1. Marketing

A step-by-step guide to a successful book launch

Having a proper marketing plan is the key to any successful book launch event. Not only does this increase the chances of the book being a success, it also brings clarity to how you’ll get your target audiences excited about the book in advance.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the entire process of building a proper marketing plan for a successful book launch.

Importance of a marketing plan for book launch

While many might think that having a marketing plan for a book launch is unnecessary for small writers and self publishers, there are lots of great reasons to build a marketing plan even if you’re not working with a big publisher.

Let’s go through them one by one.

Clarity: As mentioned above, having a proper, well-defined marketing plan gives you clarity on all the steps you need to take to get your target audiences excited and ensure you have a successful book launch.

Build hype: A marketing plan is all about building hype about the book launch over a period of time using various channels like social media and email marketing.  So make sure you really think about and plan what will get your target audiences excited and talking about your new book ahead of it’s launch.

Increase chances of success: Having a strong marketing plan also increases your chances of making the book launch a success, as it touches upon various marketing strategies that are known to work well.

Build credibility: A part of the marketing plan also includes things like getting reviews from book reviewers, critics and influencers, their inputs and reviews can be easily converted into testimonials and marketing material which are great for building credibility and interest in the book.

So, a marketing plan really should be the backbone of any book launch, especially if you’re self-publishing.

Planning your book launch 

Effective planning is at the heart of a successful book launch.

It involves understanding your audience, choosing the right platforms, deciding on the format of your event, and much more.

Here are a few key ideas to include into your marketing plan: 

Leveraging social media

No matter whether you cater to B2B or B2C, social media has become one of the biggest marketing channels for businesses of all kinds. Ignoring it is not a good idea.

A big advantage of social media is that it’s completely FREE! You can simply select between platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X) and TikTok based on what your target audience uses and get started.

An example of an author promoting her book on socials
An example of an author promoting her book on socials

For starters, you can start posting snippets, quotes, and short videos (made using content from the book) that would excite people and motivate them to purchase when the actual launch happens.

Let’s understand social media strategy with an example: assume your upcoming book is about romantic poems. If you’d like to market it on social media, simply convert a few poems into Instagram posts and reels. You’d be amazed to see how people love to enjoy content in various other formats.

Getting a boost from influencers

The growth of social media has also contributed to the growth of social media influencers.

Though many might find influencer marketing expensive, if done right it can have a great return on investment (ROI) – better than ads. To get started with influencer marketing, try to find popular accounts based on your niche. Then simply reach out to them and do a deal to promote your product.

An example of an influencer's post about a upcoming book
An example of an influencer’s post about an upcoming book

Here are some popular deal/partnership options:

Up-front deal: In an up-front deal, you simply pay an influencer to promote and talk about your product (book in this case) and in-exchange they get a fixed fee irrespective of how the campaign performs. This is the most common way of getting a product promoted by influencers.

Barter deal: A deal in which you would give your product in-exchange for a social media post is what a barter deal is, this is generally common with smaller/new influencers with limited reach/followers. Though you may not get a high reach, this is a good option as you don’t pay much for the promotion – just the cost of your product.

Performance linked pay: This type of agreement is when the influencer gets paid based on certain key performance indicators (KPIs) like views, likes, or conversions. This may sometime also include a fixed fee element, while the variable fee is based on the KPIs. The good thing about this approach is that it’s a win-win for you and the influencer – if the promotion works you both benefit and if it doesn’t you’ve minimised your losses.

In short, connecting with influencers is a really great way to amplify your promotional efforts, and can be a game-changer for your book launch.

Promoting in book clubs

Though authors know about book clubs, most tend to ignore them for pre-launch and only approach them after the book has launched. This is a suboptimal approach, as you’re missing on the opportunity to build and sustain hype.

You can simply start by sharing about your book, a summary, and maybe snippets as well to get the members of the clubs excited. This can also be a way of collecting testimonials if you decide to share the book before launch in a closed group of readers who have a good following or reputation in the club.

Remember, these aren’t just any readers, they are passionate individuals who could potentially become influential advocates for your book.

Display ads

While advertisements might not always deliver the best return on investment (ROI), they can offer significant benefits like helping people discover your book for the first time. Using display ad networks like Google and Facebook can really help in showcasing your upcoming book. 

To begin, all you need to do is create a potential audience. Consider factors such as age, gender, and profession to find those likely to be interested in your book. Once you launch your ad on these networks, it’ll be displayed across various platforms, bringing your book to the attention of prospective readers. 

Having an email marketing strategy

Finally, having an email marketing strategy in place in a great add-on – using it to connect with your existing subscribers and start talking about your upcoming book. If you don’t already have an email list, you can easily start building one by talking about your newsletters on socials and also including a link in the “About Author” section.

Your email strategy should be to send multiple emails with some interval talking about the upcoming book, such as what it is and why they should be reading it. You can also include a discount code in your final email as a reward and motivation to make the purchase (or pre-order).

Sample email promoting a book

Finally, don’t forget to ask for reviews after the launch. Positive reviews can encourage other potential readers to buy and boost your book sales.

Some final thoughts

Writing a good book is a big challenge, but the bigger one is to ensure it reaches the audience it deserves, and a planned book launch is a great way to achieve this.

Though these are some of the most common ideas and tips for a successful book launch, you can adapt it, add and remove steps based on your personal goals. That being said, it’s always a good idea to diversify your marketing efforts across multiple channels so you can reach the largest audience possible.

All the best and if you’d like an email marketing tool for your book launch then check out EmailOctopus – it’s completely free for up to 2,500 subscribers and trusted by many successful authors and creatives. Do checkout this case study we did with Liz Gavin, an international best-selling romance writer.

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