Author Michelle Hauck, who is releasing her first book, Kindar’s Cure, on May 1st (2013) asked me to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned launching a book over on her blog, It’s In the Details. I had so many things pop to mind—many of which authors don’t (or won’t) warn you about—that Michelle and I decided to break my list into two posts. The first half of this list is on Michelle’s blog today and are all-round tips that can benefit both traditionally and independently (self-published) authors. Part 2 of the book launch tips for authors is posted here and are tips that are generally better-suited for indie authors than traditionally published authors. However, both lists can benefit all authors, so be sure to check out both parts. Skim if you have to–you never know when you’ll come across that gem that will save the day!
Hold onto your hats! Here we go.
Book Launch Tips for Authors (and Other Pre-Launch Book Tips as Well)
1. Editors are all different. If you are independently hiring someone, make sure you know what you are paying for in advance. Ask for a sample before you get an edit. Sometimes what you think is a line-by-line edit may actually be a plot report! And sometimes personalities just. don’t. mesh.
2. Find fabulous critique partners who will give you the lowdown in a way that won’t break your spirit and who don’t mind rereading your story as needed. Also be sure they enjoy reading in your genre.
3. Plan to be home and have a little free time (and Internet!) when your book launches. Lots of surprisingly little details have a way of appearing and sucking back minutes you had planned to use in a different (and often more fun) way.
4. Use affiliate links. Some folks don’t care for affiliate links so it is best to mention if you are using them. I’m using them in this post for my Amazon and Smashwords links.
5. Do a soft launch for your book. Unexpected things around launch pop up. Have the huge book launch fanfare about a month after your book is out—when you have caught your breath and have your book properly distributed.
6. Put a preview for your next story in the back of your book. Hook your reader!
7. Add a mailing list sign up link in your book, links to other books you have available, as well as website and social media contact info so readers can stay connected–don’t lose them between books.
8. Hire a great cover artist. A cover is the first impression a reader makes with your book. It tells them about the quality of your book, the kind of book it is, and even how current it is. A cover can make or break your book. I would say this can be even more important than an editor because they have to pick up the book before they can even read the first page. (Not saying an editor isn’t important–they are VITAL!)
9. Spend money where it counts. A good editor and a good cover. This is your best advertising money expenditure. Good products sell themselves. (To an extent.) Don’t worry about a glitzy book trailer and high-end swag if you haven’t shelled out for a decent editor. First things first.
10. Use keywords. In your title, in your description, etc. Let your book be found! There is a reason my book’s full title is Champagne and Lemon Drops: A Blueberry Springs Chick Lit Contemporary Romance. 😉
11. Free. Holy cow. You want visibility? Put something out for free. On Amazon. And let people know it is free. (Again, this is where a great cover helps catch the eye of new readers.) I know you worked hard on your writing and it hurts to give it away sometimes, but think of it this way: You are in a grocery store. You see a huge sign (expensive advertisement) for a product and then you see where you can actually sample it and put it in your mouth. Which wins you over? Your eyes or your mouth?
12. Write your book description ahead of time. Short and long versions. As in months ahead of time so you can let them percolate. (Some authors find writing the description BEFORE they write their book helps them stay focused while writing and provides them with a better book!)
13. Create accounts on the book vendor sites you plan to work with to distribute your book and read their terms of service ahead of time. Set up everything so when it is time to publish your book you aren’t reading pages of fine print (and skipping over where you grant Google Play permission to do a credit check on you) and taking forever to get it out there and waiting to have your accounts approved when all you want to do is get your book out.
14. Work your tush off. Work hard. Give up TV if you have to. There is a lot of competition out there and publishing in any form is not for the faint at heart. But whatever you do, don’t give up. Change your game plan, change your book cover, give the story another polish if you have to, just don’t give up. You can do it!
15. Go read part 1 on Michelle Hauck’s blog and don’t forget to leave a comment!
Do you have tips to share? Tell us about it in the comment section. Thanks for reading!
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