It takes a lot of effort to put together a book, whether you’re working as a team with a publisher, or going the indie route and doing it yourself.
There are final edits to do/check, book covers to organize/approve of, and print and ebook files to wrangle together. By the time your book is ready to launch, you’ll most likely be happy to see the back of it—and patting yourself on the back for a job well done.
But if you thought the work was over now that your MS is an actual book, take a seat back at your desk. There are a few more things to do before launch.
7 Author Essentials To Get In Place Before Releasing A Book
1. A List
If you’re a list person, this will come naturally to you. If not, learn how to become a list person.
Much like thinking you’ll remember that awesome plot idea without writing it down, if you don’t make a list of what you need to do for your release, you’ll forever be thinking you’ve forgotten something—and will most likely—forget something.
Jot it all down and make sure the following to-do tasks are on it.
2. A Page You Can Control
When your book goes up for sale, it’ll be listed in numerous places. That’s a lot of links to keep track of and promote. You also can’t expect readers to go looking for your book (although some awesome people will), reviews, or see the info you posted on Twitter before it’s swallowed in a wave of other tweets.
If you create a page on your own website or blog that you have control of, you can update it with all your links and book-related info. Think of it as a headquarters for your book, where anyone interested can learn all about it.
I’ve filled mine with major pre-order and Goodreads links, the awesome book cover, blurb, and some review snippets. You can check it out by clicking on the following picture!
3. Universal Ebook Links
As for links, obviously, a page full of them is work for you, and most likely, an overwhelming turn-off for potential readers.
One easy way to cut down on the number is to get yourself a free universal ebook link, and there are plenty of services a Google search away. I used Books2Read. All you need to do is give them a listing for your ebook (I provided Blackbirch’s amazon listing) and they scour the Internet for other ebook links and gather them all together.
You can then give your link a custom name and post it, knowing anyone who clicks on it will see where they can buy your ebook, in whichever country they live.
4. Marketing Graphics
As much as you might not like constantly promoting your book, as a modern writer, you need to. Make the job a little easier with marketing graphics. I use the free version of Canva to put together review and book teasers to post in the lead up to and after my book’s release.
Get these things done early if you can. That way you’re not scrambling on release week. I post book review snippets on #MarketingMonday and lines from my book on #TeaserTuesday. I started doing this the month of Blackbirch’s release (which is this month!) and will continue to do so until I run out of graphics.
5. Book Swag
Not everyone can afford their own book swag, and it’s okay if you can’t, but if you decide you want some, getting it organized in time to have it at launch is essential.
There are so many print-on-demand places now that allow you to make tote bags, mugs, t-shirts, posters, banners, pens, branded USB sticks, lapel pins, good old bookmarks, and so much more that you’ll be spoiled for choice.
I have a few Blackbirch-themed swag pieces to use in some giveaways, so keep an eye on my social media for a chance to win once the book is released. Links are at the bottom of this post if you’re not already following me.
6. An Amazon Author Page
Even if you aren’t publishing directly with Amazon, they still give you a free Amazon Author page when your book is listed for pre-order/sale.
It allows you to show all versions of your book/s, your author photo, a bio, a feed of your blog (US only), add reviews, videos, and up to 8 photos. You do need to fill one out for each territory, and the US page has more features than the others, but it’s a great way to give readers more insight to you as an author, and an easy place to find all your releases at once.
You can see mine by clicking on the picture below. For all the details on how to set one up, this Reedsy blog post is great!
No, being a writer doesn’t make you a Time Lord, sadly, but you do need to harness time’s power and use it to your advantage. All those things you need to get done and crossed off your list require time—and plenty of it.
If you’ve wondered why some authors announce pre-orders 6 months or more before a book comes out, it’s because they know the value of time. I decided to launch my book only a month before release, and now I know why people don’t do that.
Not only does it put extra stress on you to get everything done, but you’re then working against time.
File turnarounds, relying on your book links to appear at all the stores (some take longer than others), and delivery times for author copies and book swag take time to harmonize with your book’s release day. Do yourself a favor and get them organized as far in advance as possible.
And there you have it! The 7 things I’ve found most useful to learn/know in the lead up to my debut release. Blackbirch: The Beginning will be out on the 17th of February (that’s only 10 days away!) and my sanity will mostly be intact. But if it’s not, at least I can cart it around in a beautifully branded tote bag!
— K.M. Allan