As a broke, green as the grass in mid-July first time author, I tackled the daunting assignment of launching a book like any other able-minded individual in North America.
I googled ‘book launch.’
In .02 seconds, reputable results-driven marketing and publicity firms jumped into my line of vision. These people surely could launch my book into the stratosphere!
But after some number crunching and a realistic talk with my husband about where hiring a publicist falls in the needs of a family of six (braces, soccer, therapy, FOOD), I conceded. We could not hire help for Sun Shine Down.
These days, whether we sign with a big publisher, a small press, or self-publish, we bear much of the responsibility for launching our own books. And it’s hard work.
If you, too, are a broke new author, here are seven no-nonsense book-launching tips:
1) Plan ahead
If you wait to plan your book launch until your book is out, you’re toast. Plan ahead. Start six months before you are to publish. Research, and consider elements of a book launch you will utilize.
2) Launch your book online
Social media is a marketing ocean. You’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram … Where do you spend your time online? How can you introduce your book in those venues? With Amazon stomping on the book industry, it is a mistake not to market online.
3) Launch your book offline
Is a book party right for you? I’m hosting a party at a bar down the street from my house. I’m doing it on a Monday (because the venue is free then), providing appetizers, and using evites and Facebook events to publicize. Extra tip: Don’t call your gathering a book signing. Call it a book party. Who doesn’t love a good party?
4) Don’t spam people to death with your book
Not everyone is excited to hear about your book all day every day. Post about your book (especially on your Author Fan Page–don’t have one? Um, get going), but don’t post several times a day. It just makes you look full of yourself. The trick is fun, cool content, and looking like you’re not trying that hard even when you are.
4) Create a Facebook launch team
In an effort to build buzz about Sun Shine Down, I invited Facebook friends to join a super secret launch group. I offered perks for joining ( a free PDF advanced copy of the memoir, a thank you on the blog, access to a secret group, and interaction with the author) and requirements (help promote for five weeks, post about the book on your blog, etc.). My secret group has been the highlight of promotion so far. Why? Because relationships are being strengthened and we are having fun! It is also a great way to ensure Amazon reviews once the book is published (make it a requirement). Read this post to see how I did it.
5) Get help!
OK, I know that I sound like I am contradicting myself. But next time (God willing), I will hire someone or ask a friend to assist with some promotion. I’m talking about someone to help with a couple time consuming tasks and who is affordable (as opposed to a publicist who would do everything and is expensive). I’m talking a flat rate per month to run a blog tour or help with the launch group. I’d like not to have that pressure, and I am finding out with this book that there are virtual assistants and others who could fit this description. *Note: I LOVE publicists, so If I get to that point in my career when I can hire one, I probably will.
6) Create a new email address to send out official book launch news
I simply created a new Gmail account with the name of my book and merged it with my current email account so that when I send out press releases and other book emails, it looks official (instead of the author sending them, which she is 🙂 ).
7) Set expectations low
This is my Eeyore personality coming out, but I suggest you set your expectations low. Then you’ll be pleasantly surprised when something remarkable happens. Not an Eeyore? More a Tigger? OK, then expect like crazy. We are all different. In my experience, though, the people I thought would help publicize and raise excitement about Sun Shine Down haven’t. I did have one or two wild cards, individuals I knew for a short time long ago who have become cheerleaders and promoters complete with pom- poms and cardboard signs.
Here’s to successful book launches, and to many more hours with our butts in chairs, getting books written so that we can, gasp, go through the nonsense of launching again and again!