In these days of self-publishing, there is one thing from the traditional publishing model I would like to encourage you to really consider – your launch date. In the old days (so, five years ago) there was always a launch date. This was the date your publisher negotiated with the bookstores that they would put your book in that cool special display they had made just for your book, at the very front of the store. If you were J.K. Rowling, people lined up the night before to wait and buy your book. Nowadays, we have a harder time actually pinpointing the date when things go “on sale”. More often than not I see announcements that say “next week” or even “this summer”. People seem to have used the variances in internet retailer upload policies combined with the variances in freelance service provider deadline adherence as reasons to no longer have a true launch. I freely admit that I have, in the past, also been guilty of this laziness. But now I say – pick a date.
Your launch date = your deadline.
- This is the date by which you need your primary initial surge of support ready to fly.
- This is the date you pre-announce on your blog your book will be available for sale (please don’t make me explain again why you need a blog).
- This is the date you have all your Twitter followers primed and prepped ahead of time with a list of tweets.
- This is the date that you have all the advance readers of your book ready to write those reviews.
- This is the date you might want to have that party to say to friends, family and community members “thanks in advance for helping to spread the word for me” (if they drink your wine, they will feel more obligated to actually do it – there, I said it). No, I did NOT say a bookstore signing. Trust me, have a party, have some fun and make it only partly about your book.
Note that this does not have to be a year in the future as in the traditional publishing space, a few solid weeks will do. But DO have a launch date.
Wait, why should I have a launch?
- Most good bloggers are pretty backed up, and may need some time to get to your work.
- Your friends and family do want to help spread the word, but they have lives, and are busy. Give them some real time to read your book and figure out what if anything they can do to help you.
- You are human, and therefore will probably be more effective in your planning if there is a concrete date to plan towards.
- All the people you have hired to help you with your book (editors, designers, etc.) are also human, and also need a deadline to work towards. Trust me when I say that “I booked a room and made postcards” will carry more weight than “because I really want it”.
So – pick a date, do your planning, do your preparation, and LAUNCH!