Tips for a Successful Book Launch: A 12-Month Marketing Plan
You’ve poured your heart and soul into your book. You spent countless months— even years— preparing your book for publication, and now the time to start marketing is here. It’s exciting, but also nerve-wracking. How can you make the launch of your book successful and give it the best chance at getting the attention of readers?
If you want your book to be a success, you need to build a solid marketing plan to promote your book. To make the most of your launch, you should start marketing your book as early as a year before its release. Here’s a high-level timeline to help you plan your next book launch.
12-Month Book Launch Timeline
Six to twelve months before launch
The goal of any book launch period is to reach the readers who will get the most out of your book. These are your ideal readers— the ones who will love your book, leave five-star reviews on Goodreads, and tell their friends all about it! In the six months to one year before launch, your strategies should focus on finding and connecting with these readers.
Create your author website
If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to create your author website. Your website will be your home hub, where readers can find your books and links to purchase, learn a little more about you as an author, read any blog post or recent news articles about your books or your career as an author, and sign up for your newsletter to stay updated with any new releases or special treats.
Start sending out a newsletter
Your newsletter is the next most important piece to build your author platform. Teasers, bonus content, or pre-order incentives are great ways to build your email list and get readers excited about your release by offering these as exclusive offers for anyone who signs up for your newsletters.
Building your email list is crucial— and the sooner you start, the better. Most of the readers on your list are considered “warm leads.” This means they signed up for your newsletter because they want to hear from you and get news of upcoming releases. These are readers that are already pumped up for your book’s release and are more likely to sign up for your arc or street team.
Announce the release date
Once you know the day your book will be released, craft an announcement to your email list, and post about it on social media to start getting readers excited! It’s okay if you don’t have a book cover image or a pre-order link yet— you can tease these as “coming soon” in your announcement.
One to three months before launch
As the date of your book’s publication gets closer, you’ll want to ramp up your marketing efforts and engage more with potential readers. As you do, be sure to let your audience know where they can buy your book— include links to your website, your publisher, or websites like IndieBound.
Do a cover reveal
A cover reveal is about more than showing off your book’s amazing cover design. This is a great time to include a link for readers to pre-order the book, tease what the book is about, and start a countdown to launch day. You can also announce a giveaway or contest during this time to generate more buzz around your upcoming launch.
Offer pre-order incentives
Pre-orders can make a huge difference to the success of your book. When readers pre-order a book, it sends a clear message to booksellers and publishers: there is demand for this work! As an author, you want to encourage pre-orders as much as possible. One way to do this is to offer incentives such as bonus content, promotional materials, or entries into a giveaway.
Invite readers to join your street team
Think of your street team as the cheerleaders for your book. During the week of your launch, your street team will talk about and showcase your book and get others excited about the release as well. They can also leave reviews of your book on Amazon, Goodreads, and other platforms on launch day. The more reviews you can get, the more you increase your book’s chances of visibility. You should also offer incentives for joining the street team, such as receiving the book early and getting to attend exclusive launch events.
During launch week
It’s finally here! The week your book will finally be available for all to read. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of promoting your work and lose sight of your achievement, so be sure to take a few moments during this week just for yourself. You brought a book into this world, and that’s worth celebrating!
Collaborate with authors and influencers
You can collaborate with other authors—especially those in your genre or who are releasing books at the same time—by creating guest blog posts on another author’s site or doing newsletter swaps where they feature you and your book to their newsletter subscribers, and you feature them to your newsletter subscribers.
Influencers on YouTube, TikTok, and other social media platforms are a great way to reach a bigger audience and get more eyes on your books. However, be sure to do your research before you reach out to an influencer and ask them to read your book.
Go on a book tour
Book tours can be in person, at venues like bookstores or libraries, or virtual. If you’re planning a virtual book tour, you can reach out to book blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels with large followings to ask about appearing as a guest. Whichever style of book tour you choose, be sure to post the schedule of appearances on your website and let your followers know where they can find you on tour!
Hold a launch party
Like a book tour, your launch party can be in person or through a virtual platform like Zoom or Instagram Live. If you decide to hold an in-person book party, this is a great opportunity to build your relationship with your local independent bookstore by holding your event there! Either way, be sure to send out formal invitations so your attendees can RSVP.
During the event, you can read from your book, hold a Q&A session, have games and give away prizes, and more! If your event is in person, you can also include a book signing.
When approaching your book launch, think about your ideal reader. What will get them excited about your release? Start planning activities and incentives early, and keep building the buzz through teasers, giveaways, and engaging directly with your audience.
If you use the tips above, you’ll greatly increase your chances of a successful book launch!