I had a great time participating in Dan Blank’s #GetRead conference and getting to share ideas focusing in on The Meaningful Book Launch.
First of all, congratulations to Dan Blank for putting together such a great online conference. Great speakers and panels, and a very engaged audience asking great questions and sharing useful information in the chat sidebar and on twitter.
I tried to keep my focus on the book launch — the date for which your book comes out. It was great to have this panel moderated by Ron, because he was actually instrumental in helping along a launch party I threw back in 2007 for my Working For The Man book. He was running GalleyCat at the time, and was able to arrange it so that MediaBistro sponsored the launch party. It was a successful one!
So here were the main points I was trying to get across during The Meaningful Book Launch session:
— The launch date — the day your book officially publishes — serves as a definitive marker for when everything that you need to have done is set and ready to roll. Let that date, off in the distance, help diminish any propensity you might have to procrastinate on things like getting your digital platform in order, reaching out to contacts, writing your letters and media releases, not to mention blog posts and guest blog posts and all the rest of it. You want to have all that in order and moving at full steam ahead by the time your launch date arrives.
— If you haven’t finished your book yet, of course, focus on that, and not all the things you need to get done for the launch (of the book that isn’t even finished yet!)
— If you are still working on your book, that doesn’t mean you won’t have ideas for your book launch campaign — create a file folder (physical or digital) to place all these ideas when they come to you — places to throw a party, people you want to invite, possible co-sponsors, etc. — and open up and start organizing all those ideas once your book is done and it’s time to commence the planning of your book launch campaign.
— A party on your launch date is a go-to idea. And the publication of your book certainly does deserve one. Just keep in mind that a party is a heavy-duty commitment in terms of your time and resources. You want to make sure you are able to balance all of your efforts, because a party should just be one component of your launch plan. The short of it: Don’t let the party planning take up all your focus and energy.
— Know your contact lists well and have them organized — know exactly how you are going to reach out to your readers, family members, co-workers, colleagues and more. Each requires different messaging. Some people you can ask things of, others, you just want to share the fact that your book is out. It takes time to cultivate these lists and calibrate the messaging. Do it well before the day your book comes out.
— Be prepared for the world to be perfectly normal on your launch day. Don’t get depressed if a ticker tape parade hasn’t been arranged in your honor. The fact is, there won’t be one. Most of what happens that day will be because you made it happen.
— While it is true that you should think of a long term strategy for promoting your book, your launch day is especially significant for media and review opportunities. Books came out the week before your launch, and books will come out the week after. And so on and so forth. Media and bloggers pay attention to publication dates, and want their stories and reviews to appear before, on, or very close to that date. Make sure you take this into account, sending out review copies and pitches, not to mention the painstaking follow-up efforts, well before your book launch.
— Be absolutely sure to set aside time to thank people — those who are congratulating you on social media and via email, as well as all those people who helped you make the launch day possible in the first place.
— Launch = Logistics was a visual I held up towards the end of the session. It’s all about knowing which levers to pull and when, which requires planning, so my main advice is to work hard to make that plan a solid one, so that when it comes time to execute, you are prepared and everything runs smoothly (or smooth enough so that when the inevitble surprises come up, you will have no problem whatsoever dealing with the unexpected). If your are stressed out and feeling like you aren’t going to get done what you need to get done, that you are rushing around and missing out on opportunities — you’ll be feeling bad, about yourself, and about your book. And that’s unacceptable!
— Because perhaps the most important thing to remember is that your book launch is cause to celebrate. If you’ve done it right — if you planned things out well in advance, you should be able to find the time to savor all that you have accomplished, hopefully with all of the people who mean the most to you.
— So, last piece of advice, remember to put that good bottle of champagne in the fridge, so that it’s properly chilled and ready to pop!