18 Ideas for a Successful Book Launch

Author:
Publish date:

Whether you publish traditionally or independently, you will want to do as much as possible to help launch your book. Here are 18 things I found helpful in the launch of my debut picture book, A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, illustrated by Christina Forshay (Lee & Low Books):

1-2 Years Out

About the time you sign your contract (or when writing your book) is the time to connect with others.

1. Join a writing community. Finding your tribe means having people in your corner supporting your launch. My peeps are my critique group, members of the 12x12 picture book challenge, and friends I’ve met through the SCBWI.

syliva-liu-author-writer
a-morning-with-grandpa-book-cover

Column by Sylvia Liu, author of A MORNING WITH GRANDPA
(April 2016, Lee & Low Books), illustrated by Christina Forshay.
Sylvia is a children’s author and illustrator inspired by cephalopods,
aliens, penguins, kraken, and more. A MORNING WITH GRANDPA
was the Lee & Low 2013 New Voices Award winner. She lives in Virginia
Beach, VA, with her husband and two daughters. Visit her website
 and
her kid lit resource website
.

2. Develop an author platform. Reaching a broad audience will help increase your book’s visibility. Two and a half years ago, my friend Elaine Kiely Kearns and I started a kid lit resource website, kidlit411.com. Named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers, its success has deepened my connections with the kid lit community. Also helpful are an author website, blog, and social media presence.

3. Join forces with others. Debut authors can join groups like The Sweet Sixteens (2016 YA/MG debuts). My picture book debut group, On the Scene in 2016, allows us to cross-promote each other’s books. (2017 debut authors, check out The Swanky Seventeens for YA/MG and Picture the Books for PB).

4-6 Months Out

4. Coordinate with your publisher. Talk with your publisher’s marketing people to find out what they do for authors. Lee and Low promoted the book through their usual channels and supported our blog tour by providing images and sending out review/giveaway copies.

5. Work with your illustrator (or author) if you have a picture book. Christina Forshay and I shared blog tour tasks; she made bookmarks, stickers, and coloring pages; and we created a book trailer together.

6. Build buzz. As you see evidence that your book is a real thing, share your excitement by sharing the cover, online listings, and early reviews.

7. Create author profiles. Once your book is listed online, create author profiles on Amazon’s Author Central and sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing to connect with readers.

8. Develop a media kit. Create a Dropbox folder with profile photos, bios, cover, fact sheet, and review excerpts to share with others. Contact local media.

9. Organize a blog tour. Contact bloggers and offer to write guest posts, answer interview questions, and give away signed copies. Keep track of requests, to dos, and deadlines. Our tour included 15 stops in a 3-week period.

10. Contact bookstores for a launch party. Contact your local indie store and/or the community relations manager at your local Barnes & Noble. I ended up planning a launch party at my indie bookstore, Prince Books, and a story-time at Barnes & Noble.

Image placeholder title

Hook agents, editors and readers immediately.
Check out Les Edgerton's guide, HOOKED, to
learn about how your fiction can pull readers in.

2 Months Out

 11. Create a book trailer. The verdict is out whether a book trailer helps, but Christina and I thought one would be fun. The rough cut we commissioned was not what we envisioned, so we made a trailer ourselves. Christina learned to animate using Keynote and I put together the trailer in iMovie. We premiered our trailer on Scholastic Ambassador for Libraries Mr. Schu’s blog, Watch. Learn. Connect.

12. Write tour posts. Give yourself plenty of time to write blog content.

One Month Out

 13. Plan the launch party. Think about activities tied to your book. For example, my tai chi class did a demo. Send invitations. Create a Facebook event.

14. Notify friends and family. Reach out to your extended list of contacts to share your book news. If sending an email, bcc the recipients and only send in the spirit of sharing good news to avoid running afoul of email spam laws.

15. Run Goodreads and LibraryThing giveaways. These develop awareness and buzz.

16. Arrange for signed copies. Arrange with your indie bookstore to stock and sell signed copies, or send signed bookplates to those who buy your books. Some authors send goodies or other giveaways to those who preorder books.

1-2 Weeks Prior

17. Nail down launch party details. Bring Sharpies for signing books. Plan activities and refreshments. Practice what you’ll say. Bring your author copies in case the store sells out.

18. Promote your tour. Once your blog tour is up, support participating bloggers by replying to commenters and sharing the posts widely.

Launch Day

This is your day. Enjoy it!

Post Launch

Marketing your book doesn’t end at the launch. Pursue guest blogs, school visits, or events. Take advantage of travel plans. For example, when I went to D.C., a good friend offered to host a D.C. launch party and another friend organized a school visit. Do you have other suggestions for helping launch a book? Please share.

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers' Conferences:

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 3.39.23 PM

Your new complete and updated instructional guide
to finding an agent is finally here: The 2015 book
GET A LITERARY AGENT shares advice from more 
than 110 literary agents who share advice on querying, 
craft, the submission process, researching agents, and
much more. Filled with all the advice you'll ever need to
find an agent, this resource makes a great partner book to
the agent database, Guide to Literary Agents.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Batra&DeCandido_1:18

Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido: Entertainment and Outrage

Authors Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido explain how they came to co-write their novel and why it's important to them that the readers experience outrage while reading.

incite_vs_insight_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Incite vs. Insight (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use incite vs. insight with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Cleland_1:17

Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!

20_most_popular_writing_posts_of_2020_robert_lee_brewer

20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.

Malden_1:16

Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.

writing_mistakes_writers_make_talking_about_the_work_in_progress_robert_lee_brewer

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.

Kelly_1:15

Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.