14 Ways to Crash Your Book Launch – Authors, DO NOT Try This at Home

by | Jun 12, 2015

By Kimberley Grabas

Here at The Book Designer, we get a lot of questions about how to successfully launch books. If you’ve been searching for tips or tricks to use for your own book launch, I think you’ll find this article by Kimberley Grabas quite helpful.


 
With a book launch – much like outrageous stunts or death-defying acts of daring – you really only have one chance to get it right.

Other book marketing and promotional strategies can be tweaked and refined over time, but your official book launch comes around but once, and you’ll need more than a smidgen of courage to see it through.

Launches Need to Pack a Punch

They need to build excitement and anticipation to a fever pitch, and on launch day, deliver on all the promises.

This doesn’t happen by accident.

Just like a carefully orchestrated stunt scene in a movie, your launch requires a detailed, step-by-step action plan to pull it off – to create a real and exciting experience for your audience.

Yet often authors are so focused on writing and editing their new book to a shine, they postpone the hard work of mapping out a launch strategy until too late in the game.

Usually with dire (or at least extremely disheartening) consequences.

Why Book Launches Fail

There are many reasons why a book launch can go horribly wrong.

And many authors are unwittingly sabotaging their book launch efforts by not avoiding these common pitfalls.

[Mandatory disclaimer: the following are harmful and sometimes fatal acts of miscalculation that SHOULD NOT be attempted or repeated by any author, at any time.]

  1. Refusal to Collaborate and Socialize

    One of the most important things you can do before launching your book – even before you start writing it – is to engage your potential readership in the development process.

    The more invested people are, the higher the value they will place on your work – because they helped create it.

    Encouraging a social, community-oriented mindset builds trust and and makes people feel that they are part of something special.

    Plus, their input will help you identify what matters most to them, the benefits they want your book to deliver, and even the launch strategy (messages and channels) that will ensure your book gets traction.

  2. Rushing to Get It “Out There”
    It’s interesting that after spending months – sometimes years – writing your book, there comes a moment when a switch flips and getting your book into the hands of your readers becomes URGENT.

    Sure there should be an element of urgency, or you’d never get the book to market. But rushing inevitably leads to poor planning and lack of preparation. Things are missed, deadlines pass and an author’s stress levels hit the ceiling.

    Instead, start your planning process early – ideally while you’re still writing or editing. If you are self-publishing, give yourself a little extra wiggle room when you set your publication date.

    Have your author website or book landing page ready and functional. Make sure it’s not only easy for people to buy your book, but easy for them to share the information with their friends.

    And remember to be aware of your time constraints as you plan. You won’t become superhuman during your launch phase, so allow time in your scheduling and plans for other priorities in your life.

  3. Forgetting to Set Specific (Any) Goals or Objectives
    It’s very difficult to determine whether you’ve reached your goals during your launch campaign, if you’ve never outlined any goals or objectives to begin with.

    Taking action is fantastic, but you always need to have a direction or a destination in mind so that you can tell whether you’ve met or exceeded your expectations – or if you’ve slid completely off track.

    Be careful that the goals you set will actually help you achieve the results you desire. Specific goals like the number of books you’d like to sell on launch day, the number of people you’d like to add to your email list, or the number of people you want to attend your launch day webinar make it easier to determine if you were successful at achieving that goal.

    A goal like, “I want to increase my authority” needs to broken down into more precise objectives like, “during my launch period I will write four guest posts on influential sites in my genre, give five podcast/radio interviews on topics related to my book, interview one influential author or industry expert for my own author website, and create a free PDF guide on a compelling topic in my genre or related to my book”.

    Keep in mind that this book and launch are also part of a bigger plan for your writing career. What do you want this launch to accomplish that will help with the next book and launch?

  4. Having No Idea Who You Are Trying to Reach
    This one can be – and often is – fatal.

    Not knowing or fully understanding your target audience, or what they value, can cripple your launch before it even has a chance to get off the ground.

    How do you hit a target you don’t even see?

    Often authors will have no clue as to the intended audience for their book, which guarantees the launch campaign is unfocused, aimed at the wrong audience, or the message is too general or diffused to be meaningful.

    When you’re struggling to build a platform and a readership for your work, the thought of excluding or alienating anybody who might possibly be interested in your work, is terrifying.

    You want more readers, not less. Why exclude anybody?

    The reality is that the more specific you are about the people you are trying to reach (i.e., the people who will really “get” you and your book), the more appealing your offer, and the more engaging your conversation with your ideal audience becomes.

    (Go here for more on the mistakes writers make when identifying their target audience.)

  5. Being The Lone Wolf
    It takes a village.

    I’m not sure if – statistically speaking – there actually are a larger number of introverted writers than extroverts, but the stereotype remains: great writing happens in quiet seclusion.

    The Muse arrives and the good stuff flows only when you’ve locked yourself in a room (with the story as your sole sustenance).

    Because writing is not thought of as a group sport, many soon-to-be authors have drawn the solitary act of writing their book into their promotional efforts as well.

    However, the most successful authors have used the power of the group to increase their sales.

    From boxed sets to multi-author buying events, they’ve leveraged their followings to cross-promote to their readers – multiplying their impact as a result.

    In fact, there are many benefits of author collaboration, like increasing visibility, the pooling of resources, and opportunities for jointly created books and other creative projects.

    Reach out and start making connections early so that relationships have time to develop, and clever ideas for joint ventures during your launch can be fleshed out.

  6. Lacking an Understanding of Your Market
    Don’t look now, but your lack of market knowledge is showing…

    A lack of current market information makes it nearly impossible to make appropriate decisions on your launch action plan, or any other marketing choices.

    You must use facts to make good decisions.

    You must be acutely aware of what other authors in your niche or genre are doing right (and wrong), the changes, trends and direction the market is moving in, as well as any “holes” where opportunity might exist.

    Tackling too broad a market is often a problem, because once you look inside a big market, you’ll find an incredible amount of diversity: different types of readers, different needs, and different pain points.

    To build a stronger launch plan (and consume less resources in terms of time and money), you need to focus on building an insanely deep connection with a small group of people, rather than a hesitant and weak connection with many.

    Not only does what you learn from a hyper-focused market help you make smarter decisions about your book’s potential in other markets, it reduces your risk of “missing the mark” on launch day.

    So, do your research. Get “belly-to-belly” with your ideal reader, gently stalk authors with comparable books, and keep abreast of the latest industry info and happenings.

  7. Looking For a Shortcut or Expecting a Miracle
    “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” – David Bly

    There are some shortcuts you might look for – those that free up time, money and allow you to grow your writing career. Most often, these come in the form of automation or systems.

    Others shortcuts, however, are just going to cause you problems.

    Be careful that your definition of a successful book launch isn’t skewed. Expecting a bestseller or an instant hit – especially with your first book or with “part-time” effort – may not be realistic.

    Writers lose focus because they’re looking for a short term gain instead of looking for long term growth for their careers.

    So, the first thing you have to accept is that you are building a business around your writing and your priority should always be focused on results over the long term.

    There is no such thing as an overnight success.

    Stick with launch methods that you can expect REAL results from (not gimmicks or aggressive tactics that burn bridges).

    An effective book launch should give you a boost, but it should also tie into a long-term campaign that seeks to earn a living and a fanbase over years, not weeks or months.

    Success is earned, and it’s more often than not played over the long game.

  8. Assuming Book Launches Are Only for Big Name Authors or People with Deep Pockets
    “That might work for author x, but it won’t work for me.”

    Get rid of the idea that you only have a specific set of skills and talents for specific tasks, or that there is some sort of exclusive club for successful authors that you’re not a part of.

    A successful launch doesn’t require heaps of cash, a huge network or a secret handshake. If you have a well planned launch, with clear goals and objectives you expect to achieve, your launch may be dramatically more effective and fruitful than a well-financed but unfocused one.

    Self-imposed limitations will only hold you back, so stretch your imagination instead of trying to justify why something won’t work.

    Don’t fail to step up to the plate or allow yourself to be held back by circumstance.

    When you’re about to start making excuses for why your launch can’t be as rewarding as the next author, stop.

    And re-ignite the spark that started you on this path in the first place.

    “To expect defeat is nine-tenths of defeat itself.” – Henry Mencken

  9. Enveloped in an Author Identity Crisis
    You have, right now, one of the most potent and persuasive means to make your book launch stand out. Do you know what it is?

    You.

    Self-knowledge is a very powerful tool, and knowing who you are, what you’re about, and why you do what you do can provide a significant and compelling way to break through the noise.

    How you position and differentiate yourself and your book can make all the difference in swaying readers to buy.

    In fact, when you discover and build on what makes you different, you eliminate your competition.

    Who can be more you than you?

    Spend some time getting to know yourself and the reasons you write what you write. Use this insight to “style” your launch.

    Infuse your personality and message into every piece of content you share, and your uniqueness will give you your competitive edge.

  10. Having No Clue What to Say
    When I see authors struggling with this during their launch, I know that they are also struggling with #4 (know your audience) and #9 (know yourself).

    When you can clearly articulate who you are and what you can bring to the table, as well as how that meets the needs, wants and desires of your ideal reader, the conversation always flows.

    Think of it this way: do you ever dread meeting up with a good friend for fear of not having anything to talk about?

    When speaking with someone about an interest you’re both passionate about, does the conversation ever get stymied or awkward?

    No.

    When you have a deep understanding of a person or share a common interest, the interchanges are often deep and rewarding. And running out of time is more likely than running out of things to talk about.

    If you shrink at the thought of being a smarmy salesperson, shouting “Buy my book” throughout your launch period, then take a step back and get to know your target audience better.

    What are they begging to hear from you? What do they want that only you can provide?

    If you’re not sure, ask. And listen carefully to what they tell you.

    Then plan launch content that addresses their biggest fears, hopes and desires – and share it freely without expecting anything in return.

    “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    When you build this foundation, people are often more than happy to support you when the time comes.

  11. Convinced It’s Not Worth the Effort (Or You’ve Already Missed the Boat)
    Everything you’ve read about planning and executing a successful book launch has warned that you should start early.

    But what if you already have your book in hand, or your release date is two weeks, one week or one day from now?

    What do you do when there is no time to plan, or you’ve focused on writing and have no platform or fanbase to speak of?

    Or perhaps what you’ve heard from those brave authors who’ve gone before you, is that a book launch sounds good in theory, but inevitably ends up being a colossal waste of time, effort and money – with little to show in the way of results?

    What then?

    Well first, don’t give up too quickly just because things get uncomfortable. Overcoming the challenges will bring you closer to your goals, so focus your efforts on what you can do.

    If your book is already out, leverage it to build your platform for your next book launch.

    There are many opportunities that arise for published authors: speaking engagements, podcast interviews, local media spots and other events, where having authored a book gives you the credibility and the qualifications to participate.

    If you’re self-publishing, consider moving the release date so that you can give yourself the time you need to make plans and build connections.

    You can also consider “re-launching” your book to give it a boost and build momentum for future projects.

    Your book is an asset even without a big “splashy” launch. Just adjust your goals and expectations and keep moving forward.

  12. Entertaining the Belief That Your Genius Should Be Obvious
    Assuming your book will sell on its own merits without you having to lift a promotional finger will most likely lead to disappointment.

    Again, it is your responsibility to make it abundantly clear to your intended audience why your book is relevant.

    Nobody cares about you or your book as much as you do (yet), so it’s your job to help them see its value.

    No amount of literary genius will compensate for a book that goes unnoticed and unseen.

    In fact, if your book is that necessary, you are actually doing your readers a disservice by not making them aware of its existence.

    Accept that it is not someone else’s responsibility to get your book into the hands of readers.

    Hold yourself accountable for your own career and develop a launch action plan that ensures your brilliance gets discovered.

  13. Failure to Ride the Wave
    With all this effort and focus timed to peak on your launch date, often a post-launch strategy gets ignored.

    It’s tempting to take a much needed break after all the excitement and hoopla – and you should take time to celebrate. You’ve just launched your book to the world!

    But having a plan in place to leverage your launch momentum, to follow up with new opportunities and to analyze and measure the results of your launch, is critical.

    Don’t be tempted to pull back. Use the energy and buzz you’ve generated to open even more doors.

    Note what worked well, what didn’t, and take the time to personally thank everyone who contributed to, or supported your launch in some way. Their help was no doubt indispensable.

  14. Not the Launch, But the Book That Fails
    We can’t really complete a list of launch missteps without mentioning the obvious deal breaker.

    If your book is subpar, no amount of launch razzle-dazzle is going to help.

    If there are quality issues with your cover design, editing, layout or even the story itself, you are much better off delaying your launch until you can deliver the highest quality book you can muster.

    Be careful not to get stuck “perfecting” your book – when the time is right, you still want to be able to pull the trigger.

    But, a high quality, professional debut will only work in your favour, with a well-planned launch helping you take it to the next level.

Make the Leap – Without the “Crash and Burn”

Launches can be nerve-wracking, adrenaline soaked experiences that push you to your limits – but they can also be exhilarating and a whole lot of fun!

Just take care to plan well (and avoid the above), and you’ll be well on your way to a gutsy and awe-inspiring book launch.

“If you fall during your life, it doesn’t matter. You’re never a failure as long as you try to get up.” –Evel Knievel

Over to you…

How important do you think a launch is to the success of your book?

If you’ve already launched a book, what did you do that really made an impact? What would you do differently for your next launch?

Add your thoughts and insights to the comments below.

Kimberley Grabas new headshotKimberley Grabas is a writer and the founder of YourWriterPlatform.com, where she provides writers with the resources, tools and inspiration they need to build their platform, engage their fans and sell more books. Download her free eBook, The Quick Start Guide to Building Your Writer Platform.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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44 Comments

  1. Angelique Cooper McGlotten

    Kimberley, wow, this is one of the BEST informational blogs I’ve ever read. May even be the best one with regard to the book publishing landscape! Thanks so much for the wealth of information that you convey here. So on point and helpful! I’m launching my book in 15 days, and your pearls of wisdom are much appreciated. I wish you only the best in your endeavors. I’m a fan of yours :-) and will now be following both you and your blogs. Thanks again and cheers!

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Flattery will get you everywhere with me, Angelique… ;)

      I’m glad you found the post helpful, and thrilled to have you as a “Your Writer Platform” Insider.

      Best of luck on your launch, and if you’d like a little extra guidance, have a look at the Book Launch Toolkit that Joel and I put together: https://bookdesigntemplates.leadpages.net/booklaunchtoolkit/

      Reply
      • Angelique Cooper McGlotten

        Kimberley, thanks for your response! I would never flatter you…I’m genuine when I say this is one of the best blogs I’ve read regarding this subject matter. :-) For months, I’ve read scads of informative blogs and articles on all aspects of publishing and this one truly stands out. So sincere kudos! I appreciate your kind wishes and will definitely look at the book launch tool kit that you and Joel have put together.

        Cheers!

        Reply
        • Kimberley Grabas

          Absolutely my pleasure, Angelique! I appreciate your positive feedback, and I hope you can use what you’ve learned to ROCK your launch! ;)

          Reply
          • Angelique Cooper McGlotten

            Thanks so much, Kimberley! I really appreciate your well wishes. What I’ve learned from your post and others will go a long way in helping my book launch be a success. As you said, identifying my target audience will make everything MUCH easier. Cheers!

            Gratefully,
            Angelique

  2. Gail Brenner

    These are wonderful ideas, Kimberley. Thank you!

    I have just launched a book that did pretty well due to pre-orders from my blog community and a free kindle promotion, but now sales are dropping. I’m at a crossroads trying to figure out how best to get my message out there, and I think I need to be clearer on my target market. I read above that you will be doing a 4-point series on how to research the target market, and I look forward to that. Can you offer any suggestions about how to develop an “insanely deep connection” with them? Thanks so much.

    Reply
  3. Mike Scheuhing

    Artists never pander.

    Reply
  4. MD Kepley

    Thank you so much for this article. I found it to be an awesome motivation as I work to finish my first novel. I havery dabbled in thoughts of a launch party but now I am more encouraged to get busy and geared up for it. I was holding off because I didn’t think it was time. Thanks to you I am going to start working on what I hope is a successful launch coming soon.

    Thank you again
    MD

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Fanatstic MD! Best of luck, and I hope you reach (and exceed) your launch goals. :)

      Reply
  5. J.E. Lowder

    Spot on! I’m taking the good & bad I learned from my previous book launches to make my next release better. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Exactly how it should be done J.E.!

      Think of your book launches as steps – each one elevating your visibility, your influence and your career one level higher.

      Reply
  6. thia/Basilia

    Thanks Joel for all your help!
    I am not really in the market to sell books for money! Instead I am in the market to spread the greatest message that ever hit this earth anew!
    Thus I have been inspired to avail myself of all means at hand to spread this message to the four corners of the earth and reach every single one of the souls to whom this message is addressed!
    I am totally amazed to see how this task is being accomplished with minimal effort in my part.
    For the valuable things that you outlined in this blog I have done without realizing what I was doing–the opportunity to blog came to me after many years of site building without me searching for it!
    As the result of my blogging I now know my audience and have built me a following! My voice is in the air and I know that the mission shall be accomplished by the power from on high.
    But I am writing this comment to thank you for confirming that what I am doing is on the money!
    Thanks,
    HIs love in my heart for all, thia/Basilia

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Excellent Thia!

      Keep sharing your message – the world needs more people who are able to share their “why” (not just what they do).

      Reply
  7. Kellie-Ann

    Kimberly, I love your posts! Very informative for aspiring writers like myself. I love how you not only address the problems most new authors face, but also offer solutions to prevent those problems from happening.

    My biggest struggle is knowing my audience and being a solitary hermit strictly bound to the confines of my apartment (a.k.a. a lone wolf). I’m barely beginning to understand the importance of reaching out and communicating with other writers, authors and author wannabes.

    Obviously, there’s a lot more to think about when publishing comes around, but there’s a lot of information out there to help us floundering newbies prepare appropriately, this post included.

    Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge!

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Thanks so much Kellie-Ann!

      My biggest pet peeve is only getting half the info I need to do something. So I try to make sure that I share as much as I can and ensure my readers aren’t left hanging! ;)

      And you are definitely not alone in your struggle to know and understand your audience.

      Because I get so many questions on exactly how you pin them down, I will be doing a free 4-part video series on the topic of identifying your target audience. The videos will cover these 4 areas in some detail:

      Identifying exactly who it is that you are trying to reach, what you need to know about them and how to find this information.

      Understanding what they need, how they think and the language they use, plus how to uncover their most pressing issue, problem or desire (and why it’s essential that you know what it is).

      Differentiating yourself and your work from other writers – what do you bring to the table?

      Engaging with your audience. How to find out where they are online and off. How to develop the content they want (and that you can deliver). And how to identify influencers (top authors in your niche, book bloggers, industry professionals) that can help you earn trust and visibility with the group you want to reach.

      Reply
  8. Jessica Falconer

    Thanks so much for this post! The urge to rush really hits home for me. First, as an editor, it is absolutely painful to read a book whose author has chosen to publish without editing, just to “get it out there.” That said, however, as an aspiring author, I am totally sympathetic to the urge. I have been working on a book for two years now, and every November I convince myself that this has to be the month that I “finally” actually publish. This entry is a good reminder that it’s okay to be slow, thanks!

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Well, “slow” might not be the word I’d use Jessica. ;)

      You do have to eventually pull the trigger, so putting a little pressure on yourself to get it done and out into the world is a good thing.

      But, the key is realizing that HALF your job is to write a brilliant book – the other half is to get it into the hands of the people who will benefit from it.

      Many writers spend the majority of their (already limited) time on the first part of their “job”; very little on the second. And receive poor results because of it.

      Reply
  9. Eric Tangumonkem

    Thanks for sharing. It cost your valuable time to put this informtion out here and I commend you for that. Yes! You do not need deep pockets for a book lunch. Do something and continue building on it, you will eventually reap the fruits with time.

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      My pleasure Eric! And you’re right – deep pockets aren’t necessary, but a decent amount of time and commitment are.

      I think that can be a big hurdle for many writers to get over – realizing that the time and hard work they’ve devoted to writing their book is only the tip of the iceberg.

      That they’re not just “selling a book”, but building a career. ;)

      Reply
  10. Kimberley Grabas

    Thanks Maria!

    I don’t think focusing on what you write, and who should read it, should be thought of as an “either/or”.

    In fact, it’s best if you discover these together as you write.

    As you narrow in on what your work is all about, it gets easier to recognize those people who will truly be interested.

    P.S. Would love to travel to Greece! Greetings from Canada! :)

    Reply
  11. Wendy Raebeck

    Thank you for this post, Kimberley (and Joel). These tips are perfect timing for me, as I’m about to launch my second book (“I Did Inhale”) and then my third (“Expedition Karakima”). One does feel ‘rushed’ and I’m not sure why. Guess it’s because the damn thing’s finally done, and you’re afraid it’ll lure you into more edits if it sits around. Any quick notes (or good links) for the exact process at Amazon for setting up pre-ordering? And then I direct my email list to my landing page, which links them to Amazon to pre-order? Gotta get it right! Thanks again.

    Reply
  12. Brandon Parker

    “A successful launch doesn’t require heaps of cash, a huge network or a secret handshake.”

    Okay, maybe not the secret handshake but otherwise it does. Such a liar! It makes me sick to see you sharking around new authors.

    Think on this. Do you know one “regular reader” outside of your writing and publishing circles who has ever heard of the book launch of a book that wasn’t en par with Harry Potter or Game of Thrones? Has anyone you know, outside of other authors and their families and closest friends, ever commented or engaged with a small author’s book launch in any way? Of course not.

    I love to read… [Editor: the remainder of this comment was deleted due to gratuitous insults.]

    Reply
    • MM Jaye

      Whitney Gracia Williams, L.A. Casey. Just two examples of indie authors (not big names) who fully engage with readers, mainly through Facebook. Hundreds of comments, especially in a pre-launch period.

      These gals write contemporary erotic romances. They know their audience, they speak its, language, they give the right incentives.

      Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Well, Brandon, I’m sorry you’ve become so cynical about indie publishing and those of us trying every day to help authors publish and promote their books effectively. You have a very limited view of the indie author community and the kinds of books they publish, so maybe just leave off criticizing people and pursue what seems best for you and your books.

      Reply
      • Z. R. Southcombe

        I’m a children’s author and have had one (physical) book launch – successful against my own goals – and am currently planning the next.

        While a good chunk of the attendees were family or friends, there were lots of friends-of-friends and several people whom I did not previously know.

        The biggest ‘tool’ for me is collaboration. I have teamed up with a bookshop, who take commission on sales. In addition, I’m blessed to know several friends in the art world – between myself, my illustrator, the bookshop, a photographer friend and a singer-songwriter friend, we managed to get the word out and create an event that will hopefully tick the entertainment box as well as the book launch box.

        Thanks for another helpful article, Joel.

        Reply
    • Derek Doepker

      I’ve launched multiple books to #1 bestseller status in some competitive niches… and I started out as a broke valet parker without a following.

      This has all happened within the past couple years and it’s done by implementing a lot of the things Joel is talking about.

      You make some great points about how to treat publishing as a long-term business built by consistently adding value and growing your readership over time.

      I don’t believe Joel is saying to ignore the day to day work of gradually building your audience or that one book launch is all it takes and then you never have to work again. Any criticism towards the recommendations here is confusing to me as it’s hard to argue with the logic of everything that’s presented.

      Book launches are one tool in an authors tool-belt which ideally would be strategically utilized, but not solely depended upon, for overall success.

      Reply
      • Adonis Maiquez

        Derek, it is very inspiring to see a comment from somebody who has published so many books (I checked your amazon page). It makes this whole writer journey believable!! Thanks a lot and good luck!!!

        Reply
        • Derek Doepker

          It’s definitely possible Adonis. What kept me going wasn’t just trying to become a bestselling author, but rather focusing on delivering something really valuable to readers. I believe when you have a bigger ‘why’ than simply selling books, it’s a lot easier to overcome the various challenges that will come up.

          Reply
  13. Richard Sutton

    Excellent post. Thanks. One of the things that seem to be among the most difficult though is the “engaging with your readers” before you have a recognized name or series brand. On most literary discussion forums and groups online, mentioning you are a writer is almost always the kiss of death. You have to slink about pretending you’re not really doing book reader niche research. Even if all you want to do is discuss things of general interest to those you think MIGHT become readers, on sites like Goodreads, etc., it’s best to keep a low profile to prevent troll bashing, etc. That makes engaging for those working towards a breakout book, very difficult if they don’t have some kind of recognition, industry cred, celebrity, etc., etc., Finding ways that don;t burn up too much time, to accomplish this burns up too much time, etc. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Connecting with readers is a tricky one, Richard, especially if you are still an “unknown” author.

      People need something to identify with – real life stories, a little human experience.

      Blogging is a great way to share your ideas, experiences and build a connection with like-minded individuals.

      Building an email list is also an excellent way to tap into your budding community, and ask people directly what they need or want more of from you.

      And social media, of course, allows you to first listen in on, and then join conversations that are not only relevant to your book topic or genre, but to you as a person with varied interests.

      Add value, learn what the group you want to attract cares about, and find ways to help them get it.

      Reply
  14. Chris Lee

    Hey Joel, thanks for posting this article. The timing is perfect for me as I am preparing for a book launch in about three months. In regards to number six, ‘Lacking an understanding of your market’, is there anywhere that we can find current market statistics? Thanks – CL

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Glad the article was timely for you Chris.

      You can find almost anything you need, if you ask dear ol’ Google. :)

      For example, if you’re trying to find some reader statistics for your romance novel, here’s what I found when I searched “romance novel reader demographics”: https://eweb.rwanational.org/eWeb/dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=StatisticsReader.

      You can use social media demographics to determine which social media platforms are the most used by your readers – and therefore which ones you should be devoting your time to.

      It may be a little painful to start digging into and researching this info, but it’s necessary.

      Best of luck on your launch!

      Reply
  15. Howard

    Kimberley – excellent helpful tips. You make us realize how much time, planning, and effort goes into promoting a book. It is probably the biggest hurdle for new writers. They have to do more research in this area which is my plan before releasing my next book. Thanks for your time and the valuable info you have provided.

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      Yes Howard, planning a book launch is no small task. And it is an especially big hill to climb for new writers, because they’re busy learning many new things at the same time.

      A successful book launch requires careful planning and has many moving parts, but it IS doable.

      The tools are available for all authors, it’s just a matter of knowing the “how”, “what” and “when” of the process.

      Reply
      • Howard Wand

        Kimberley — Thanks for to your response to my post. It is a big hill to climb even for someone with extensive executive marketing experience. Upon retiring I wrote a non-fiction self-help book — “One Rule” and paid a few thousand to have it self-published, but it has done poorly – even with the books I’ve sold directly. That is acceptable and all part of a learning process.

        My new book (almost done) is an action adventure fiction book that many who have sampled the first chapter feel could do well, and be a series. My feeling is that unless it is published through a traditional publisher who can guide the process, it may meet the same fate. Marketing and promoting a book is extremely difficult and time consuming. Of course, finding an agent and publisher is an equal challenge.

        More tips from pros like yourself and Joel as to the specific steps needed to effectively launch and promote a book can be truly helpful to many writers. Thanks again for your post and info.. Best of success.

        Howard

        Reply
        • Kimberley Grabas

          Hmmm, stay tuned Howard.

          Joel and I may have just what you’re looking for in the works… ;)

          Reply
  16. Joel Friedlander

    These are all great, Kim. The 2 I see most often in consultations with authors and #2 and #3, particularly “rushing to get it out there.” If more authors gave the same kind of commitment to building a platform from which to launch their books, there would be far fewer disappointed authors, and not nearly as many “crashes.” Thanks!

    Reply
    • Kimberley Grabas

      My pleasure Joel!

      Thanks for the opportunity to share some of these pitfalls with your audience. Fingers crossed they can avoid these mistakes when planning their own book launches. :)

      Reply
  17. MM Jaye

    Golden post! Where I see most new authors fail (myself included) is in the not-knowing-your-audience part. It’s not easy to find your voice from Book No. 1. There are exceptions, however. I recently interviewed a first-time author who, in two months, had written and launched a stepbrother romance (riding that trendy wave) the RIGHT way and in two weeks she hit No. 11 in the Kindle store. The paid one. She was targeted, focused and worked hard. That made me think that I might suffer from author identity crisis, and I should concentrate more on what I really want to write and less on who I’d like to read my book.

    Greetings from Greece!
    Maria (MM Jaye)

    Reply

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