You’ve written a great book and someone wants to publish it. You take a deep breath and sigh. You can relax now. The hard work is done.
Wrong. The hard work is just beginning.
Both Patricia Santos Marcantonio and I have books releasing this fall. My book Waiting is scheduled for release by Booktrope in September. Pat’s book, The Ghost Sisters and the Girl in Hallway B, is also scheduled for release by Sunbury Press. Any given day you can watch us scurry, like the busy squirrels outside, as we get ready to launch our books.
Countless times we’ve been asked which is better, to self-publish or to go with traditional publishers? Over the years we’ve learned it doesn’t matter. Regardless of how our books are published, the work we, the authors, have to do to launch a book is the same. We’ve also learned it’s good to start early, before the book is released. Once the book is released is often too late.
Here are only some of the things we have to do to launch our books.
1) Build an online presence. In addition to social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) create author pages at Amazon and Goodreads. There are also other sites like Shelfari and Smashwords. Every day more opportunities arise for social promotion and it’s up to the author to make sure this happens (unless you’re lucky enough to have a publicist willing to do this for you).
2) Have a website, a blog, and update it regularly.
3) Have a public email address where your fans can reach you.
4) Your publisher may ask for back cover blurbs. Have some ready. Ask readers/fans you respect and admire, preferably someone who writes in the same genre, and be willing to reciprocate.
5) Ask for reviews and be willing to give one in exchange. Remember to say something nice about the book, even if it is only that you like the title or the cover.
6) Make a budget and stick to it.
7) Build a mailing list and an email list.
8) Make sure your media/press kit is up to date with current pictures and information. Spend time writing an interesting bio.
9) Design and order swag, something like bookmarks or postcards you can sign and handout at book signings and events.
10) Schedule giveaways and perhaps a Facebook launch party.
11) Seek out book clubs. Offer to attend through Skype. If you haven’t done so, develop a reading guide list of questions.
12) If you don’t have a publicist, prepare press releases and contact the media.
13) Determine whether or not to promote your book with ads. Is there money in your budget?
14) Schedule blog posts, blog tours, and guest posts. Be sure to reciprocate.
15) Schedule book signings.
These are only some of the things you need to consider before you launch your book; there are countless more suggestions online. Make some time now, before your book releases, to develop a plan and then try to stick to it. Take a deep breath and try to stay calm as you plan your book launch. But most of all, remember to smile, and enjoy the journey. Then kick off your shoes and celebrate, you’ve earned a nice reward.