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Opinion: How To Prepare A Successful Book Launch

Opinion: How to Prepare a Successful Book Launch

A book launch is one part excitement and one part terror. You’re finally putting your creation out into the world, which means… you’re actually putting your creation into the world! People can have opinions and make judgments. But you can also find wonderful readers and supporters of your work. ALLi author member Kristan Julius recently launched her first independently published book and is here to explain how she made it a success.

How to Prepare a Successful Book Launch

Kristan Julius

On January 3rd of this year, I released my first independently published book. Was it easy? It was not. In fact, I’d compare the process to giving a long-overdue birth, with a drawn-out, gruelling labour, (cue Hollywood-style screams of agony). As a previously traditionally published author, I had no idea at the outset just how hard it would be to bring forth a book.

Would I do it again, and do I consider my debut indie launch a success? That’s an unequivocal YES x 2. After making the leap to indie, I’ve never looked back. At the time of this writing, Portents of Chaos is on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list in four categories, and the reviews so far there and on Goodreads are all five stars.

So, what have I learned in the process?

Here are my six personal take-aways for making your book project a winner:

Take Your Time to Make Your Book the Best It Can Be

Take the time to ensure the work is worthy of your readers, and that you can “deliver” the goods. I started writing Portents, the first book of The Drinnglennin Chronicles, in August of 2014. I knew it would be a complex tale with multiple protagonists, and so I made the decision from the start that I wouldn’t release any of the books until the last of the series was finished. I know this approach is not for everyone, but I’m glad I stuck to this promise.

When Portents went on sale, I was able to assure readers that the complete quartet will be out in the first half of 2020, which I believe makes potential buyers more likely to give The DC a go.

Create a Team of Professionals for Your Book Launch

I rarely use the term “self-publishing” because there are a number of dedicated people supporting my project. I’ve committed a lot of time (and a fair chunk of money) to getting them on board, but as in any business, you want the best team behind you, and that requires an investment. My developmental editor, Betsy Mitchell, and my copy/line editor, David Gatewood, are among the best in the business, and both have contributed significantly to the betterment of the Chronicles. Gwen Shackleton, an amazingly talented artist, is providing original art for each cover. I hired a professional website designer (yes, you do need a website AND a mailing list), formatter, and cartographer to draw my maps.

Embrace Being an Authorpreneur

I know—we’re writers first, and it’s our true passion. But until you adopt a positive mindset toward promotion, marketing and distribution, you’ll miss out on the fun (really!) of developing new skills to make sure your book finds its way into the hands of readers who are out there waiting to love it. Attend independent writers conferences, take online workshops, listen to podcasts, connect with book bloggers, and join writers forums either in person or on FB. By doing so, you’ll meet valued colleagues and find the answers to the thousands of questions wheeling ’round in your head.

Establish a Genuine Presence on Social Media

Social media is a godsend for authors, and it’s free! Test out different venues until you find the one that works for you, then be active, consistent and yourself. My personal favorite is Twitter, where I “hang out” with a very supportive #writingcommunity, spending a part of each day engaging with other writing ‘tweeps’. We help promote each other’s work, share our writing challenges and successes, and generally have fun interacting. In six months, I’ve gone from 215 followers to over 22k. I’m also connecting with authors on Instagram, post regularly to my FB author page, and am becoming more of a presence on LinkedIn.

Rally the Troops

You need to build momentum in order to generate enthusiasm for your work. This means starting at least six months in advance to talk with family and friends, both in person and on social media, about your upcoming release. Be genuine and confident whenever you do so. If you project a belief in and excitement for your craft, it’s bound to be contagious. On the day of my launch, I put out the word that if people were planning on purchasing my book, doing it this day would give me a huge boost. Almost all the books I sold were to people with whom I’d been sharing my progress over the years, who stepped up for the on-line launch, made purchases and put Portents all over FB, Twitter and IG.

Pace Yourself and Keep Moving Forward

Independent publishing is challenging, no question, and instant success is by no means guaranteed. As many in ALLi have noted, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But I believe that if you make a steady, dedicated commitment to creating new, well-written content and spreading the word about your work, it will be read.

In the meantime, take time each day to acknowledge your achievements and recognize how far you’ve come. You CAN do this! And once you bring that baby home, wrapped in its beautiful cover, invite all your friends to a party to admire it and celebrate this wonderful writing life.

Launching a Successful Book from @kristan_julius {permalink} #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG #amwriting #writingcommunity #writetip Click To Tweet

OVER TO YOU

What do you do to prepare for a successful book launch?

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Kristan Julius

K.C. Julius is a hybrid fantasy author. Portents of Chaos, the first book of her high fantasy series, The Drinnglennin Chronicles, will be released on Jan. 3, 2020, with the rapid-release of the rest of the series to follow in the first half of the year. Beyond the Green Door (Lothian 2002-YA) was published under Kristan Julius. Check out K.C.’s website at: https://www.kcjulius.com

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