Self-Publishing Guide: Your Book Launch

by Rachel Sawden
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The biggest day of your writing career calls for a launch event! You’ll sell your literary baby, sign it, and take photographs with your new readers and fans. This is the day it all becomes real. Having dreamed of my book signing long before I started my novel, it was an emotional day for me that I will never forget. And I want you to experience that also.

There are two options on where you can hold your book launch – a bookshop, or another venue. If you go with the latter, then you’ll have to budget for venue rental, décor, drinks, snacks, and also factor in taking sales with a cash float or card machine. Personally, I would go with a bookstore, and that is what I did.

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Plan

Contact your local bookstores starting with the largest one, even if it’s a Barnes and Noble, bookstores love promoting authors. You are also going to guarantee sales and traffic for them so they will say yes. As well as striking a deal for them carrying your book going forward, negotiate the terms of the book launch. They can either purchase from Ingram, or you can purchase from either Amazon or Ingram using your discount, and then sell the book wholesale to the bookstores. While you incur upfront costs, the latter will make you more money.

Promote

Set a date and a time for when the books arrive from the printers, make sure they have a table, chair, and a tablecloth. Then tell all of your family and friends, writing circles, and anyone who will listen to you. Make a Facebook invite and send it to all of your friends, send an email blast, and promote on your social media platforms.

If you live in a smaller community, contact your local newspaper and send a press release. This is a simple document stating the who, what, where, and when, about your book and book launch. Be sure to include where the book can be purchased both in person and online. I had a great spread in my local newspaper that drove a lot of traffic to my launch.

Soft Launch

In terms of scheduling your launch, I’d pick two dates a few days apart as your soft and hard launch. Your soft launch is when your book goes live on Amazon and Ingram. In advance of this make sure you have several reviews completed (can track on NetGalley) and ask the reviewers to post their reviews when the links are live. It takes two days for the reviews to be published.

Hard Launch

A few to several days later will be your hard launch where you will run your press release, make all the noise you can on your social media channels, and hold your book launch event. When prospective readers are directed to the Amazon purchase page, there will be reviews posted and social proof that your book is worth reading and sales will be encouraged.

The Big Event

For your book launch event, show up at the bookstore well in advance of the start time looking your best and make sure you have at least two pens with you. Get a friend or family member to get photographs of you sitting at your table signing books.

Savour each and every moment of this because you have earned it. You deserve every bit of pride and satisfaction.

Then, celebrate in your favourite way with your favourite people

You’ve launched your literary baby into the world but there is still work to be done with marketing. Next step: nominate your book for contests and awards.

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