29 July 2015

How to Plan a Successful Book Launch

And in this week's post I return to my usual subject matter...writing about, well everything to do with writing, publishing and marketing.

Every time I have a new book that's about to hit the shelves, my thoughts invariably steer me to the subject of ways to prepare for a book launch. Perhaps subconsciously I think of this post as my to-do list. But, at the very least it helps me organize my thoughts and hopefully spark some ideas for my fellow writers. If everything goes according to plan, my upcoming book, Living with Canine Epilepsy, will be published this November.

Here's a breakdown of my book release planning:

1. Brainstorm a marketing plan. Several months before the official book launch, I like to brainstorm a list of all the things I would like to do to market my new book. I try to include every idea, even if it's wild or crazy! I even include what others are doing to market their books, and whether it seems to work or not. Finally, once I have completed my long list of ideas, I try to narrow down what I hope to do; considerations like time and resources play a big part in this process. In the end, my list usually ends up being half a page long.

2. Plan how to handle Advance Reading Copies of your book. This time around I began this process nearly five months before the book release, but no later than two months. Every author whether traditionally published or indie should at least consider which reviewers or influencers to give an ARC to. I recently received a box of them, and as I already had a list on hand, I began the task of sending them out. I gave priority to those readers who've been helpful to me in the past.

3. Plan for a special launch day celebration. About three to four weeks before the book release, I begin to plan a book launch party. Unfortunately in my case those plans were never set into action for two of my books because life can sometimes put an end to even the best-laid plans with a not so pleasant life events. But my point is, we shouldn't just gloss over the actual event itself. It is, after all, a very special day for us and our book. There are some writers who call it a "book birthday." Birthdays deserve some sort of celebration, don't they? Keep your fingers crossed that this time around things turn out!

4. Plan other events to take place during the release month. Although I am already planning a launch day celebration, I also try to make a list of things to do throughout the rest of the month. The average midlist book has about a month on the "new release" bookshelf before newer books arrive and take over the spotlight. It is important to maximize that timeframe. There are numerous things we can do to promote all month long, without being too obnoxious:

- Update FB Page banner to include the new book.
- Update your website.
- Have a giveaway (Goodreads or otherwise).
- Have a blog tour.
- Write guest posts or interviews.
- Plan an event at a local venue such as a bookstore or library. In the case of my newest book, I hope to convince one of the local animal shelters to allow me to hold a book signing.
- Hold a social media sharing contest.  
- Send little mementoes of your new book, such as bookmarks or postcards to influencers to pass out in their circle of friends.
- Send out an author newsletter.

Those are just some of the things that I have done or seen during launch time; there are so many options to choose from. What have you done or seen for a book launch that you thought was helpful or unique?

Related Posts:

How to Ask for Book Endorsements

What is an Advance Reading Copy?

Piper is the author of military lifestyle books and RV travel journals. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+


  1. That's a good list, Piper. I have done many of them at launch time. One other includes: picking a relevant anniversary or special day for the launch, one relevant to the topic or theme of your book. This will encourage news editors to feature it. This worked for me on the launch of the World War II biography of my father, He had actually scooped news of the Japanese surrender from his broadcast outpost on Guam. This netted me a feature story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a TV appearance and radio interview on August 14 2005, the 60th anniversary of that event. My problem with each book is that, as an individual author without a staff, I find it difficult to do a good job on all of the items on your list. We must band together to get smarter and help each other! Good luck, Peter

  2. Thank you for adding to my list, Peter!