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. Most authors aren’t ready for their book launch, I know I wasn’t. When my first book was launched, there were many blunders. For one, Facebook changed the dimensions of their cover profile pics rendering the one I designed useless because you couldn’t see the title of my book. Also, I found a typo on the first page of my acknowledgement page because I didn’t have an editor look at that. Note to self: have an editor look at the acknowledgement page! Needless to say, I cut my teeth on that book. However, the experience taught me the importance of preparation. Now before I go on, let me briefly define a book pre-launch, because many get the pre-launch and actual the book launch confused. A book launch is the date, the book is made public, whereas a pre-launch is where a book is made available but not widely publicized.
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 book 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 a 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 well in advance 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. Sadly, most books in the publishing 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?
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