THE 5-MONTHS BOOK LAUNCH PLAN
This post should really be titled "The 6-months book launch plan," but today is September 6th (as I'm writing this), and I'm already one month late for TUBE launch on February 6th, 2018. Five months is not quite enough, and to blow your mind even more, it's a good idea to start promoting your upcoming book a year before the launch date (or, even better, the moment you start writing it—yes, you read that right). Alas, I don't have that time, so I'll squeeze it into five months and will make it happen even if I bleed out of my nose. (Once I set my mind to something, I don't give up until it's done. Stubborn to death.)
Before you read any further, know that I haven't properly launched a single book of mine, so this will be my first time. An experiment to learn from. A concoction of ideas and tips and tricks gathered from all over the sparkling internets, mixed up with my brains, and dumped here. I have heavily borrowed from:
It's on my to-do list to write a launch plan for TUBE, so this post will be it. I'll be coming back to it to check off my to-dos and remember what I still need to complete. Bookmark it for yourself, to use it in the future too. (Scan the bolded parts for a faster read.)
5 MONTHS BEFORE PUBLICATION
1. Update your author presence EVERYWHERE. That means, your author photo, your bio, etc. On Amazon, on Goodreads, on your social media channels. Make sure it all matches. (No different pics in different places. No different bios. Make it all consistent.)
2. Update your website. Re-brand it, if you need to (I'm doing it). Make sure all the information is up-to-date: your books, your contact page, etc. Is it easy for your readers to buy your books on your site? Test it. Can they find your book quickly? Test it. Ask your friends who have never been to your site to play with it. Big companies pay big money for this. Give them a free book as your thanks (and potentially earn a new loyal reader).
3. Update and/or create book-specific pages online. For me it will be my new author Facebook page. Yes, this is big news. It's coming. We're working on it (well, my minions are—I only whip them on bare bottoms with stinging nettles to make them move faster).
4. Set up a CRM system to capture all new reader contact information. If you're new to CRM, train yourself to use it. Check out Batchbook (I use it, and it's awesome, perfect for small businesses) and ActiveCampaign (I haven't used it, but I heard great things about it—seems it's geared toward bigger business with bigger budgets and teams).
5. Budget for giveaways. I'm not a numbers person either, so don't moan. I made myself learn Quickbooks (took me a week) and Mint, and I have set up budgets for giveaways so I don't blow my cashflow and have to sell my kidneys. How many copies will you give away? How many will you sell? Basically, how large will your first printing be?
6. Update email-gathering tools. Building your newsletter list is your task number one. So make a pop-up on your site (I already did that with Sumo) and make it for people easy to find the link to your newsletter. Better yet, have the whole landing page one big CTA (Call To Action) and one place to put in their name to subscribe to your glorious news. And yes, I'm working on it. Not quite there yet.
7. Finalize cover design (if you haven't already). We're changing TUBE cover, so that's why it's on my task list. Also, we'll be adding select beta reader quotes on the back cover, so if you haven't sent me your feedback yet, HURRY. You might just make it.
8. Make your book available for pre-order EVERYWHERE (your site, Amazon, Goodreads so people can add it to their bookshelves, etc.). TUBE was on my site on pre-order for over two years (takes me seconds to do it), but I haven't put it up on Amazon because the cover wasn't final. See the bottleneck here? Make sure you don't repeat my mistake.
9. Hire interns. You will need help with this. So write up job descriptions and hire folks to help you. Either for cash or, preferably, in exchange for your teaching/mentoring time (put a dollar value on your time, and make sure you're giving a fair barter to those whom you hire).
10. Design print materials. You'll need these to give away together with your books. Bookmarks (my case). Business cards (with your book cover). Post cards. Thank You cards (to send to beta readers and bloggers/reviewers/anyone who helps you launch). Stamps. Decide what your list of materials will be, but do it NOW.
4 MONTHS BEFORE PUBLICATION