Don’t wing-it, plan it! 7 keys for a great book launch

Don’t wing-it, plan it! 7 keys for a great book launch

book-launchAre you getting ready for a new book launch or just want to learn how to?  Braving the wild world of bookstores and book clubs to get your new book on their shelves deserves a communications plan.  Let’s wade through the silt of book publicity, because you know you’re gonna have to do it unless you’re on the NYTimes Bestseller list.

As a firm believer in planning, especially before embarking on the journey of a new book, I believe first impressions mean everything.  Books are sold more on word of mouth than any other way.   Walking into a book club with the wing-it plan can damage your credibility and that’s the opposite of what we want to do.  Harness word of mouth and create a great book launch.

It’s important to put all your ideas on paper so you know which ones really work for you and which ones don’t.  Below is the template for a communications plan to help you think through planning that new book launch.

So, first things first:  what is the purpose of your book launch?  

That may seem obvious to you.  Sell lots of books, duh.  Well, is that the only reason?  Do you want to advocate a particular cause or get a film deal out of it?  Really determine what your purpose is.  No purpose is too great or too small.  It provides the initial roadmap to where you want to be.

Second things: what is the objective of your purpose?

Sounds redundant I know.  The purpose is your overarching need.  The objectives refine that need.  So if your plan is to get a movie deal, then the objectives are to meet a film producer, to make connections in the industry, and to build your readership among Hollywood elite.  See the difference between purpose and objective?

Third, target audience:  who are you aiming at?  

Again, I know it sounds like you just did that in #2 but not really.  In this section, develop exactly who you  are aiming at.  “Readers” is too vague and really?  Be specific with your readership/target audience because that helps you determine where the heck you’re going to sell your book.  In the world of 15,000 manuscripts submitted every year, you need to stand out.  Find that niche audience and reel ’em in!

Fourth, themes & messages:  you are trying to say something in your book, right?

What is it?  Figure out the overarching themes of your book:  renewal, growth, survival, love, anxiety, war, politics.  Whatever they are, you probably have at least two you can use.  With those two, create messages that project exactly what you want to say about the theme.  Writing on a survival theme?  Then message what it takes to survive.

Fifth, do you have a strategy or any tactics?  

Isn’t that what the plan is for, you ask?  No.  The plan is to help you think through the entire book launch.  The strategy and tactics section is specifically for you to brainstorm every single idea you have for marketing your book.  Every single one.  Later you can go back and refine it. This section includes speaking opportunities, social media strategies, bookstore or book club parties, give-a-ways, freebies and contests.  ANYTHING.  And don’t brainstorm this alone.  Do it with your critique group, family and friends, church, guy on the street.  You can never have too many ideas, and think BIG!  You need reviews so if you can get the librarian, the mayor, the governor, a celebrity of any type, Nancy Reagan, then do it!

Sixth, how are you going to talk to the media?

Yes, the media.  Get them on your side with a press statement released within 48 hours of the event.  News people work on 24-hour cycles.  Your book event won’t make headlines or the top story unless you have thousands of people chanting with signs.  But it could make the lifestyle section or  the last 2 minutes of the newscast.  And that’s gold for your author website.  So give them something they can work with.  Saturdays and Mondays are the slowest news days of the week.  If you can plan for that, it increases your chances of being picked up.

Last, what happens if they ask you if you based the sex scene on experience?

It’s happened.  Yes, it has.  Preparing a quick list of about ten questions will save you massive embarrassment later if you have an answer ready to go.  Anything from the mundane “how do you come up with your ideas” to the more intimate “what experience do you have with this subject matter?”
To help you visualize this better, I’ve developed a template with examples.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Would love to hear from you!

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