Novel Marketing

Novel Marketing

How to Launch a Book in 2020

May 04, 2020

Launching a book is one of the few strategies that work just as well for indie authors as it does for traditional authors. The months before and after the release of your book are the most important months for determining how well your book will sell. 

A good book launch is like pushing a snowball off the side of a mountain with the intent to trigger an avalanche. The bigger the snowball is, the more likely it is to cause an avalanche. 

Books with poor launches get stuck in the social circle of the author who first launched it. These books never have the chance to change the world or earn income for the author.

As a literary agent, I participated in many book-launch planning calls between traditional publishers and authors. When I served as marketing director for a traditional publishing company, I planned book launches. I have helped personal clients plan book launches as well, so I’ve seen the sales data, and I know what works and what doesn’t.

Bestselling author and advertising expert, James L. Rubart and I recently reviewed the most important aspects of a book launch in preparation for our upcoming course, the Book Launch Blueprint.  (Registration closes on May 30, 2020. Don’t wait.)

Why do I need a book launch?

Thomas: Most books sell by word of mouth. People buy most books most of the time because a friend recommended that book. A book launch will shove your book out of your personal social circle and off the top of the mountain into circles you aren’t even aware of yet.

If you don’t plan a strategic launch, all your friends will talk to each other about your book, and you’ll only sell 20 or 30 copies to the same people who’ll go to your funeral. And that’s not what you want. You don’t want a funeral book launch.

A successful book launch requires preparation, work, and purposeful planning.

Jim: When I had my ad agency, I worked in radio, TV, and other media. We talked a lot about the frequency of three. You want your potential buyer to hear a commercial or see an ad three times a week. That was the measurement. If they heard it more often, great.

First, the potential buyer (or reader in our case) sees the ad, and the ad creates awareness. The second time they see or hear the ad, they feel conviction. The third time, they’re moved action. They’re moved to buy your book. 

For word-of-mouth book sales, a reader first hears a friend mention the book, and they become aware it exists. 

When a reader hears from a second friend about your great book, they make a mental note to check it out. 

But when they hear about it a third time, they think, “Wow, I’ve got to get that book now!”

How do we stir that word of mouth, so your readers are compelled to take action and buy?

Thomas: That is the million-dollar question, and we have a course that teaches authors how to do this. The Book Launch Blueprint will be starting in May of 2020. If you’re reading this in the future, we offer this course once a year, and we will have a waiting list for next year if you want to join us.

But today,