5 book launch prep essentials

Is there a book launch in your future?

You’ll find a lot of good advice online about what you should do to prepare for your book launch. Several sources offer checklists and timelines.

These book launch prep to-do lists are generic, of course, because they can’t take individual author situations into account.

Most, for example, will tell you to email your list. Many authors haven’t built an author email marketing list that’s separate from their personal contacts directory, though.

Still, there are several book launch prep must-dos that make sense for most authors. Here are five of them.

1. Create a book marketing plan.

You know what Ben Franklin says about this, right? “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

A book marketing plan is your blueprint to success. It will help you think through and identify your ideal readers. You’ll also determine the specific steps you should take to get your book title in front of them.

To make this process easy for you, I walk you through the process with my free fill-in-the-blanks template and accompanying instructions. Simply download your Build Book Buzz Book Marketing Plan Template, then use it to get organized and take action.

2. Determine which social network your ideal readers use the most and expand your presence there.

If you’ve written your book marketing plan, you’ve done the work to figure out who is most likely to buy your book. (Need help with that? I’ve got an affordable training program that helps you identify your ideal reader.)

Next, match your reader demographics — age, gender, income level, geographic region, etc. — with social network demographics. You can do this by selecting two or three social networks you think are popular with your readers and adding the word “demographics” to a Google search. You might search for “Instagram demographics” or “YouTube demographics,” for example.

If you’re an active social media user, you probably have a good sense of where you’ll find your readers.

Once you know which platforms they use, work to increase and improve your high-quality connections there. Consider taking a course on how to use the best network for you effectively so you maximize your time on that platform.

3. Create your book’s marketing materials.

Again, there are a few basics that every author needs in place before a book launch. They include:

If you’re planning a virtual book tour (also known as a book blog tour), write a few of your proposed guest posts ahead of time.

4. Recruit a street team.

A book launch street team is a group of readers, like-minded authors, and/or friends who agree to support your launch.

Typically, you ask them to read an advance review copy, write an honest review, and stand by to post that review on retail sites and Goodreads during launch week. You’ll want to create a plan that includes other strategies for generating reviews, but your street team should be a big part of that.

You’ll also ask them to promote the books to their networks. To help them with that, give them quote cards and images that include your book (see above) along with a selection of tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram messages they can use. Include hashtags for each social network, too.

5. Update your social media profiles.

If you’re like most of us, you set up your social network profiles when you created those accounts and haven’t updated them since. (If you aren’t like most of us, I’m very impressed!)

Bring them up to date with a current author head shot, an updated description with a website URL,  and a header that promotes your new book.

(Pro tip: Don’t use your book cover for your profile photo. People connect with people, not books.)

What’s on your book launch prep list?

Your book launch prep list might include other tasks, as well. There’s so much you can do!

What do you do before every launch? Why? Please tell us in a comment. 

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  1. You’re so helpful with everything, Sandy!
    I’ve noticed with launches is that the earlier I write my book blurb, the better, because I can then tweak, refine, and perhaps shorten it in the months preceding the launch. By the time the book’s ready, I’ve got a nice, tight description to fly with the book. (Just reminded myself to start my next one!)

    1. That’s a great tip, Wendy! Thanks for sharing it! What do you think about writing it before you even start the book, just to give yourself direction and focus?


      1. Hi Sandra,
        Excellent idea. I have been honing a one-line pitch as I work on a second draft. If the draft and the pitch are out of synch with each other, one or the other must give. As you say, the blurb is kind of like a north-pointing compass that keeps the manuscript on track.
        Thank you for your excellent newsletter.

        1. I’m glad you like the newsletter, Alison! I think that writing a one-line pitch is REALLY hard! A friend once suggested thinking of it as the one sentence you’d see with a TV listing. Good luck with it!


      2. Thx for your reply….
        For some authors, that could be effective. For me, the book’s content, even its purpose, evolve and emerge through the scribbling and edits. Writing the eventual blurb is to finally become objective: “What really happens to a reader through this book experience?” rather than, “What did I have in mind when I wrote this?” or “What do I WISH the reader to experience?” Allowing extra time to grow my objectivity is valuable. And, later, my earlier blurb drafts look pretty clunky. ; )

  2. Hi Sandy. A really informative post, as usual. There’s soooo much to be done, and I only have a month now, until my launch. I like the idea of a virtual book tour, and will have to give that some serious consideration.
    On that subject—the second link on the download page isn’t working. The first one is OK, though, so I got my copy.
    Thank you.

    1. Hey thanks for the head’s up, Thomas. I’ll look into that. And yes, there’s always more to be done. It’s less overwhelming if you accept that you won’t have time for all of it!


  3. Great post! It came out after my launch last weekend but I had already taken these steps. My blog tour starts next Monday after the promos end. Aggressive guest blogging is next, featuring excerpts from the book.

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