The day has come–your book is complete. After months or even years of hard work writing and editing, your publishing and marketing team is working on getting your book ready for print. Behind the scenes, they’re coordinating distribution, capitalizing on PR opportunities, sending pitches to media outlets, and more.
Still, it can be difficult to wait for a launch date when you’re excited to get your book in the hands of appreciative readers, especially if that date is out of your immediate sight. If you have an existing network of friends, family, and professionals looking forward to reading it, then in fact you must take action in order to have a successful launch. After all, an author is their own best marketer.
But what can you do to drum up attention, publicity, and readership on your own before the release date arrives? More than you might think. The period before publication is crucial to creating a base of buyers in your book’s infancy, and as the brains and passion behind this operation, you can do that better than anyone. If you’re eagerly anticipating launch day, the best thing you can do is act like today is launch day.
Talk About Your Book
Once you’ve announced your book to your family, friends, and network, it’s important to keep it top of mind. They can’t buy or read your book if they don’t know when it’s coming. So don’t be shy about sharing—these people are your first fans and supporters!
Don’t know what to talk about? Here are some ideas:
- Talk about yourself! You’re an author now, and you have valuable insights to share.
- Share insight into your writing process. So many people have dreams of writing a book; give them a window into your creative journey.
- Speak about your publishing experience. This is often a total mystery to everyone outside the industry. Share what your journey has been like, what you’ve learned, and why you elected to work with a hybrid publisher like Ballast Books.
- Embrace your expertise on your book topic, particularly for nonfiction books. Address your experience in your chosen area and tease the tips you’ll be sharing in the book.
Get Active on Social Media
In today’s digital society, social media is the new “word of mouth.” Being active on social media is a great, and relatively affordable, way to get your work in front of new readers. There are a million platforms out there, all with different purposes, but we recommend using the platforms you’re currently on and most comfortable using. No need to reinvent the wheel here.
Not sure what to do on social media to reach new audiences? Here are a few ideas:
- Posting frequently on a public profile will help get you in front of new people. Use the ideas above to get started.
- Connect with other authors or professionals in your field. Share advice, swap reviews, or post about your excitement to read each other’s work.
- Build relationships with readers. Host a Q&A session on Instagram or Facebook Live where you can answer questions about your book itself or your experience publishing it.
If you’re an avid writer with a lot to share, you can use a platform like Medium or Substack to host your content and reach your existing and new audiences. Not a fan of emails or blogs? You can record video content for TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram Reels.
As your launch date creeps closer, giving readers reminders is more important than ever. Never feel like this is “annoying” your followers; they’re here for a reason. However, you can be creative about it to keep things interesting through repeated promotion. Here are a few ideas:
- Post quotes or snippets from your book to your social media accounts, using a platform like Canva to create simple and resharable graphics.
- Share books that are similar to yours, explaining why “if you liked this book, you’ll like mine.”
- Count down the time to launch in a memorable way. As an example, remind readers on Veterans Day that your military fiction book is twenty days from launching.
- Create a hashtag for your book so any future content made by readers or yourself is easily shareable on your social media.
- If you have physical copies of your book pre-launch, you can:
- Post an “unboxing” video when you receive them and highlight your excitement.
- Hand out copies for free at your office, bookstores, college campuses, and more.
Keeping your book in front of your audience in the time leading up to your book release is key to a successful launch. Provide pre-order links for the truly eager, and make sure your general audience has the date marked on their calendars.
Manage and Leverage Your Network
So many authors say, “I have a lot of family and friends that want to support me, but I’m not sure what to tell them.” There are three simple things that you should ask every single person in your network to do:
- Buy your book.
- Point your friends, family, and wider network to your book pre-order link as early as you’d like, and be sure to remind any stragglers when it launches.
- Leave a review.
- Encourage those who have purchased your book to leave reviews wherever they can. Amazon and Goodreads are great places to show that your book is well-loved by audiences.
- Share on social media.
- Have friends and family share your posts or create their own unique content featuring and promoting your book. Make sure they tag you and use any hashtags associated with the title!
Say you’ve got an industry connection or an influencer contact that could help you get the word out about your book. Take advantage of that to the best of your ability. Odds are, they’ll be happy to help. Identify the ways your book addresses topics that their own audience or network is interested in. Don’t be afraid to get creative in how they can help you.
- Have them introduce you to a prime connection who could further promote your book.
- Ask to speak at an event they are hosting or appear as a guest on their platform—whatever that may be!
- Gift them a copy of your book and ask if they’d mind sharing it with their audience.
Remember to work collaboratively with your connections so that there’s a mutual benefit for you and for them.
Make a Big Deal of It
Your launch day is arriving, and you’re ready for your hard work to pay off. Now what?
Celebrate! Writing and publishing a book is an enormous task that should have a real feeling of achievement. Reach out to your family and friends with a note of appreciation, reminding them to buy and leave a review if they haven’t yet. Keep the conversation and attention on your book launch as much as you can the entire week. That means post, post, post on social media. Your book is special and deserves to be lauded as such. The more people see it and remember it, the better impression it’ll leave, and the more they’ll be motivated to purchase.
A launch party is one way to take the celebration a little further, but you can do it in whatever way you choose. It is your book launch, after all! Go out to dinner with family and friends, host a virtual Q&A, or do a reading and signing event at a school, library, or local bookstore. Plan something that’s as big or as small as you’d like, but definitely do something special to mark the occasion. You’ve put a lot of yourself into this book and its promotion, so take a day to bask in it all.
Why Self-Promotion Matters
If your publisher offers book marketing services, you may feel like self-promotion is an unnecessary extra step for yourself, but in reality, it’s not an extra step at all; it’s a core necessity of the publishing process. You’re an expert in your work, and that expertise extends to maintaining and building your audience.
On Amazon especially, strong sales numbers in the first week of your book’s release, as well as positive reviews from purchasers, can help boost your book’s rankings and get it in front of new viewers. A little promotion goes a long way. The better your book performs initially, the better Amazon will carry it long term.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can stop promoting after launch. The content-sharing habits you’ve built leading up to your book’s release should become a natural part of your online presence. There will always be new readers, new connections, and new opportunities to share your work.
Publishing and Promoting Your Book With Ballast Books
Ballast Books is a supportive and experienced hybrid publishing company with in-house marketing services that can help you both launch your book and incorporate it into your existing professional brand. We offer marketing and PR with every publishing contract, with additional services you can select to help your book truly make a splash.
If you’re considering publishing a book, contact us online to schedule a consultation and hear about your options. We’ll be a true partner for you as we create a plan that makes the biggest impact possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I tell people about my book?
Whenever you want! Some authors will announce their upcoming book during the editing process and take their audience along the entire journey. Others will wait until they’ve finalized their book cover. It’s completely up to you.
Should I be pushing pre-orders?
Yes and no. Pre-orders are always positive, as they show that there’s real interest in your book, but since Amazon builds rankings in real time, it’s usually a better idea to invite people to buy on launch day instead. When you post reminders about that date, offer a pre-order link for those who choose to, but make the date itself the focal point of the post.
Where should my friends, family, and readers leave their reviews for my book?
We recommend Amazon or Goodreads for reviews, as these are the most widely used platforms for readers.
When should reviews be posted?
Your book must be released before readers can leave reviews on Amazon, while on Goodreads, they can be posted as soon as your book has a page on the platform. It’s a good idea to post reviews on those exact dates.
If I decide to host a launch party, does it have to be on the actual day of my launch?
Of course not. Plan the event for a week, a month, or even two months later. Your book will always exist, which means it can always be celebrated.