For those of you who haven’t experienced an indie book launch, yet, here’s a more in-depth peek into mine. When you’re ready to launch your book, take a page from my experience to keep your head above water better than I did!
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears saying again: I’m a pantser. I write stories with no earthly idea of how they’re going to end until I come barreling, full-stop, into that final paragraph. While “pantser” playfully describes a writer who writes the way I do, it has an expanded definition. I’m obviously a pantser when it comes to publishing, as well, and I’ll bet there are more of you out there!
Planning? If you call doing a few casual Google searches for “book launch” and seeing what surfaces, then I definitely did it. Afterward, I proceeded to ignore all the advice out there. My beta readers doubled as reviewers, too. I distributed ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) too close to the launch date, about 3 weeks in advance, which meant some folks didn’t have time to read it and review for soft launch. I did pin a Tweet on my Twitter profile a few weeks out and changed it slightly as launch date neared, but other than that, I didn’t really “get out there”.
Crazy, right? In my “other life”, I once planned vast marketing campaigns in corporate America. Yet I take a minimalistic approach to my own marketing. What gives?
Your first book launch can be daunting. I mean truly scary. There’s so much information out there to sift through, and so many people trying to get you to buy something. This muddies the water considerably when you’re determining what items to focus on for success. Everyone wants to sell your their promotion service. Twitter, Facebook, book promotion companies, makers of book trailers, book graphics, advertising companies and others clamor for your hard-earned dollars. Wait! You haven’t even earned your first book dollar yet. Companies want you to give up money that you don’t even have for a wish and a prayer. You have to hope you’ll recoup it once you release your book into the wild.
This pressure to spend is the real reason I conducted such a pared-down launch. It’s my first fiction book launch. I’ll have more. Being minimal as possible when spending money means when I add something to my next launch, I’ll have a good comparison. There was a lot of do-it-yourself magic in the way I approached this first try. I made my own graphic ads on Canva. I signed up for Freebooksy, a service that will shout your book out for free. At one a.m. on the day of my hard launch, I got up and sat, bleary-eyed, at the computer to announce my book on the Kindle Boards. Let’s not forget sending a mass email to anyone who ever ended up on my contacts list for any reason, whatsoever.
I know that I delayed my launch for months out of sheer terror. What if something went wrong? What if I uploaded the wrong file (I thought I did at one point)? KDP said they were running my free book days on February 3rd and 4th, but what if they got the dates wrong? I must have checked those dates in my account a million times. What if a server went down? Nuclear holocaust? My mind came up with any and every disastrous scenario at there. In the end, everything was fine. Successful, even. So don’t let your own fear derail your success. Just press the button, set your prices, do what marketing you decide upon, and relax. Breathe. Nothing will be done that can’t be undone. Did you know you can re-launch your book? If the first launch has glitches, just do it again. Don’t let the enormity of what you’re doing — publishing your first book — keep you from actually doing it!
Next week, I’ll share my exact timeline and marketing tools and give you the actual numbers from my launch. So stay tuned! And if you need something to read while you’re waiting, Salt in the Blood is only .99 right now. Get it here!
See you on the next page!