Pre-launches are a confusing issue for indies, many mistake pre-selling as pre-launching however a pre-launch is the issuing of a book for industry purposes and not necessarily for public consumption. Actually, a pre-launch is a powerful tool and can get the ball rolling when it comes to sales and reviews.   In fact, a pre-launch is a business plan for your book.  Simply clicking publish is not a pre-launch.  Many authors think that uploading their book to Amazon is the sum total of indie publishing when in fact, it’s only the beginning of the journey.  Today, I’ll lay out the basics in a pre-launch, and give a bucket list of things you should consider after you publish.

Elements of a Successful Pre-Launch

If this is your first book, it may take some experimentation and research to figure out where to put your time and money when it comes to promoting your book.  That means rolling up your sleeves and figuring out where your readers are. But there’s no need to despair, if you make a pre-launch list things shouldn’t get that overwhelming.  Here was the one I came up with:

• Query magazines, bloggers or podcasters about interviews
• Connect with Social Media Influencers
• Reach out to reviewers
• Schedule posts for your social media accounts and your blog
• Schedule advertising for major newsletters/ book sites
• Build up your email list.

Tip: The first thing you want to attack on your itinerary list is querying reviewers because you’ll need to give them plenty of time to read your book and write an intelligent review. That could take a few months especially, if we’re talking about a popular blogger.

Bonus Tip: The second thing you’ll need to do is to schedule a date for an ad before all the good dates are taken like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

If you’re thinking, geez this is a lot of work, you’d be right. A pre-launch is nothing to laugh at, it’s as time consuming and emotionally draining as writing a book. During your pre-launch you will essentially become a project manager and will have to make sure things are done on time and on budget. After all, you don’t wanna disappoint the boss (your readers) by delivering a sloppy product. If things become too overwhelming you may want to consider hiring some help to help ease the burden.

You’re Allowed to get it Wrong:  Launching and Relaunching

The cool thing about indie books is that they can be launch and relaunch sometimes, years later. This is something the traditionally published author can’t brag about.   Yes, some trade books are rereleased but only if they’re bestsellers.  However sadly, most books in the trade pub world are treated like fruit that will rot on store shelves.  Indie authors don’t have this concern.  If our books aren’t selling, we can take our work down, and change our manuscript, get a new cover or even change the title then, relaunch.  Now how many Big 5 authors can brag about that?

In fact, many self-published authors have given readers second and third editions of their books with multiple covers.  And from what I’ve been told, yes, people will buy the same book with a different cover. Weird huh?  Welcome to the publishing world!