Don’t Leave Your Book Launch to Chance

Bootlicker: A dark secret threatens a historic election …

Remember the sweat you poured into your novel?

Launching your book will require lots more of the same.

Disregard this advice if you have thousands to spend on some PR firm that will handle promotion and marketing. If that’s you, stop reading now and go enjoy a nice margarita.

If not, shower up, pull on some fresh clothes, and fill the water bottle, because there’s work to do. That applies even if you do have part-time PR help, as I did this go-around.

Naturally the countdown to launch doesn’t begin until the novel is finished. So let’s assume you’ve absorbed a professional critique from someone who didn’t mind hurting your feelings, gone back in, and rearranged and rewritten until your book is polished and ready for public consumption.

Let’s also assume you’ve settled on the design for the front and back covers, and already have an author website and associated social media accounts. I’m most heavily invested in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Next steps we took for the Sept. 1 launch of my new novel, Bootlicker, included:

–      Posting a sample on Scribd.com, and then inviting readers to weigh in with comments that might be perfect for the first few pages of the final book.

–      Updating my fan map to include endorsements for the new novel. Use Google Maps to create your own (free) reader map.

–      Providing full advance reader copies to blogger reviewers and mainstream media outlets in hopes of winning positive reviews that can appear live on Amazon and Goodreads at launch.

–      Conceiving, creating and completing a two-minute video trailer. You can see the Bootlicker trailer here. This was a sizeable investment (about $2,000), but I see the trailer as a powerful introduction to prospective readers. You can achieve the objective for less, especially if your repertoire includes video skills.

–      Planting a flag at a reputable book industry trade show. My choice was Book Expo America in NY. Nothing in the Big Apple is cheap, and BEA was no exception. But my $2,500 investment yielded a number of dividends, including a free video interview, innumerable new contacts, and months of fresh content for my sites.

–      Building buzz by using Hootsuite to pre-program at least two tweets a day starting about a month out from launch. Example: Bootlicker: two men and the dark secret that will derail a historic election. Avail. 9/1 (with relevant hashtags)

–      Signing up for a virtual tour that landed me on 20-25 sites prior to and after the launch. See the Pinterest board for details.

–      Arranging as many signings, readings, interviews and guest posts as possible. Make sure to write on different topics to keep things interesting.

–      And last, planning a launch party, and arranging for photos from the event that I will post on my website.

Give thought to the guest list; it should include friends, local media and book clubs, those who reviewed your first novel, and of course the significant other who has stood with you throughout the crazy ride toward publication. That support deserves special praise and recognition.

If you’re in the Washington, D.C. Metro area this weekend, we’d love to see you this Saturday, Sept. 29, at Thrive Yoga in Rockville, MD., for a Happy Hour celebration starting at 5 p.m.

6 Comments so far »

  1. Stephen Woodfin said,

    Wrote on September 26, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    Steve, lots of good material here. Thanks for sharing. The longer I am in the book business, the more I understand how important planning is in regard to the launch.

    [Reply]

    Steve Piacente Reply:

    It’s the truth, Stephen. Finishing the book is maybe Mile 10 of the marathon!

    [Reply]

  2. Tracey Baptiste said,

    Wrote on September 27, 2012 @ 1:26 am

    This is all great information, even for those who have done it before.

    [Reply]

    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thanks for dropping by, Tracey. I learn more each time I go out, and am happy to share.

    [Reply]

  3. Sarah said,

    Wrote on October 9, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    The illustrations are wonderful, they evoke such emotion. Who is your illustrator?

    [Reply]

    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Hey, Sarah, thanks for coming by and the kind words! My man was Jon Haeffner, whose LinkedIn profile is here: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jon-haeffner/8/583/7bb

    [Reply]

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