No matter which way you slice it, launching a book is tricky and overwhelming. Not only is it overwhelming, but there are so many great books out there! How in the world can we ensure our book is read? It seems we’re constantly learning of new and improved ways to sell our novels–ads, virtual tours, launch parties, blogging, social media…I could go on (and I did here in this post called 10 Steps to a Successful Book Launch). After awhile, it all becomes too much. So where do you begin? I invited a few wise authors who have been around the block to weigh in, in addition to the founder of author marketing company AuthorBuzz.
What say you, oh wise ones?
“Begin to plan for it at least 8 months in advance if you can, almost like a wedding with activities, invitations, publicity. Make it an event both you and your readers will always remember. It will create more ‘buzz’ as well as a day never to be forgot.”–Donna Russo Morin, award-winning author of Italian Renaissance novels including The King’s Agent, To Serve a King, and more.
“Expect nothing. Do everything. Focus on the reason you wrote the book – hopefully – because you love to write- live to write – and not to get rich. Most of all, enjoy your launch. You accomplished something wonderful . As far as promotion – spend as much as you can – but wisely. Remember the #1 rule – no one can buy a book they never heard of. You have to get your book out there.”–M.J. Rose, executive of AuthorBuzz and international bestselling author of historical suspense novels including The Book of Lost Fragrances, Seduction, and more.
“In every way you can, readings and blogging and book-club appearances, make it a priority to communicate your enthusiasm for your novel, your passion for the story and, if it’s a historical novel, the period of time. Enthusiasm is contagious! I concentrate on nonfiction blogging, sharing some tidbits and revealing interesting lives. I feel that for me, that reaches more people and is easier to accomplish time-wise than touring. I think book clubs and blogging spread the word better than going on tour if you are not a well known author already.”-–Nancy Bilyeau, journalist and author of The Crown and The Chalice
“This is no time to be shy. Release your inner extrovert, get out there, and tell the world about your book. As daunting as this can be, connecting with readers can be an unexpectedly enriching part of the writing process.”–Stephanie Lehmann, author of Astor Place Vintage and The Art of Undressing, in addition to other humorous women’s fiction.
“Be prepared to face 2 or 200 people. Cookies and/or wine might attract some people, but if you want to sell the book, you must wow them with your passion for your characters and your subject. Practice your presentation on a few friends or family members. Don’t over-read from the book unless you are a Meryl Streep. Tell them what the book is about but leave them hanging and wanting to know more! Don’t forget to hold up the book several times so they know what you are selling.”–Anne Easter Smith, award-winning author of Royal Mistress, Queen by Right, and more
“I think one of the best things you can do is network with other writers, particularly through social media, post about their books and get them to post about yours. It’s a great way to create buzz. Guest blogs are good, even if they don’t seem to get a lot of traffic, because they give you something to post about and can create interest on Facebook and Twitter. Finally, make sure to take a deep breath and savor your launch day – open a bottle of champagne, meet a friend for lunch or dinner. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and deserves to be savored.”–Tracy Grant, author of historical suspense novels The Berkeley Square Affair, The Paris Plot, and many more.
My advice? Spend as much as your budget will allow. See and be seen. And most of all, enjoy yourself! You can’t possibly do it all so you may as well do what you love!