It’s finally here. The day you have dreamed about for months, maybe even for years. A carton—or two, or three, or six—arrives on your doorstep, and your book is here.
Now, what are you going to do with it? You want to go right out and start selling it. Instead, plan to have your books arrive at least a month before the official launch date. That will give you time to take care of all the final details for your launch events, as well as send out advance copies to reviewers and make sure all the details have been taken care of. I’ve been through plenty of book launches where I watched the author sweat it out waiting for the books to arrive the day before the book launch. Believe me, it’s no fun.
Let’s start by going back over the basics. I hope you’ve already handled most of these items several weeks, if not months, before your book arrives, but if not, now is the time to take care of them.
Where Can People Buy Your Book?
Is your book listed on a variety of bookselling websites such as barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, and booksamillion.com?
- Maximize your Amazon listing with an Author Page.
- Have your book listed on Amazon before the date the book will be shipped; it’s another way people can pre-order it.
- Write a basic press release about your book. Once you have your first press release, it can then be edited slightly for different media and different events.
Send Out Review Copies
I know that you want to start making money on your book right away, but some of the first copies of your book are going to be given away, not sold. Look over the media list you created and decide to whom you should send a full media kit, to whom you will send a copy of the book for review, and who just needs a simple press release.
Send out advanced reader copies to your friends, family, and fans. Ask them specifically to review the book on Amazon, Google Books, Goodreads, and other websites.
Host an Event—or Three
Book signings, book launch parties, seminars, and workshops—in person or online—are essential events. Use them all to promote your book in the first few months after it is published. You have just accomplished something fantastic, so celebrate. Some events, such as a launch party where you are footing the bill, can be by invitation only—everyone’s budget is limited, after all.
Being invitation only doesn’t mean that you should only invite family and close friends. Invite business colleagues, referral partners, and, of course, anyone who helped you with your book such as the editor or graphic artist. Plan to sell your book during the event. Have a table set up to display the book and accept sales; designate someone to take the money and hand out the book while you as the author act as host, network, give a short speech or reading from your book, and sign copies. Even if the event is private, invite the press, and also send a follow-up press release and photos of the event to local media.
If you are hosting a public event, such as a book signing at a local store, a seminar, or a workshop, make sure you send out as many flyers, press releases, email invitations, or other types of advertising as you can to attract a large crowd.
The great thing about an event is you never know who you will meet or reconnect with—even if, or possibly especially if, it is your own event and you have set the guest list. After all, everyone who attends your book signing or launch party presumably has come to meet you. You may not have a chance to spend as much time as you like with every guest, so have a guest book at the launch to make sure you get names and contact information for everyone who attends.
Follow up with written notes thanking everyone who helped make your event a success. Don’t forget to post some photos of the event on your Facebook page, your website, and other social media, and tag the photos with the names of the people in them. People love to look at pictures of themselves and their friends. It is one more way to bring people to your website and keep you and your book in front of your audience.
Radio, Podcasts, and Television Interviews
Radio and podcast hosts love to interview authors. There are literally thousands of radio shows on the air and online, and many run two to three hours, five nights a week—that’s a lot of airtime to fill. Just as with book reviews, you can find radio shows to fit almost any niche market you can think of, and it is often the best way for beginners on the speaking circuit to gain name recognition outside their local area.
YouTube interviews are becoming more and more common. Again, the beauty of these types of interviews is that they live pretty much forever on the Internet. Make sure that you ask if you can have a copy of the file so that you can put it on your own YouTube channel. That way you know that the interview will continue to be easily available for you to share.
No matter if your video interview is being recorded in a television studio or from your home through Zoom or another recording app, make sure that you are dressed appropriately (nope, this is not one you can do in your pajamas). If you are being interviewed via the Internet, you may be more likely to take less care in your appearance and be less aware of how to make sure that your background and the quality of your sound are excellent.