Book Launch Ideas: A Guide For New Authors
You’ve done it!
After months, years, maybe even decades, you've got it: a completed manuscript.
Now comes your next job: promoting it.
You should put just as much effort into selling your book as you did writing it. In such a crowded publishing space, even great writing doesn’t sell itself. Most online books struggle to sell more than 100 copies.
Luckily, that doesn’t have to be your book’s fate.
Here at Wishpond, we’ve helped writers launch books across genres. Over the years, we’ve learned that a book launch marketing plan doesn’t need a brand new skill set from writing the book itself.
You need good writing skills, to know your audience, an understanding of other readers in your genre, to be able to explain the value of your story and a willingness to connect with the people who want to connect with your work.
Then, you just need the right tools to do it! For that, here are a few book launch ideas to help you after you’ve written the last page.
First, the important thing is to set up a presence for your book online.
You don’t have to build a whole website from scratch, but if you’re promoting it on social media, or building offers around your new work, it’ll be good to have more out there about your new work than the product description on a third party ecommerce store.
Building a landing page is simple. Building a great landing page requires some thought.
For some detailed guidance and tips, check out these articles:
- What is a landing page?
- Landing Pages: The Fundamentals and Conversion Principles
- 25 Best Lead Generation Landing Page Designs & Examples
Psst: Wishpond makes it easy to build a landing page, predesigned for optimal user experience! All you have to do is browse, pick your favorite and customize with your personal info!
Once you have your landing page set up, you’ll want it to be actively working to get you readers and customers!
For that, you might need more than your book’s title and a good description. Generate some buzz for your new book with these promotional tips and tools:
Offer a Free Chapter (or Two!)
People are famously advised not to judge books by their covers.
So don’t force them to.
If you’re selling your book online, you can choose one or two chapters that are particularly well-written (or that end on a cliffhanger!) and offer them for free to potential readers.
‘Free’ is one of the most powerful words to propel consumer action. For browsers that are on the fence about choosing to purchase, a free chapter is one of the best ways to convince them to commit to your book.
“‘Free’ is one of the most powerful words to propel consumer action.”
It’s important that you just don’t select chapters at random, or just the first two chapters because they happen to be the first two: pick a selection that you think will make the most impact on new readers, and leave them wanting more.
Target Similar Writers and Audiences
This is an important part of your marketing strategy: while one of the advantages of the web is that it gives you access to a huge audience, bigger isn’t always necessarily better.
If you have a smaller stream of qualified traffic (that is, an audience that hits certain qualifications that makes them more likely to be interested in your work) heading to your site, interacting with your work, signing up to your email list, that is infinitely better than having waves upon waves of apathetic browsers who may click around, but ultimately never purchase.
To help narrow down your audience, ask yourself:
Which writer got you into writing?
Which novel did you pick up for inspiration when you were stuck?
Whose books are on your top shelf, always within reach?
If you loved their work and used them as inspiration, chances are, their community will have something in common with you too. The great thing about the internet is, algorithms can work out how to show those shoppers and fans your books.
Wishpond has run successful book launch campaigns by showing selected ads to audiences interested in similar authors or subject matter.
Offer a Major Giveaway (Your Book + Freebies)
Everybody loves free stuff.
You can use this to your favor by hosting a giveaway. This particular one, by author Mary McDonald, is a brilliant example of how to combine reading communities, competitions and book launches to promote your own work and build your own reputation.
An important factor in this is that the authors she uses are well-known, with distinct voices and established communities. Including her book amongst this set links her with these writers: their quality, their voice, their emotional punch.
Additionally, she includes powerful reviews about her own work. Readers are like other consumers in that they trust others’ reviews about products -- even about something as subjective as books.
Offer a Giveaway of Your Book
You also don’t have to go all out and buy a ton of products. Sometimes, if your offering for the industry is positioned well enough, your book alone is enough of an offer!
Giving free copies to reviewers has long been standard practice in the publishing industry, and you shouldn’t rule it out for your book. It can help with word-of-mouth advertising, get you those all-important testimonials and ratings.
Check out this example from The Language Lens, which had a very specific audience to cater to.
Because it had such a strong niche, giving away the book itself was a good idea. Teachers need to know the materials they’re spending their budgets on are useful and effective. By targeting community influencers and educational leaders, the author can get powerful proof and backing for her work.
User testimonials are the most compelling elements that convince customers to commit to a purchase, more powerful than any copy you write or product images you put up.
Just FYI, a giveaway may be the most straightforward contest for new books, but don't be afraid to get creative. If you have other ideas, there are other kinds of interactive promotions you can do! Here's an idea of some Wishpond helps run and operate:
Get Active on Social Media
Writers know that reading is not a solitary activity. The literary community is alive and thriving, and being active on social networks before your book launch can go a long way toward helping its success once it starts.
Goodreads, Twitter, blogs, Facebook groups - all of these micro-communities can be incredibly powerful engines for spreading the word about your work.
Social media may be the most powerful augmentation of any work you do to promote your book. You can:
- Run contests to promote your book on different platforms, like Facebook or Instagram
- Build a following by answering questions on Quora or participating in community chats on Reddit, and (when appropriate!) linking to your landing page
- Ask for reviews or testimonials of your work from readers
Ideally, you’ll start this before your book launch, warming potential audiences up. Ask for their advice, talk about your journey writing, share tips and advice you’ve learned along the way -- be helpful and authentic. Your biggest cheerleaders can be your fellow writers.
Your book isn’t done once the last word is written -- it’s just time for you to move on to the next phase of the project! With a little planning, your book can debut with the fanfare it deserves.
As a summary, here are six book launch tactics to help your book gain momentum right out the gate:
- Build a Landing Page
- Offer a Free Chapter (or Two!)
- Target Similar Writers and Audiences
- Get Active on Social Media
- Offer a Major Giveaway (Your Book + Freebies)
- Offer a Giveaway of Your Book