Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Book Launch Dos and Don'ts

First off, one should not schedule the pre-order release of a book, then promptly be pretty much out of commission for a couple of weeks. That is the big DON'T on the list.
Early in August, I got the edits back from ALTO Editing for Desperate Season, and sent the manuscript to a professional to format the book for Kindle and paperback. I already had the new cover, so it was good to go as soon as formatting was finished.

Luckily, about the same time I set up some ads in advance at sites like Kindle Book Review and Kindle Nation Daily. A friend offered to feature the book on his blog if I sent him an excerpt and the ordering information. I put all that together right away, except for the link to order. That I could send later. Here is the sample at Caleb and Linda Pirtle's terrific website where they promote other authors as much as their own books, which are quite good, by the way. 

It's a good thing I did all that work early on, because I got slammed again with lots of pain from the Trigeminal Neuralgia I have that was a gift from Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. I never know when the pain is going to get out of control, and it always seems to come at the most inconvenient times. Not that there's ever a convenient time for pain, but you know what I mean.

Part of my pre-order plan included sending out a newsletter to my subscribers, as well as some folks selected from my contacts list.  During the first few days of the big push, I offered Open Season, the first book in the series, as a free read, then left it in the KDP program so it could be free for KU. It's still a bargain book at only .99, and I may keep it at that price indefinitely as a loss leader. 

Offering the book free led to a couple of new reviews, and quite a few people are reading the sample pages that generates a few sheckels for each page read. 

What I haven't been able to do yet, is set up a giveaway on Goodreads. Their website isn't the easiest to navigate and even after watching a Webinar about how to effectively use Goodreads for promotion, I've had a hard time over there, but I haven't given up. I need to get the paperback ready to go, then I'll do that after the book releases October 2.

One thing I've learned in the past three and a half weeks is that there is only so much a person can do, then they have to just stop. Taking care of ourselves has to take top priority, otherwise we won't be able to write another book. And I'm already starting on book four in the series. I didn't plan to. I thought the series would end with Desperate Season, and I even tied up a few sub-plots, so fans of the series would be satisfied if there wasn't another book. 

Yet, Sarah and Angel started talking to me again, mainly telling me they had something to say about current affairs. Those familiar with the series know that racial issues have played a part in the lives of the characters and the story lines, so it's really not a surprise that the detectives have strong reactions to police brutality and the protests against systemic racism. 

After reading Pat Smith's post, Putting the P back in Productivity, I had an "aha" moment. She wrote about pulling aspects of the pandemic into a current WIP, and how that had spurred a bout of creativity. The minute I started listening to my characters, I had the same excitement for the writing that Pat had. Excitement that had been missing for a lot of us for weeks and weeks.

So here's my list of what to do for a pre-order book launch. 
  • Get professional editing, formatting and artwork before publishing
  • Set up ads in advance to run on different dates
  • Send out a newsletter, offering the subscribers a free book or gift
  • Offer another book free, or at a discount, as a loss leader
  • Set up release day events on Facebook and Goodreads
  • Announce it on your website
  • Promote on social media
Regarding that last suggestion, be careful not to bombard people with Tweets or posts that are always about "buy my book." That's tantamount to walking into a party with books under your arm and accosting other guests. I post once a day on Twitter and am happy when that Tweet gets shared by a number of people that are following me. The other fifteen or twenty minutes I spend on Twitter twice a day are devoted to sharing other people's posts and joining conversations about books and writing and other topics of interest. 

Marketing experts say that we should always end with the "ask" so people don't overlook the opportunity to buy when reading all the verbage in an ad or newsletter, or even a blog post. 

So, here's my ask. You can pre-order Desperate Season for only $1.99 before the release date of October 2, when the price will go up to $3.99.

If you have any tips on marketing and launching a book to add to this, please do share, especially if you are proficient in using Instagram. Do you agree about the "ask?" I always have such a hard time with that. :-)

Posted by Maryann Miller  Still maintaining social distancing, you can find out more about Maryann, her books, and her editing services on her Website and her Amazon Author Page, read her Blogand follow her on Facebook and TwitterHer online workshop on self-editing, part of a series of online writing workshops from Short And Helpful, can be found HERE


  1. That was a great "ask", Maryann. It worked for me. Thanks for the tips on a self-pubbed book launch. I'm going to give it a shot with my new frontier fiction novel and was looking for ideas.

    1. I'm glad you found the tips helpful, Pat. Good luck with your book launch, and thanks so much for ordering my book. Eager to hear what you think of it after you read it.

  2. Congratulations on the new release, Maryann!

    1. Thanks, Elle. I'm pretty psyched about it. Obviously Sarah and Angel are, too, as they won't let me quit the series. LOL

  3. All good tips! Glad you are continuing the series.

  4. Glad you found the tips helpful, Diana. I'm happy to be continuing the series as long as the detectives keep wanting me to.

  5. I love your "ask" because of what it does not say. No "please by my book". Instead, you let your potential reader know they can get a significant discount through November 1. You're saving them money rather than pleading with them to buy for your sake. Well done, Maryann! :-)

    1. Thanks, Linda. I've never been comfortable with that direct, "please buy my book" approach. It's always been easier for me to ask people to please buy my friends' books, which is why I'm so willing to feature them on my blog.


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