How to Have a Successful Online Book Launch

Dear Savvy Pro:

The words “book launch” are tossed about quite frequently among writers and authors. Now and then I have people come to me behind the scenes and ask me exactly what is a book launch? In fact, it happened again just the other day, which prompted me to write about it here.

Book launches come in all sorts of varieties and shapes, including two very distinct differences: Online and “On the Ground.” Many of the decisions you make will depend on you, your book, what you want to accomplish, and, of course, budget. Below are some of the common elements to use in a successful online book launch. Of course, having a web page for yourself and your book is a key part of this, but we’ll talk about that next week.


Social Media:  Update your social media profiles and pages to include your book, including:

  • LinkedIn Publication: Update your page to include your new book in the Publications section.To do this, click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, then click View profile. If you’ve previously added a publication, scroll down to the Accomplishments section and click Add. If you’ve never added a publication, add a Publications section, then add your book to it.
  • LinkedIn Posts: In addition to adding your book to your Publications section, start posting more often, and plan to announce your book two months before and the day of publication.
  • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: Update your bios and photos if appropriate. Upload a cover image that has your book jacket and website URL. (You have a website URL, right?.)

Online Presence: In addition to your social media, set up your other book-related online presence, including:

  • Amazon: Set up your Amazon author page via Author Central and build out your profile.
  • Goodreads: Claim your Goodreads page and spend some time rating books you have read.Good

Build Social Capital: In addition to building and updating your own social media profiles, interacting with others is critical. The law of reciprocity is alive and well. Be generous to others. Review other books, retweet important messages for people, promote other authors, celebrate your publisher. Make nice with the media. Start this as soon as possible, long before your book actually comes out, if there is still time. Remember: The time to build a relationship is before you need it.

Sometimes people balk at this. Usually it’s those who are overwhelmed or just feel too busy and they are not feeling generous. They think it’s like digging a deep well that never pays off, but I assure you this is not the case. Yes, it is a longer term strategy, but the way to make this work is to entice others to want to help you.

Announcements: Announce your book periodically on social media, but not all the time. Don’t be like some people who become total hawkers once their book becomes available. We’ve all seen this, and it mainly just results in annoying people. Don’t let that be you. Obey the 5-to-1 rule and you will be fine: For every 5 posts you do, 1 of them can be about your book.

Email list: Plan your mailing list strategy. Depending on how often you email to your list, you need to plan out the following communications: announce that your book is coming out soon, ask for pre-orders, celebrate your publication date when it arrives, and update readers on your successes. If you don’t have an email list yet, or if it’s small and ice cold, then read my blog post about how and why to build an email list.

Launch Team or Street Team: Make a list of people for your launch team. These are people who are already familiar with your work: they are your raving fans, your colleagues, your friends, your family — anyone who is truly interested in spreading the word about you and your book. Ask them to share with others, pre-order your book and review it after publication. (You might consider my program on developing this team — coming out in Q1 of this year.)

Your Blog: Write a blog post in which you share about why you wrote your book and how it will benefit the reader. This is the backstory. Every one of us has a bit of a voyeur inside. We want to know how things came about, what compelled you to write it. Share about yourself. We love this.

Bottom Line: There really is nothing mysterious about a book launch. Of course, until one knows what action steps to take, everything seems mysterious. Next up: We’ll take a look at your website and then we’ll get into “on the ground” book launches.

To your success!

P.S. My rebooted website is just about complete! Websites are like fashion: They need to be updated every now and then to be current. I’m particularly happy with the Media page, which you can see here.





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