Plan an Online Book Launch

by E.J. Wenstrom
published in Community

So, you wrote a book, and now it’s getting published. Finally this dream, built with your blood and sweat and tears, is coming true! That makes it a time to celebrate! But if you’re anything like me, this is probably also a time of major stress—now you have to make sure the world knows about it!

In these times, it’s become harder than ever to hit the pavement and score promotional opportunities—and an increasing amount of those opportunities seem to want to lighten your wallet.

But you can still have a great launch. Start with these four tactics to plan an online book launch.

1. Book Reviews

There are a lot of book review blogs out there. A lot. And they cover every genre and audience that exists—one of the amazing things the internet has enabled is a deep well of passionate, niche communities.

All you have to do is find them, and then ask them to consider your book. You don’t score a review with every site you query, but as long as you approach blogs that review your subgenre, follow the guidelines, and send it out in a timely fashion (2-4 months ahead of publication is a common time frame, depending on the blog), you’re bound to get some to agree.

Then, you’ve got some passionate readers with your book on their radar, and some trusted sources for quotes you can put to work in your marketing.

2. Launch Promos & Exclusives

Find a creative way to give your readers something special if they buy the book during this online book launch period. What might fans of the book enjoy?

For example, for my upcoming science fiction release, I’m creating pins that will feature a creature I made up for the novel’s world. Perhaps you could commission a map of your fantasy world, or the lead characters of your romance.

But your exclusive doesn’t have to cost money to be special. You could share exclusive cut scenes from an earlier draft of the novel, or record an interview that won’t ever run anywhere else. Give your readers a way to get something they can’t get any other way, that will give them greater insight into the novel or you as an author.

3. Digital Tour

There are countless websites out there for readers of all genres—and they all need content! For this reason, many of them are eager to host guest contributors.

You can also look at websites focused on topics related to your book’s content or themes in other ways. For example, my book’s hero has ADHD (like me), so I’ve got my eyes open for opportunities to post on sites about this learning disorder and other neurodiversity topics.

These are not only ways to get great free publicity, but also allows you to share a little about yourself and your work in a creative way. When approaching a website to pitch an article, introduce yourself, explain your goals (briefly), and make sure you suggest a few possible ideas that fit with that specific outlet’s content.

4. Live Events

You don’t have to wait for an outlet to lend you their platform. This is 2021, and you have your own! And so do your author buddies. Why not plan a few live events on Instagram, Facebook, or your social network of choice? It’s a DIY digital book tour.

Here’s how to do it: Ask a few author friends (ideally ones who write complementary stories or share a similar readership) if they’re willing to join you for a chat during your launch week. Then, work with the participating authors to identify a different topic connected to your book as a focus for each conversation. Publicize the schedule well beforehand, and then…go live!

You’ll get to benefit from exposure from your host friend’s following, and they’ll get some crossover from yours. Done right, this should be fun and good for everyone!

Launch Your Book with Flair and Fun

It’s tough times out there to launch a book—still. Even for shops and events that are running in person, there’s a lot of competition. And sure, bookshops, events, and media coverage are nice. But you’re not at the mercy of gatekeepers, and a lack of in-person opportunities doesn’t mean you can’t still have a successful launch. These tactics to help you plan an online book launch are a great way to expand your reach, connect with readers, and celebrate the great accomplishment.

What other online book launch tactics would you recommend?

Be sure to check out E.J. Wenstrom’s column on how to build engagement on your author platform!

E.J. Wenstrom

By day, E. J. Wenstrom is a digital strategy pro with over 10 years at communications firms. By early-early morning, she’s an award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author of the Chronicles of the Third Realm War novels, starting with Mud. She believes in complicated characters, terrifying monsters, and purple hair dye.

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