The first step of any marketing strategy is to define your target customer, understand specific needs and desires, and then align your product or service accordingly. Thinking about the audience for your book occurs when you start to write it. Thinking about the planning for the launch of your new book begins long before you stop working on the book itself.
The goal of the launch is to create as much positive momentum for your book as possible from the very beginning of its life as a published work for sale. Positive momentum includes selling as many books as possible on the launch date. It also means achieving bestseller status on Amazon.com, and elsewhere. The earlier the planning for this momentum the better. Some key actions to support the launch may begin six weeks, or more, prior to the launch date.
Six weeks to launch: Solicit early adopters from your list of close friends and family. Have some of this group volunteer to be launch champions who will help to promote the book launch through their networks on the day of the launch. They will also be the first group of buyers for the book as soon as it is available.
Five weeks to launch: Prepare your lists of contacts on social media, email lists, and specific organizations or associations that may align well with the subject matter of your book. If your book is highly relevant to a particular group, reach out to recognized experts, associations, forums, and make them aware of the book. Offer to donate copies or sell some at a big discount for a particular cause. Ask experts for a written positive review or endorsement of your book. In addition, ask them to allow you to mention their use of the book in your promotional materials.
Four weeks to launch: Obtain written reviews for inclusion with the book launch promotion or even to be added to the book cover. Get commitments from friends and others for reviews online when the book is launched on sites such as Amazon.com.
Three weeks to launch: Prepare launch promotional flyers and communication. Keep your launch champions and early adopters informed of the schedules and key messages for your launch. It is important to get maximum benefit from their support by making it as easy for them as possible, and assuring the same consistent messaging throughout. Supply materials for your launch champions to use as well.
Two weeks to launch: Distribute your promotional flyer and supporting communications announcing the launch coming in two weeks. Adapt this material to your social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog site, web site and your email lists. Have your launch champions do the same and provide positive feedback and sharing of the message on their social networks.
One week to launch: Refresh the communications blast through all channels. Respond to all who comment on social media sites, it helps to build momentum.
Launch day: On the day of launch, send out your “available now” and “get your one day promo special” messages again. As the day progresses, monitor social media outlets and Amazon.com and encourage people to buy the book and thank those who provide positive feedback, or acknowledge their purchase of it. Remember, the launch is the start of your marketing campaign for your book. A successful launch makes a big difference to marketing efforts that follow. The planning for the launch (and for the marketing) must begin while you are still writing the book.