Where independent authors drop the ball, particularly fiction and children’s book authors, is with their book launch plan. The pre-release ramp up for their books. It’s the one thing that has the potential to make or break a book and it’s the most neglected part of the publishing and release cycle for independent authors.
I think it largely stems back to fiction and children’s book authors being creatives first and foremost, not acquainted in the art of business 101.
And publishing is a business.
A pre-release strategy is more often understood and executed by many nonfiction authors who by and large, use books to add fuel to their business fire.
The lack of a pre-launch plan is why some authors spin their wheels round and round a couple of months after their book is released. Ultimately the book doesn’t get the fuel it needs to launch into outer-space.
I wrote an article covering what authors can learn from Tim Ferris’ pre-launch of his book The Four Hour Chef. TIm is an author who knows the power and importance of a pre-launch strategy. It’s one reason he’s managed all three books to become best sellers.
Not by fluke. He engineered them to be successful.
Yes he now has a platform, but he didn’t have the platform he does today for the pre-launch of his first book. He created a website first and established a home base, something that many authors still don’t do and is an after thought.
So without a platform for his first book, what did Tim do?
He positioned himself in front of other people’s audiences.
Having a well thought out author website allowed him to capture the names and emails of his subscribers so he can maintain contact after the release.
This planning needs to be done months (not days!) prior to a book’s release.
There’s many other authors who’ve done this, but Tim’s as good an example as any.
What can fiction and children’s book authors do then?
Put a similar amount of thought into your pre-launch. Let’s cover these with the initial objections many authors have.
- I don’t have a website yet: Get one. It’s practically free to setup a proper WordPress website and setup an email capture form. Check out this post of why I love WordPress for author websites. There’s no excuse today to not have a website
- I don’t have a huge platform yet: That’s ok, do what Tim did and get in front of the audience of others instead
- I don’t know how to get in front of others: Get early reviewers, have a blog tour with reviewers and book bloggers for your genre, getting directly in front of readers, enlist book clubs, promote to libraries. The best way to do this is to start connecting and building a relationship with these people. Is there something you can do for them first? Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook, let them know who you are before you email a pitch
To add to your book launch plan, maximise your pre-launch effort by using Amazon. It has categories, ranking algorithms and KDP Select. Use them, but use them strategically as part of your overall launch plan. Don’t just do it because someone on Facebook told you it was a good idea!
(Note: Those who published with a vanity publisher will find it difficult, if not impossible to have the flexibility of optimising Amazon product listings to maximise a book launch plan)
Then make sure you’re building an email list on your website to capture your readers to keep them close, offering free stuff you provide on your website and news about your next book you can tell them about upon release. This email list will become your greatest weapon in your future marketing arsenal.
Then get busy working on your next book.
Be the captain of your own ship.