Clicking “save” on the final version of your book is a phenomenal feeling.
You’ve worked on your book for years, and you’re ready to share it with the world. But be careful. You are at great risk of making one of the classic blunders.
According to The Princess Bride, the first classic blunder is getting into a land war in Asia, but the second, and only slightly less well-known, is launching your book as soon as it is finished.
Prematurely launching a book is like having a baby prematurely.
If a friend sent you this blog post, it means they love you and want your book to succeed. Your friend wants your book to have a happy, healthy birth.
One of the best ways to give your book a great start is to delay your launch.
If you’re traditionally published, your delay is built in. You have no choice but to wait. Use your season of waiting to prepare for your book’s launch.
If you’re publishing independently, you get to choose when you launch.
In this article, you’ll learn the ten most important reasons to delay your launch. Your delayed launch will give you time to do the following:
1. Time to Build Anticipation
Do you remember waiting for Christmas as a kid? The weeks leading up to Christmas were some of the happiest weeks of the year.
Your happiness didn’t come from the presents because you hadn’t received them yet. Your happiness was due to the anticipation of the presents.
Anticipation is an amplifier. It makes good things better and bad things worse.
The anticipation of Christmas day is often better than opening presents.
The anticipation of a difficult conversation is often worse than the conversation itself.
Building anticipation among your readers requires time. If you upload your book to Amazon as soon as it’s finished, you have no time to feed a reader’s longing, anticipation, and excitement for your book’s arrival.
Taking the time to grow anticipation will greatly increase your chances of hitting the #1 New Release status in your Amazon category on launch day. That is worth waiting for!
2. Time to Finished Editing
The quality of the finished manuscript determines the success of your book. But bestsellers are not made on the blank page during the first draft. Bestsellers are uncovered during editing.
The back and forth with your editor requires time and focus, especially if you’re editing your first book. Some professional authors can edit and market their books on the same day, but that discipline only emerges after an author has published at least half a dozen books.
Many authors throw themselves fully into the editing process, as they should, but they ignore the marketing entirely. That strategy works if you don’t launch your book right away, but too often, the author’s excitement supersedes reason, and she publishes too soon. That author will spend the next few years trying to get people to buy her book.
Sadly, once a book is a few months old, it’s old. Tens of thousands of new books have been released since then, and the magic of being a New Release on Amazon has worn off. Some authors, like Brandon Sanderson, make more sales during the preorder window than during the remaining lifetime of the book.
It is difficult to breathe new life into an old book with additional marketing. It is possible, but it’s hard and expensive. A strong launch requires patience and preparation. If you wait and prepare, the rest of your marketing will be easier.
3. Time to Print and Send ARCs
One way to build anticipation is to selectively release finished copies of your book to influential people who get to read it before it launches.
These early copies of your book are called Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs). You’ll need time and money to print and ship ARCs to influencers. You must also allow time for the influencers to read the book.
Sending digital ARCs is faster, cheaper, and less effective. While book reviewers are happy with a digital ARC, most influencers expect a physical copy. A booktoker or bookstagramer can’t make a good video or photo with a digital ARC. They need a beautiful physical copy to display in their video on TikTok or a photo on Instagram.
As soon as you finish editing your book, get started ordering and sending ARCs because this stage of your launch progresses slowly. You’ll have to wait for your printer to print and ship copies. You’ll spend time individually packaging and shipping those copies to your influencers. Then you’ll have to wait for the influencer to read the book and create their post or review. Start this process as soon after editing as possible.
Where do you get the money the print and purchase the ARCs? Well, you’ll have to save for it.
4. Time to Save Money
The word “save” has been distorted by department stores. When you buy a $100 pair of pants for 60% off, you don’t save $60. You spend $40. You walk out of the store with $40 fewer dollars than you walked in with.
Saving money actually means not spending the money you currently have so that you can spend it in the future. Before credit cards, most people saved up for big purchases.
If you delay your launch by nine months and save $500 per month, you’ll have a marketing budget of $4,500. That is a bigger budget than most traditionally published books are allotted. A $4,500 budget could give you an edge on authors who rushed to launch.
5. Time to Polish Your Website
Another reason to delay your launch is to make time to polish your website. If you already have a website, you probably have a long list of tweaks you’d make if you only had the time.
If you delay your launch, you will have the time!
Improving your website while waiting to launch allows you to include all the info about your upcoming book on your website.
If you need help with your author website, take my free course. It will help you turn your website into a place readers want to visit and share.
6. Time to Grow Your Email List
The size of your email list predicts the success of your launch. If people won’t trust you with their email address, why would they trust you with their money?
We talk a lot about email marketing on this show. Growing an email list and building trust with your subscribers takes time. You can’t rush it.
Creating a reader magnet, building a landing page, and embedding a form on your website to collect email addresses all require time—as in weeks, not hours. Imagine how much easier it would be to complete those tasks if you set aside time for them after you’re done working through edits from your editor.
You’ll have more mental bandwidth to devote to marketing tasks when you’re not under the gun with editing.
7. Time to Set Up Media Interviews
Podcast interviews are currently one of the best ways to promote books, but podcasts have long lead times.
If you want to be interviewed on the Christian Publishing Show, you’ll have to wait several months for the interview date and then several more months for the episode to air.
Some podcasters have dozens of episodes recorded and in the queue. Even if they dropped dead today, pre-recorded episodes would keep posting for months.
Not all podcasters work that far in advance. If you were a guest on the Novel Marketing Show, your episode could air in a couple of weeks. But sometimes, it takes us a month or more to schedule an interview time that works for the host and the guest.
Your launch delay gives you time to schedule media interviews. Podcasters and broadcasters can easily turn down a guest who wants to get booked right away, but it’s harder to say no to a guest who can wait six months for their interview.
8. Time to Recruit and Train Your Launch Team
Your launch team, or street team, is an integral part of your launch. A launch team is comprised of your most dedicated fans who want to read your book as soon as it comes out and then spread the word about it.
It takes time to develop fans, set up a launch team application, vet applicants, organize the group in an online forum, and train them for the tasks that will make their fandom most beneficial to your book’s release.
9. Time to Plan an Amazing Launch Party
If you host an in-person celebration, invite people early and remind them often about the party.
The easiest launch party is an all-day open house at your home on a Saturday. You won’t have to reserve or pay for a venue. You’ll just have to tidy up and maybe offer refreshments.
Invite everyone you would invite to a wedding. Then spend some of your saved money to hire house cleaning or catering help.
10. Time to Get Training
If setting up a launch feels overwhelming, it may be because you feel rushed. It may also be that you lack the training. The best way to decrease book-launch-overwhelm is to learn how to launch and find out what mistakes to avoid.
In my course, Book Launch Blueprint, you’ll learn how to make all these preparations. We’ll provide templates, examples, and coaching for you as you plan each step. We make launching your book as easy as it can be.
If you Google “How to Launch a Book,” you’ll get over 500 million results. That’s a problem.
Because how do you know which sites will give sage advice and which ones are wannabes?
You can’t afford to spend your time (or money) on programs built on wishful thinking. You need proven strategies that will launch your book into the stratosphere successfully.
That’s precisely why we created the Book Launch Blueprint.
The Book Launch Blueprint is a 28-day, interactive course developed by Novel Marketing host Thomas Umstattd Jr. (that’s me!) and Christy Hall of Fame author James L. Rubart.
You will learn exactly what you must do to make your book launch a resounding triumph.
Learn more at BookLaunch.fun
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