We talked about all kinds of things related to book launches on the Communicator Academy podcast, didn’t we? But now you’re probably wondering, “Why have a book launch?” Or “How does a book launch work?” Or maybe you’re thinking, “I wrote the book. Let my publisher launch it.”

So let’s get to the basics.

Why have a book launch?

Think about it from your readers’ perspective. When you want to read a new book, do you spend countless hours browsing in Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon? Nope. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Most of us hop on Facebook and ask: “Need some new books to read. What are your recommendations?” Or maybe you see friends sharing what they’re reading on Instagram. Or you might read a favorite author’s email about their newest book, or other books they recommend.

So how can you create a buzz so your book is being talked about before it’s even released? A book launch.

How do book launches work?

There’s no cookie cutter approach to book launches. Your plan and strategies should be customized to your goals, your target audience, your message and branding, and your budget. I especially love how Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory honored the message in their Overwhelmed book through their launch. Marketing really does start in the writing phase. Read about it here

Heres a sample timeline for basic launch activities.

Four months prior to release date (or earlier)

Talk to your publisher about your launch plan.

It’s very important to communicate who will do (and pay for) what, including the basic launch team activities here as well as any media interviews and blog tours. Your publisher has launch to-do’s only they can do, just like you have launch to-do’s only you can do. Remember the “Marketing and Promotion” section of your book proposal a year or two ago? Here’s where those collaborative strategies pay off.

Three months prior to release date (or sooner)

Create custom shareable content from your book. These are images that you will use on your landing page and social media profiles, and for your launch team to easily share about your book. Additional content might include email list lead magnets, influencer gifts, and preorder bonuses. But those are topics for another day.

Two months prior to release date (or sooner)

Create a Book Landing Page. This is one page where anyone who hears about your book can go to find out more. Include:

  • a brief description of your book
  • endorsements
  • links to purchase
  • a short bio and links to connect with you
  • custom shareable content
  • a free chapter
  • your book trailer (if available)

Kathi and Michele both have beautiful examples of book pages.

Six weeks prior to release date (or sooner)

Recruit a Launch Team. Think of this team as your pep squad. It’s anyone eager to cheer you on and help you get the word out about your book (your readers, your family, your friends). The size of your team will most likely depend on how many physical copies of your book your publisher will send out. The quantity isn’t as important as quality. You want a team more excited about sharing your message than getting a free book. A sample application for your team is here.

Four weeks prior to release date (or sooner)

Lead Your Launch Team in Sharing. The amount of time a launch team serves together varies. Typically there’s a 4-6 week timeframe with the release date in the middle allowing time for your team to share pre and post-launch activities.

  • Set up a Facebook group for your team to interact in and create a daily plan to follow.
  • Encourage them to read your book and give you feedback. Make it as easy as possible to tell their family and friends about it, and to post your shareable content on social media.
  • Highlight any media interviews and guest blog posts so they can share those too.
  • Ask them to write early reviews on Goodreads and release date reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
  • In return, give back to them. Give them an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what launching a book is like for an author. Be respectful of their time and thank them personally for doing what they can. Cheer them on and have lots of fun!
  • If you treat your launch team well, they will remain on your pep squad long after your launch.

Two weeks after release date (or sooner)

Wrap up the launch team. Let them know what to expect next. Some authors leave their Facebook groups open for a while longer to post additional promotions. Others close it and encourage further interaction on their author’s Facebook page.

So, what next?

A book launch is the “start” of your marketing plan. You’re creating quite a buzz but it doesn’t stop there. Continue to build your platform, apply what you learn here at Communicator Academy, and you’ll reach even more readers in need of your God-given message.

book launchesKim Stewart is a Social Media and Book Launch Manager.  Combining her administrative and strategic strengths, her marketing experience, and her love of books, she helps authors share their God-given messages. She resides in Dallas with her husband, two teenage boys and their three-year old yellow lab. At home you’ll find her reading, indulging on coffee & caramel, and binge-watching Netflix … Anything to avoid her domestic duties. Connect with her at kimstewartva.com.

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