Publishing Your Book: Preparing for Launch

GOOOOD MORNIN! How are you doing? How are you feeling? I hope good! I am feeling good! Let’s all just feel FREAKIN great alright? Let’s make it a good week.

So, some of you are aware that my newest novel, Vengeance Before Virtue, went live yesterday! It is a very exciting time! Two novels published in six months and I have AT LEAST one more that will be released before the end of the year!

If you haven’t yet gotten your copy of my new book, you can do so HERE. Also, if you weren’t aware, this book is a sequel! It is the follow up to my first novel, Love Before Law. If you haven’t read that book yet, I would recommend starting with that one and you can do so HERE.

Alright, I am done promoting my own damn work now!

In the spirit of book launches, I have decided my topic for today will be on that very subject! Those of you who are visiting, you may already have some experience with this, but then again you may be an aspiring author who does not have experience yet.

So, the day is here. Finally. Days, weeks, months, or years of writing, editing, revising and rewriting have brought you here. To launch day. The day when the world will receive your work at last.

It is a very exciting time, but it is a time that can cause some nerves or anxiety. Will people like it? Will they hate it? Will they EVEN FREAKIN READ IT? These thoughts are pulsing through your mind at a mile a minute.

Hey, relax. Chill out. It is going to be alright and people are going to read it! So, get jacked up!

That being said there are things that are required of you to make it happen. Mom and Dad are going to read it regardless, but in order to get the rest of the world to put their hands on it, it requires some work.

This may come as a surprise, but most of that work is done BEFORE the book is launched! This is a game of preparation and being ahead of the ballgame. You need to get into the habit of thinking several steps ahead of where you are now!

Jerry B. Jenkins, a mega-successful author of over 195 novels, worked in the publishing industry before he began writing. He has been quoted as saying that 1 out of 100 professional writers meet their writing deadlines. Why? Because they lacked preparation!

Now, pause a second. I am not saying to spend days upon days “preparing” because this begins to look a hell of a lot like procrastinating. I am not suggesting that you should use this as an excuse not to move ahead.

I am simply saying that having a plan of attack and sticking to it is incredibly valuable and, in fact, necessary for your success! You need to have things ready to go so that you aren’t finding yourself rushing at the last minute.

Building an Audience

The most important pre-work that needs done prior to releasing your novel, is building an audience. Makes sense, right? If you have no audience, it will be just Mom, Dad and Great Aunt Margery reading your work! Not because its terrible, but because not enough people know about it!

You need attention! It takes work to acquire this attention and takes more work to maintain the attention. The most effective way to achieve this level of attention is to be present and engaged online.

There are those who claim that a website is enough. Some say that blogging is the way to go. It is argued that an email list is the holy grail for authors. Then there are people who swear by one social media outlet or another.

Here is my opinion and suggestion: USE THEM ALL. Why limit yourself to one medium? Why not take advantage of all of them? To me, that sounds like my chances of getting my book in front of the right readers just increased dramatically!

I have a website that I maintain consistently. I write a blog post every single weekday. I have a monthly newsletter that goes out to an email list that I am consistently trying to build. I also juggle Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, and Goodreads.

This is relatively new to me, and yet I am connected to THOUSANDS of potential readers already. How? By being actively present, engaged, and constantly learning how to increase the attention that is on my work and brand.

Now, you can’t just have an account with all of these marketing avenues, you have to actually be active on them. Take twitter for example. I took my author twitter account from 44 followers to over 1000 in three weeks once I began using it correctly.

Dramatic increase, right? Absolutely, but it wasn’t as simple as tweeting once every few days. It required several tweets, retweets, likes, follows and comments every single day!

It is the same for the other social medias as well as blog posts, newsletters, etc. It sounds like a lot right? That’s because it is a lot!

Here is the thing though, when you are a self-published author, you are running a business! A business that has one employee. You have to market, promote, and engage with your customers just like any other business!

This is not something that is just done on launch day, this is done all day, every day. Before the launch, during the launch and after for as long as you want your book to succeed.

Look, you don’t have to go and dive, head first, into all of this stuff, but you should start looking into them! There are so many resources available out there to help you in building your audience.

Make Sure Your Duckies Are in a Row

Speaking of duckies, I have a joke.

Why was the duck arrested? Because it is illegal to sell quack!

HAHAHAHA. That is HILARIOUS PORTER! NICE!

Oh boy, I sure hope you laughed as hard as I did. That’s a good one. Alright, moving on.

Another step in this game of preparation is making sure you have everything ready to roll. You need to make sure your book is edited and formatted, your cover is designed and in the correct file format, and that you have a marketing plan for when it goes live.

You also want to give yourself some buffer time with the outlet you are going to sell your book on, whether that be Amazon, your website or wherever. Amazon, along with other sites that will sell and distribute your book, require a review period before they will let it go live.

An example from my own experience was literally from this book launch! I uploaded everything to Amazon five days in advance, and thankfully so! Two days after uploading, Amazon reached out letting me know my print cover needed to be expanded.

Having that buffer allowed me the time to discuss it with my cover designer. We decided it was likely a glitch as the cover was made exactly to spec. After resubmitting the same upload, it was accepted! Anything from a true issue down to a minor system glitch could delay your launch so make sure you give yourself some room!

I would also recommend having some promotional material ready for the day of release and days to follow! If you haven’t heard of BookBrush.com  and you are a writer, specifically a self-published writer, CHECK IT OUT!

This website gives templates, background images and special effects allowing you to create professional marketing material to promote your book. They have a basic package, which is free, as well as a paid deluxe membership.

Do Your Research

There are so many ways to elevate your book release. Everything from shoutouts, author blurbs, reviews, discounts, social media marketing, giveaways, etc. There is no shortage of ways to push your work, but it will require some research on your part.

I am not going to put an entire list on here of options for a few reasons. First of all, there are infinite sources on this topic and it would be impossible to list them all. Secondly, every person is different and an approach that works for me may not work for you!

The most important reason why I am not going to do this, however, is that doing the research yourself is SO incredibly valuable to your growth as an author and business person. I have learned so much along my journey because of all of the research and curiosity.

You have to figure out for yourself the best way to do things and what works for you! That being said, if a more in-depth list is something that you would like to see in a future post, comment down below and let me know! I won’t give you everything, because I believe it is important for you to discover things for yourself, but I will provide more than I did with this post if it is of interest.

HAVE FUN

If you are an author, you are either doing it because you love it or you are doing it for the wrong reason. The whole reason you are even launching a book (if you are), is because that manuscript is a culmination of all of that love and passion!

If you don’t have fun with it, then what is the point?

It is important to remember why you are doing it in the first place! This time should be inspiring, fun and exciting! It is a big moment, especially your first one. Do all the research you want and be as prepared as possible, but above all else have fun.

BOOM. We did it. Another post in the FREAKIN books. How do you feel? Say it out loud. Nice. Good job.

I hope this was helpful to you and that whatever goals you are chasing, you got a little closer to them today. Remember, they are not as far away as they seem! They are so close it would make your head spin, so run! Sprint! Get there now!

You got this, and I believe in you.

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