The Three-Month Book Launch Rule: Break It at Your Own Risk

Are you getting ready to launch your book? Excellent! One of the most important pieces of advice I give to authors is to start at least three months in advance. I caution you to break this rule at your own risk. Let me tell you why.

There are several elements involved in the launch of your book which need advanced planning. First-time and self-published authors often underestimate the pre-launch strategy. Some of them don’t appreciate the importance of having a book on Amazon for pre-orders, or of giving reviewers enough time to read the book and post the review. Media pitching, writing and distributing a press release, and planning for events like book launches, all take time. Plus, having an author platform in place is a must in today’s digital environment.

To effectively pre-market your book, I recommend starting three months from the launch date. Doing so gives you the time you need for so many important pre-launch strategies. Let’s explore the most important ones.

 

List Your Book on Amazon 90 Days in Advance

You are able to post the book for pre-orders on Amazon 90-days from the launch—take advantage of this option. Publishers do this, so you should, too.

Pre-orders gives people the ability to order your book in advance. You will actually start making sales prior to the launch, and this gives purpose to your pre-launch marketing.

Use this link in all your pre-launch publicity and promotions. It should be in your press release, social media posts, and shared with your book reviewers.

Book Reviews and Advanced Reading Copies

In the publishing world, Advanced Reading Copies, also called ARCs, or galleys, are sent out several months in advance so book reviewers, librarians, media, and industry professionals can read the book before it launches. Both physical and digital ARCs are recommended for advanced reviews. I also strongly suggest having the cover complete in advance, especially for those who want physical copies—our team of Book Bloggers love to post their ARC copies on Instagram, for example, so a final cover design is important.

Strategize in advance to make sure you are able to produce the physical copies and digital copies in time. Consider using Ingram Spark or a local printer for your ARCs if you can’t get enough copies through Amazon or other self-publishing platforms. Take into account that you will need to format your book, have your ISBN numbers, pricing, and metadata in place, too.

Worried about your ARC being confused with the final book? You may want to put a sticker, or identify your ARC copy so people know it is not for resale and that it is an advanced reading copy. Keep in mind that it’s common for ARCs to shave small typos. Those reading an ARC know this. Don’t sweat the small stuff at this point. You may still work on the final proof while the ARC is being distributed for advance reviews.

Public Relations and Media Pitching

Securing articles, interviews, and media placements takes time and planning. A press release should go out prior to the book’s launch. Media should be given time to book the guest and not feel rushed. Nothing screams “I am not a professional author” like pitching media at the last minute.

As a book publicist, I have some producers who book guests up to six months in advance. Having your pitch and materials polished, and being prepared for interviews and questions, means working on your talking points and branding enough in advance so you are ready when it comes time to pitch you and your book for interviews.

Events and Book Signings

Many events are programmed several months in advance. I place many authors on panels at conferences, and do author reading events twice a year, as well as book authors for signings at events like the LA Times Festival of Books. Knowing who is part of the programming in advance is required in most cases. Being part of media materials, being placed on websites, being included in print material and more, all takes planning.

If you would like to have book launch party or a book signing, then securing a location, ordering books, sending out invitations, and planning the event details can take several months, whether you are doing it yourself or you’ve hired a planner. The bigger the party, the more time you’ll need to plan it.

Expecting a comprehensive book event launch strategy in the 11th hour isn’t practical. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself or those around you by trying to secure a location, creating an event marketing strategy, and sending out invitations at the last minute.

Your Author Platform Should Be Ready When Your Book Launches

Have author platform presentable when your book launches—this means making sure your website is up-to-date, preparing your Amazon and Goodreads author profiles, and ensuring your social media sites are ready to be seen.

If you are unsure of what your Author Platform looks like to the outside world, Google yourself using an incognito window to see the authentic results. Do you have a knowledge pane on the right side? Is the info accurate or do you need to contact Google to request changes? Is your website among the top results on your Search Engine Results Page? Do your profiles have accurate info? Make sure your online branding is all consistent and ready to be seen when your book launches.

Need Help Launching Your Book this Year?

Don’t be overwhelmed by the process. I know there are a lot of moving parts to launching your book. Taking on the marketing and public relations is daunting, even for seasoned authors. If you need help, we’re here. Black Château can partner with you to achieve your book launch goals.

By Desireé Duffy, Founder of Black Château.