 different blogs and sites. Information included: Country of origin, a brief about blurb, how long the blog/website has been running, frequency of posts, related website (if it’s a blog) social media following.
The Book Blogger List: The purpose for this site is to help book bloggers find like-minded bloggers and authors to find book bloggers who might be interested in their work. It is easily searchable which is a definite plus. There are also a number of books available on the site relevant to book marketing.
The Indie View: This site was established in 2010. While you do have to register on the site, that gives you access to hundreds of active indie reviewers. The site also does its own reviews.
Book Review Directory: This site has 150 book reviewer bloggers listed, almost 10k followers and posts its own book reviews, too.