Launching a book, no matter how many times you do it, can feel overwhelming and messy if you don’t get the timing right with each step you take.
In fact, it’s kind of like the “Jeremy Bearimy” from The Good Place (have you seen that show? What a masterpiece, right?)
Back to my point–launching without a clear timeline of events can result in you feeling like you’re in this crazy, back and forward loop:
“Crap, my cover reveal is already two weeks away but I don’t have the final design yet!” — loop back round the Y.
“Wait, I should have started sending out my ARCs out a month ago–they’re never going to finish reading in time for the release!” — annnnd we start spiralling down the B.
“Oh my God, I completely forgot to follow up with those book reviewers.” — up-down-up-down goes the M.
“Huh… maybe I should have done a lead magnet and built an email list earlier.” — …ah, and there’s the dot.
That’s why I created “launch phases” to help my clients understand where they are in their launch process and what to focus on SO THAT they don’t screw up the next stage of their launch.
Today, I’m going to share just a few of the major steps that come into play during each of these launch phases, so that you can make sure you’ve ticked off some of the most crucial book launching steps:
Do these early in your launch:
Quick note: Editing and cover design are the two things I strongly recommend not doing yourself, because they are such different skill sets to writing, and they will impact the quality, attractiveness and readability of your books.
Book editing is one of the steps that is going to take you the longest (I want to say a minimum of eight weeks, depending on how many rounds your book goes through and how many types of edits you choose to do).
So of course, you should aim to do your book edits as EARLY in the launch process as possible.
(If you’re not sure what kind of editing you need, or even how to find editors, I wrote a great post on this here).
One other golden tip I’d like to share is this: give yourself more time than you anticipate needing (especially if it’s your very first time launching a book).
95% of my 1:1 clients end up pushing their initial release days back due to unforeseen hiccups and timeline changes–not just with edits, but they’re usually the root cause and create a domino effect on the rest of your launch steps because you can’t format, send out ARCs, or upload your book to distributors until edits have been done.
Even I had to push back my editing timeline this year because I wanted to hire a sensitivity reader, and the one I chose didn’t have availability until late May. I initially planned to be done with edits back in April, but I’ve yet to go through proofreading and we’re almost into June now. Delays can happen even to the most seasoned of authors, so give yourself a grace period here.
Book Cover Design
Like editing, you should also be outsourcing your cover design and aiming to do this early (because the availability of your preferred designer might be out of your control).
But another reason to outsource your cover design early on is because you need to think about your cover reveal.
Covers are essentially branding for your book–they help establish brand impressions, which helps people remember you and your book, and if they see the cover enough times, they might just think about buying your book (there’s a whole psychology behind this, and it’s too long to explain here, so I’m giving you the nutshell summary).
Now of course, if you want to get maximum eyeballs on your book cover, doing a cover reveal makes sense, but planning will be key to a successful cover reveal so that it actually reaches far enough to be impactful.
This means networking, organising, and implementing a strategy where you have a lot of people on board helping you share the book cover. Either that, or having the foresight to book a book blitz far enough ahead of your planned release day–because the only thing stopping you from revealing a cover sooner is not having the cover, but you also want to make sure you’re not revealing it too close to your release day or else there won’t be enough time for brand impressions to take effect.
Do these around the mid-way point of your launch:
Once you’ve gone through editing and have a cover designed, this is really the only thing standing in your way of uploading your book to distributors so that the book can start selling.
Book formatting shouldn’t take you too long, but putting it off can delay a lot of other tasks that you want to spend a good amount of time implementing (such as sending out ARC copies and promoting pre-orders).
So either carve out some time to do this early in the second phase of your launch, or outsource it to a trusted professional and get it ticked off quickly.
Sending Out ARC Copies
This is something that I see a lot of authors doing way too late in their launches.
Imagine if someone came to you tomorrow and said:
“Hey, I have a book coming out in two weeks, do you think you could cancel all your plans, pause whatever book you’re currently reading, scrap any other requests you’ve gotten, and read my book before release day?”
Not a great feeling, is it?
So don’t do this to your readers.
It might only take book reviewers a week to read your book, but they haven’t been sitting around waiting for you to come knocking. They will have jobs to attend, books already on their TBR, and are going to need some notice to get around to your book.
I recommend trying to get your ARCs out to readers at least three months before the release day to give them ample time to leave you a review before the book comes out.
(Because that’s kind of the point of “Advanced Reader Copies”, isn’t it? To get reviews before release day so that you can make sales ON release day?)
This is just a fraction of what I teach in my book launch course, but these are some of the biggest things I see creating delays in one’s book launch timeline, so I wanted to make sure I covered them in depth here.
If this post helped you, then consider joining my Facebook Group, The Paperback Podcast Community, where I share so many more tips and strategies!
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Written by Pagan Malcolm
Pagan is a copywriter and business coach helping writers understand the business side of publishing so that they can become serious authors.