Writers launch new books, or stories at least. But what does it really mean “to launch”?
To answer that, I must give the preceding questions: What is being launched and how long is it? And, will the project be an e-book or go the traditional route? I’m going to deal with only e-books and self-publishing here.
The project in question is of paramount importance. If it’s a short story, chapbook of poetry or fiction, or essay/article, the writer may or may not prefer to have the manuscript go through a professional copyeditor and formatter, before it’s uploaded and released for public consumption on Kindle, Nook, or Apple, or other devices.
Lengthier projects, such as novellas, complete books of short stories poetry, and novels are usually regarded as needing professional treatment. Copyeditors and formatters are very necessary for those going the traditional route and for longer projects for e-books.
In the case of my small flash fiction chapbook, I don’t necessarily need or want to spend the extra money to have it formatted by a pro. I can do the copyediting myself on this, too.
My chapbook has stories carrying a common thread. The first three stories hover at approximately 500 words. The last story, written specifically for this effort, runs twice that length. Call it an anchoring story. As a sample of my style in macabre flash fiction, these give the reader a taste of my slightly darker side. This is only one example of what’s possible.
Long before editing is complete and formatting has begun, the writer needs to create a marketing/promotion plan. This can be as simple as telling all of your readers, friends, and family that you’re going to put out a new book on X-date and would they please have a look at it. It can also get complicated, far-reaching, and expensive.
Think book cover before all else. Why? Because it takes some time to decide if you’re doing your own or having one made for you. That’s when you get to find one you like. Once you have your masterpiece image, start showing it to everyone. The more people who see it, the more serious you’re taken.
Consider creating a book trailer for YouTube, your website, and social media release for any project that will be close to or full length books. Post it everywhere you can and ask others to post it for their readers. Never underestimate the power of contacts.
Professional promoters and publicists are available for a fee. If the writer doesn’t want to deal with the additional headaches of promoting their own work, or are on a very limited budget, there are other avenues to pursue to get cheap or free publicity to the masses.
However, guest blogging will get your work in front of readers who wouldn’t normally know anything about you. Getting yourself interviewed on other writers’ blogs will have the same effect. Paying a monthly membership fee for services, such as HooteSuite, can allow you to set up automated postings on group sites, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter at regular intervals without getting frazzled.
Other options for promotion are also available. There are groups on Facebook who promote writers and writing. Most social media avenues have such groups. There are also specific online media promoters. Author’s Marketing Club promotes both e-books and print, which are offered for FREE for limited days. Their subscriber list is extensive.
Indies Unlimited is another resource which can offer opportunities for promotion on a limited budget/free. Author and Book Promotion, http://www.author-promotion.com/newsletter.html, has a regular terrific newsletter. Another site is “Off the Shelf” at https://offtheshelfbookpromotions.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/how-to-sell-more-books-start-a-national-awareness-day-with-flash-fiction-writer-calum-kerr/
Many more are available for those who do a search on “promotion for writers”. Don’t forget sites like Goodreads.
Choosing when to launch for a self-published effort is strictly up to the writer. You can set a deadline for completing the writing, another for editing and formatting, and still another for uploading.
The key is keeping all of your ducks swimming in the same direction at an even pace.
Once you’ve chosen a deadline, remind everyone again that the launch is happening on X-date. Then, meet that deadline.
After your initial launch, you can decide if you want to use free promotion-sales days on your e-book. If you do, you can leave those freebie days until a month or so after launch to give sales a boost and to remind readers that it’s worth reading.
Now you’re off and running. If you’ve chosen to use services like HooteSuite, which is affordable at approximately $10 per month, you can set regular reminders about your book(s) to post to whatever site/group you’ve got on your list of promoters. All you have to do now is the rinse and repeat phases for the next project.
Me? After I get this one out, I have several more sitting in the wings waiting their turn. I’m going to be busy for a while. And no, I’m still waiting for my cover art. You can now see why I emphasized that angle.
Good luck making your choices and in setting up your new writing lifestyle. Let me know how things are going for you. I really am interested.