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How to launch a book, part one.
8 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH:
- Cover reveal. So timings actually vary, but my cover reveal was roughly eight months before publication, and that seems to be a relatively common-ish reveal time. But do note timing will vary publisher to publisher.
That said, one of the first parts of launching a book is indeed the cover reveal. This is when excitement for a book will really start, because you'll be (hopefully) sharing your reveal with an audience who doesn't already know about your book. Most sites that do cover reveals have guidelines to follow, and they generally make it pretty easy for authors to contact them and inquire about a cover reveal (and yes, the job of finding a site to host your cover reveal often (but not always) falls on the author).
- Buy swag. Technically, you should have started this as soon as *you*, the author, have your finalized cover, but once the cover is out in the world, you'll definitely want to invest in some swag. I went with postcards and bookmarks, personally—I found the bookmarks were much more popular than the post cards, but post cards are good for mailing, so it's a trade off. (Here's a great post on self-promo and marketing materials that work by Erin Bowman.) Book plates also tend to be popular, something I need to look into getting...
But anyway, swag is super useful both for giveaways and for leaving behind at events and local bookstores and libraries, if they take them. (And in my experience, they often do.)
6 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH:
- Talk about your book a ton. I mean, you probably were doing this already, but if you haven't started, make sure you talk your book up! Pre-order links also start to go up somewhere around this time, so once those have gone live, make sure you pin them to your Twitter and put them on a prominent place on your website.
- Think about launch parties. Do you want a launch party? If so, where? This is a good time to start asking yourself what you want to do in terms of the day. I personally decided a launch party was going to stress me out more than it'd be worth it, as I had just recently moved to the area and didn't really know enough people to even merit a party. I ended up doing an online launch party instead, which was fantastic, and lots of fun, and generated way more buzz than a local party would have for me.
That said! You may very well want a physical launch party, so this is around the time you'll want to start brainstorming the logistics.
- Look into future local events. Or not local events, if you can afford them. Conferences, book fairs, library events—take a look at what's going on in the upcoming year and decide what you'd like to attend so you can promote yourself and your book.
- ARC tour/giveaways. Somewhere around this time you will probably get your ARCs if you haven't already! This is a super exciting time, and also when you can prepare to send your ARC out to readers through giveaways and tours. I did two different ARC tours—one for an upcoming blog tour and one for the Sweet Sixteens debut group I was a part of, which helped generate some early reviews. Yay!
- Look into blog tours. These are optional, of course—some authors do them, some don't. I did two blog tours, and I found them both helpful in terms of getting early reviews and generating a little buzz. So this is something you may want to start looking into at this point.
What do you do to get excited about a book before launch?
Curious about what goes into launching a trad pub'd book? @Ava_Jae kicks off a 2-part How to Launch a Book series. (Click to tweet)