Posted On March 23, 2015 by Print This Post

10 Steps to a Successful Book Launch by Heather Webb

Welcome back editor/author Heather Webb! Today she’s giving us the best way to launch a book – be prepared to be wowed! =)

Heather Webb Smiling

Launching a novel is a whirlwind of excitement, sobering facts, and unknowns. (We won’t even touch upon the terror attacks that flare up from time to time.) But within this chaos, there are ways to stay sane. Check out my priority list:

  1. STAY CALM Going completely ape shit crazy won’t change the massive amount of work ahead of you OR make you sell more books. Go for a run, do some meditation, get drunk—for the love of all that’s holy, take the edge off.
  2. GET A SEPARATE CALENDAR Duh, right? You’d be surprised how helpful this is and how FEW people use them. I use a Google calendar that syncs with my husband’s for family events, appmts, sports, etc. on my phone, and then I use a completely separate paper planner for all of my writing-related business that I keep in my laptop bag. I include blog tours, signings, conferences, interviews, Twitter chats, and any other writing biz. I found this to be one of the most helpful organizational things ever.
  3. WRITE A PRESS RELEASE Include your bio, a short pitch about the book, photos of you and your cover, as well as any blurbs or endorsements you may have gathered about the book. You may also include five short interview questions (that are answered). Some of us are lucky enough to have a publicist who make one for us, some of us, not so much. But this handy document can be sent to any website, newspaper, or media outlet you decide to pitch to. You may also submit it when bloggers want to interview you.
  4. SPEAKING OF MEDIA, make a list of all outlets you’d like to approach. Gather the emails and phone numbers you need. Work through your list, press release in hand. Remember to be polite and give them solid reasons why your book is appropriate for their station/channel, etc. Again, if you have a publicist, you may want to talk with them about how you can split the work. If your publisher doesn’t assign you a publicist, there are many companies and freelancers out there who do a wonderful job as well. (I have a couple I can recommend. Email me with questions)
  5. SET UP A BLOG TOUR Too busy to call upon the same friends who always hook you up? There are many companies who do this for you. Set up one by genre to start, then an additional tour that hits any cross-over elements your book may touch upon. Remember to put your book in front of as many different audiences as possible that may be interested. ***Note: Some question the efficacy of a blog tour. Even if a blogger doesn’t have a huge audience, you gain Google hits. In addition, many reviewers post to Goodreads and Amazon and this helps spread the word about your book.
  6. DESIGN PARAPHERNALIA like book marks or postcards—something you can sign. (People like that.) Keep them in your purse, your car, your computer bag. Give a stack to your mom to give out. I call my mom, “momager” because she’s so dang good at spreading the word about my books.
  7. GIVEAWAYS Remember that Goodreads and LibraryThing prompt readers to add your book to their TO READ list when they enter a giveaway. On release day, those platforms email everyone on that list to announce the release. This is crucial to getting the word out.
  8. STAY CALM Wait, did I mention this? Try not to freak out. The day your book releases will feel anti-climactic in many ways. Yes, your cat will throw up on the rug and your child will puke on your new dress. Instead, go play with some friends. Stalking your sales numbers will only make you nuts. Plus, all of that support and wisdom from your buddies makes you feel less alone in this crazy business.
  9. REACH OUT TO BOOK CLUBS interested in hosting you. Remember that book clubbers love to TALK ABOUT BOOKS. They may become your biggest supporters. And whatever you do, don’t forget to bring the wine and cupcakes. Everyone likes cupcakes.
  10. CHAT A LOT Create a hashtag related to your book, genre, or topics in the novel and set up chats on Goodreads and Twitter.
  11. CELEBRATE Okay, I promised ten points, but I HAD to mention this one. Despite all of the pressure, despite things not going exactly as you imagined, remember that you’re LIVING THE DREAM! You’re published, people are reading YOUR words and loving them. Bask in the excitement and be proud of yourself. Celebrate like it’s 1999.

***

Do you have any questions for Heather? What’s some things that have worked great with YOUR book launch?

Join us tomorrow for Robert Morris with his top editing and proofreading tools!

***

Bio: As a freelance editor, Heather spends oodles of time helping writers find their voice and hone their skills–something she adores. She may often be found twittering helpful links, sharing writing advice and author interviews on her blog Between the Sheets, or teaching novel writing in her community. Her favorite haunts are right here at the fabulous Romance University.org and the award-winning WriterUnboxed.com.

Her first women’s historical, BECOMING JOSEPHINE released to much acclaim in Jan 2014 and her second, RODIN’S LOVER, releases from Plume/Penguin as a lead title in 2015.

Visit her website: http://www.HeatherWebbauthor.com or find her on Twitter @msheatherwebb

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3 Responses to “10 Steps to a Successful Book Launch by Heather Webb”

  1. Morning Heather!

    Great post! Tell me what a freelance publicist does…do they post on your twitter feeds etc? send out press releases? How do they make your life easier?

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | March 23, 2015, 9:48 am
    • Hi Carrie!

      Freelancers work hard to get you in at bookstores, book festivals, on local TV stations, radio broadcasts, and in any forms of print media. Much of this you can do yourself if you are good at pitching and have great connections. What you really pay a publicist for is their connections. A good one is worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, they can be hit or miss sometimes in their success and not always because they’re new at the game or aren’t “good”, but also because of the book they’re pitching. The book needs to have a strong hook that appeals to media as well, not just readers. Romance novels may be a harder sell in some instances, but not always. If there’s a “message” or a strong element other than the main romantic story, this can work really well.

      Posted by Heather Webb | March 23, 2015, 10:55 am
  2. Great post, Heather! Geez, it sounds like launching a book is almost as complicated as writing one!

    I bookmarked this because, well, you never know…

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 23, 2015, 11:47 am

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