Monday, August 8, 2016

Preparing For a Book Launch -- A Checklist

My new book, A BRIT ON THE SIDE, releases a week from today! Cue all of the flails -- and the to-do list! Here's a peek at mine:

1.  Create final-final version of e-book. I use Vellum to create my e-book files, which is SUPER easy. No coding or fiddling involved, and it even reminds you to include your "Also By" pages in the back of the book.

2.  Proofread final-final version of e-book. Again. For the 1,437th time. Just to make sure nothing's gone wrong in the file conversion.

3.  Upload to retailers. I upload to KDP directly and use Draft2Digital for the rest. Some vendors take longer than others (looking at you, iBooks), which needs to be taken into account when uploading files. Hint: uploading files on a Friday for a Monday release is NOT enough time for the book to be live on all vendors. I'm NOT doing a pre-order for my upcoming release, so this timing is key for me.

4.  Update author website with buy links. In theory, you've already updated your author website with the cover, Goodreads link, blurb and teasers, so all that's left to do is add those all-important vendor links.

5.  Create teasers. I'm not sure if this is a thing in genres outside of romance, but #TeaserTuesday is a BIG thing. Teasers start at least six weeks prior to release, but the week before calls for a flurry of teasers. Again, in theory you can create these anytime but if you're like me you're squeezing them in amongst everything else.

6.  Experiment with graphics for Facebook ads. I'm a big fan of Facebook ads and now Facebook has a new ad option called "Brand Awareness," which is a relatively low-cost way to experiment with graphics for ads before you're paying big bucks for clicks. I say relative because, well, even $3/day adds up. Basically, Brand Awareness delivers your ad to your target audience and you pay per estimated ad recall lift (EARL). You can read more about EARL here. Brand Awareness is a new advertising option on FB and I'm using it for the first time now, so I'll report back post-launch and let you know if I thought it had any impact.

7.  Create graphics and copy for launch-day Facebook ads. There's a lot of debate about direct-to-retailer links in ads vs ads leading potential buyers to your webpage, which then has all retailer links. My own practice is to go direct to Amazon and include links to other retailers in the ad copy. I've already tested my graphics (see #6 above), so now all I've got to do is wait for my retailer links and set my budget.

8.  Make a list of additional advertising venues. Books cannot be sold via Facebook alone and having a list of quality sites for advertising is key. This again requires buy links, but doing the research gets you more than half-way there.

9.  Create a release-day launch kit. Assume friends/bloggers/your weird Aunt Sally will want to share the news of your release. Better to have a bit of input into that, yes? I suggest creating a document to have at the ready that includes: your book cover, blurb, link to Goodreads, link to retailers, a few early review quotes.

10.  Reach out to blogger/author friends to gently remind them of your upcoming release. If you've had author friends blurb your book, offer them last-minute ARCs for their reader groups. If a blogger loved your book, offer ARCs for a giveaway. If you're active in a FB reader group, reach out to the owner of the group and ask if you can publicize in the group on release day. I HATE asking, but I've learned that it's definitely not the worst thing and often your offer is met with a "Yay! I don't have to plan a post today" sigh of relief.

11.  Draft email to send to ARC reviewers thanking them for advance reviews and asking them to post on retail sites. Goodreads reviews are fab, but let's face it -- we al want reviews on the 'Zon. Include retailer links to make this as easy as possible.

12.  Plan a celebration. In my opinion, the WORST thing to do on release day is to sit alone with your computer and continually check rankings and reviews. Much better to plan lunch/dinner/drinks with family or friends. Even better -- plan all three! You've just published a book and if that's not cause for celebration, I don't know what is!

In the name of shameless self-promotion, I've got my favorite teaser from  A BRIT ON THE SIDE to share with you! I've also got an ARC  to give away to one lucky blog reader. Just comment on this post and I'll pick a winner later this week. 


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

This is awesome.

Steve Vernon said...

I'm going to tweet this out. It's a solid blog entry and offers a lot of good ideas for ANYONE trying to build their own book launch. The book sounds like a really funny read, as well.

Brenda St John Brown said...

Thanks! It's a little daunting, to be honest. I just have to remind myself I've done a lot of this already.

Brenda St John Brown said...

Thanks so much!

Carrie Beckort said...

Great list, Brenda! And I can't wait to read A Brit on the Side!

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