What is a Book Launch?

Whether you call it a Book Launch or a Book Release, this is the date when your book is officially made available to the public. “Release” is the word used to describe the day the general public is capable of purchasing your book, whereas “Launch” refers more specifically to describe the event of this release, an event that you make possible through extensive promotion in order to metaphorically “launch” your book up in popularity like a rocket into space. A successful launch will hopefully skyrocket your book’s success from the get-go, whereas a poorly planned launch more often than not leaves your book with scant (if any) sales.

So how do you make your launch a success?

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

This fact has probably been drilled into you over and over again, but reviews are indeed the most crucial thing to an author’s success. 93% of people read and rely on customer reviews before making a purchase, and 58% of people are more than willing to pay for goods that have many positive reviews. 92% of people will hesitate before buying an item with no customer reviews. When you first release your book, it has none.

Because of this, you must reinforce the importance of reviews every chance you get—in social media posts, in newsletters, during in-person sales, in comments on your ads, etc. Before you get to that point, though, you must get your first reviews. How to do this? If you’ve just released the book and it has no reviews, how will people be willing to buy it?

Simple: through ARC reading sites, free samples, and your Launch Team.

Related Article: What is an ARC Reader?

To prepare for your book launch, you must first have the book completely ready. It must be fully edited, designed, and proofread before being sent out to ARC readers, as their opinions will be the ones your first official customers will rely on. Be prepared for giving away a lot of free books in exchange for honest reviews. You can sign up for author accounts on ARC reading sites like NetGalley, BookSirens, BookSprout, and more—some require you to pay for an account, so you must have the funds available. You can also contact professional book reviewers through social media sites like Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook. It never hurts to ask for a review.

However, avoid sites that exchange review for review, and avoid anyone who may bring up red flags on the site you choose for publication. It is illegal to pay for reviews. Reviews that are too familiar, or from a family member, will also cause problems.

Finally, your launch team should provide reviews for your book launch. Building a launch team is a vital part of being successful, whether you call it a launch team or not. They will act as ARC readers, but also help you market and promote your book by sharing information through word of mouth and on their social media.

Related Article: Preparing for Your Book Launch – COMING SOON

Sign Up for or Create an Event for Your Launch

Most authors are recluses or introverts, so this is difficult for many of them to accept, but to be successful, you need to socialize. Train yourself to jump on any chance to get your book out there—signings at bookstores, farmers’ markets, festivals, and more. Get yourself a booth, bring your books and other merchandise (like bookmarks) and interact with fans. Draw in new people.

Set a date for your Launch or set it up to fall on one such event, and promote, promote, promote leading up to it. Invite people to come to the event and bring friends or colleagues who would enjoy your book. Talk to people who stop by, tell them about your book and/or your writing journey. A lot of people are more willing to buy a book directly from the author if they’re interested or if they know someone who might enjoy it; they love supporting artists. If they buy a book, be thankful and remind them to leave a review to help others discover your book.

Author Website and Newsletter

Another big thing to have is a website where fans can look up you and your books. You can use free website builders or pay for a business account, but make sure your website is clean and easy to navigate.

Related article: Setting Up an Author Website

Sign up for a service like Mailerlite or Mailchimp to begin building a mailing list to keep your fans in the know. These services help filter emails and by auto-generating a welcome email for your subscribers. However, don’t bombard them with promotion right away. To get people interested, offer them free samples. If you have related short stories or chapter samples, send those. After a few emails, you can provide a link to your work—they’ll be far more likely to make a purchase!

A Successful Launch

It’s hard to measure a successful launch, but getting any sales is good news. A reasonable goal is to have 10 to 30 reviews on your book within the first few weeks from your team and your ARC readers, just to get your book off the ground.

Take a break the day directly after your launch but remember to keep advertising your book afterwards as well; keep up the momentum that you built in the days leading up to it. This break releases a bit of tension—people will notice the lack and are likely to be more receptive to further promotion (like how a blinker is more effective than a solid light).

Remember that your goal is to get the book to the right readers, not to tailor your book to everyone. In order to be successful, you must be focused. You must be able to find those people who will enjoy your book best and inform them of your work. (If you’ve written a teen supernatural romance, you’re not going to go advertising it to senior citizens.)

Most importantly, keep in mind that a first book is almost always going to result in a net loss. You’re also always going to get a few bad reviews. Don’t fret. Don’t take it to heart. Keep your eyes on your goal and keep moving forward. Take perceived failures and turn them into learning opportunities. Keep going. You can do it.

Related Articles:
What is an ARC Reader?
What is a Book Reviewer?
Navigating the World of Self-Publishing
Setting Up an Author Website

One response to “What is a Book Launch?”

  1. Wow, Caroline, so much great info. Thankyou.

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