A Book Launch Marketing Plan – Epic Guide Blog Post

Your book’s written, designed, and ready to print. You’ve worked really hard to write a book that will sell – but it’s not time to relax just yet! It’s time for your book launch marketing plan. What will you do before your book is purchased to generate buzz? How will readers know your book is available for sale when you launch? What will you do to sell books? You need your book launch marketing plan!

Your Book Launch Marketing Plan Elements

Pre-Sale Period

Pre-sale is that time between when your book is done and loaded up for sale and when people buy it and get copies. Readers can order the book but they can’t read it yet.

A pre-sale period isn’t just the time to sit back and wait for your book launch. If you want to have a big, rewarding launch, you need to build a foundation for success before your book hits the online bookstore shelves. There are a lot of potential action items for your book launch marketing plan that happen in the pre-sale period but much of it does depend on what your ultimate launch strategy is.

Your Book Launch Strategy Menu:

• The Amazon Bestseller .99 cent E-Book Launch

Who it’s right for: You have an existing audience of social media followers, newsletter subscribers or clients, that will support your initial launch push. Realistically, you’ll need at least 200 engaged folks to make this work.

What’s involved: The week of launch, your eBook is made available for $.99. Activating your book army and getting them to buy your book during the launch week is key. You will need to drive traffic to Amazon that week. The low price is an incentive enough to buy the book but you can offer additional incentives to purchase like being part of a private group session post launch. Follow up to get reviews post purchase are essential. E-Book will be sold through KDP.

Timing required: Minimum of 2 weeks pre-launch to put the pieces in place for this specific launch strategy, but no Book Launchers pre-launch activities will be complete with just 2 weeks (like media kit, book review pitches, and media pitches). We recommend 6 weeks in pre-sale to set up for success.

• The Maximum Momentum Launch

Who it’s right for: You have a network of social media connections, email newsletter subscribers, and colleagues that will send a message out to promote your launch week.

What’s involved: A launch week incentive package for anyone that buys 3+ copies of your book in print.

Requires:
a. website page with the incentives explained and a space for buyers to upload proof of purchase.
b. the incentives (online course, free consult calls, tools, event tickets, other books),
c. email copy,
d. network that wants to promote,
e. social media graphics and copy ready to go,
f. someone to manage incoming receipts and send incentive access (or automation set up to handle that)

Timing Required: Adequate time to make sure everything is right and ready for launch week – at least 6 weeks in pre-launch. We recommend 6-8 weeks in prelaunch to do this successfully and have Book Launchers complete their recommended prelaunch activities to support the launch (including media kit, book review pitches, media pitches, and consultative support for creation of the incentive package).

• The WSJ, USA TODAY, or Washington Post Bestseller Launch

Who it’s right for: You have at least 50,000 people on your newsletter list or HIGHLY engaged social media followers (usually requires >50,000 followers with high engagement) &/or you can get some bulk sales that can be funneled through the right services to secure the sales.

What’s involved:
a. Coordination of sales with multiple retail vendors that are not Amazon,
b. Target list of buyers – including corporate vendors – who will buy the book during pre-sale period.
c. launch week incentives (like the maximum momentum launch),
d. Recommend set up only via Ingram Spark for print book sales (KDP Print can be used but if this is your focus, Ingram is recommended for set up as many believe the reporting to be stronger).
e. everything involved with the Maximum Momentum Launch
f. Sales focus outside of Amazon. Amazon sales will be counted but can’t dominate your sales percentage. You need a lot of retail sales for this to succeed.

Timing Required: Requires at least 3 months in pre-sales to coordinate and organize (recommended 4 months in pre-sale plus expect additional costs for funneling the bulk book sales through the right retail channels). But, before you get all excited about becoming a bestseller of any kind, you really should watch this video:

• The Phased Momentum Building Launch

Who it’s right for: You are starting from scratch with a minimal audience and a small network of support

What’s involved: Managing expectations around launch so that you focus first on getting book reviews, then media and exposure, then pushing to find opportunities to sell books and leverage those sales into growing your audience and building your network. You will need:

a. a great author website with opt-in incentive and a clear strategy to grow your audience and leverage all media appearances and book exposure opportunities.
b. Creation of social media profiles and a steady stream of relevant content
c. Creation of a Book Army team to leave book reviews
d. Networking! Connecting and building relationships in your field to leverage new opportunities.
e. Book giveaways and eBook deals to find new readers

Timing Required: 4-6 weeks in prelaunch and then 6 – 12 months post launch.

Unless there’s a really good reason to get your book out right now – because it’s a timely subject that’s all over the media or on a subject occurring right now that won’t be relevant long-term – don’t rush your release! Depending on the goals of your book launch, your audience, and your book marketing, you should be spending a minimum of two weeks in pre-sale and a maximum of three months.

So, what should you do during this pre-sale period? Here’s some strategies for building your book launch marketing plan with an awesome pre-sale period:

First, confirm that Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters Indigo, Kobo, Apple, and any other retailers have your book listing set up correctly. Every retailer has its own schedule and process. Make sure the distribution is set up, pricing is right, and your book is where it should be – or your readers won’t be happy!

If cracking some top 100 bestseller sub-genres list will be a big win for you, devote more time to your pre-sale. The longer your book is available for pre-order, the more time you have to send readers to Amazon and other stores to buy books. If your readers are buying print copies, these pre-sale orders all add up and count as sales on your release date.

Encouraging a few folks to buy your book can also help prevent inventory shortages on launch day by telling Amazon to back that truck up and fill that warehouse. Nothing kills the launch day of your dreams like Amazon showing the “this temporarily out of stock” message to prospective readers! Titles that are in stock will be listed as available and will ship immediately – exactly what you want as the author!

Finally, your pre-launch period is a great time to sell copies to your early reviewers at a discount. This allowx your book army to buy your book for very cheap cost and when they post reviews on Amazon, they’ll be Amazon Verified reviews.

Your pre-sale is perfect time to get your book army matching in line to prepare for your book launch. Even a small but mighty army can have a massive impact on launch success!

What is a Book Army and What Role Does it Play in Your Book Launch Marketing Plan?

A book army consists of those super supportive and enthusiastic people in your direct audience that you can ask to purchase the book, leave reviews, and share about the book on their social media and email networks. Consider them a ready-made audience waiting for your orders to support the book!

One other tip: if you are pursuing bookstore distribution, you may want to leverage your book army to order from the bookstore chain you want to distribute your book and do an in store pickup. If you have enough people doing that, you’ll get the attention of the bookstore buyers and improve the odds of a bookstore listing!

Mobilize your book army with these six steps:

  1. Find the right folks for your army. Your book army needs to be filled with your ideal readers and massive fans of you and your work. Figure out and make a list of those biggest supporters. For my book, Self-Publish and Succeed, my book army was my YouTube Besties – folks who comment on my YouTube videos and are an important part of the YouTube community we’ve built.
  2. Once you complete your list, plan what you’ll ask of them and how you’re going to communicate. A newsletter system is a great option. We recommend Convert Kip, but there’s also MailChimp, Constant Contact, or a Weber. A private Facebook group or Slack channel might work great for you if you’re looking for more reader interaction and engagement. Most importantly, make sure you’re going to have a way to get their attention, share what’s next for your launch, and keep them excited and on task .
  3. Decide what’s going to be the number one priority for your army. We recommend asking them to buy the book early and write a review during launch week.
  4. Now that you know the who, how and what, reach out to the folks you’d like to join your book army and ask for their support.
  5. When they say yes, add them to your communication system figured out in step 2.
  6. Plan out your communications to your army. If you’re adding any incentives to the folks that support you early, you will have to remind them to follow through on reviews. Reach out individually if some readers aren’t following through! Fill them in on what’s happening after launch day.

So, you’ve figured out your pre-sale process, but what happens on your launch day? Launch day is a day for hustling and hoorays. You’ve gotten through the pre-sale launch, mobilized your book army, and the big day has arrived. Make it a huge success by making sure you do everything below!

Launch Day Action Plan for Your Book Launch Marketing Plan

Congratulations, your book is available for sale.

This should be a day of celebration. If you have a launch and aren’t feeling jubilation, watch this video about common Book Launch Day Blues.

But, ultimately, launch day is what you make of it so:

• Announce everywhere that you have an account that it’s launch day. Shout the news from the rooftops. Don’t be shy, this is a huge accomplishment. You’re helping people a lot with your book – and they need to know about it!

• Thank your followers. Ask them to purchase the book and leave reviews.

• Send reminders about your live appearances, signings, or whatever you’re planning for launch day and in the following days.

• Email to your launch team specifically. They should be ready to go with reviews and post them on Amazon today. Email your influencers, reminding any who agreed to promote that it’s time to send the news of your launch day to their audience.

• Repost any media or podcast appearances around the book with thank yous to everyone who supported you so far. Also, social media, if you run any giveaways or contests pre-launch, you need to announce the winners today. And update social media headers or your website headers to include your book image and where to buy.

• Double check your distribution again on launch day. Make sure your book is live on all distribution channels and pricing is correct. On your website, make sure links to buy are correct and add “Buy Now” buttons or copy. Update any copy to state that the book is on sale and available now.

• Finally, post any blog content promoting your book launch or topic. And of course, if you’ve booked some media appearances, show up and promote all your hard work!

Remember, book marketing is a marathon – not a sprint! A strong book launch is important, but you need to continue promoting your book for the entire year the book launches to achieve big results. Check out this video and plan for a year of awesome success!

You also may enjoy this guide to selling books during the holidays.