As you approach your book’s launch date, whether you’re a debut author or a seasoned veteran, you’ll face the challenge of finding or creating the materials to market your book, especially those fit for online spaces. In this post, we list some things you’ll need to prepare for your launch.
Materials for events. Think about what in-person events you’ll be doing for your launch. Even if none are scheduled yet, try to envision (and speak with your publishing team about) what type of event would work best for you and your book: A one-on-one discussion with an influencer? A live reading? A panel discussion with other experts? Whichever path you take, think of what you’ll need:
- For readings, practice to find out what format works best. You might want to read directly from the physical book, or you may prefer to read from something lighter, like your phone or another e-reading device. Prepare your selection in advance in multiple formats, in case of technical difficulties.
- For discussions, think of materials you’d like to display. For example, you may want to show the map from your fantasy world, photos to go along with your memoir, or graphs from your business book.
- Swag, or “stuff we all get,” is another consideration. Presumably, many attendees will buy a copy of the book at an in-person event, but do you want to make bookmarks, business cards, enamel pins, buttons, or stickers to give away alongside it? Because of the lead time for creating some of these products, make sure you’re allowing yourself enough time to order and check them. (Or check with your marketing team to see how you can collaborate on swag.)
Pitches and marketing copy. Long before your book debuts, you’ll undoubtedly have people ask about it. While “What is your book about?” can be a daunting question, refer to this previous article for tips on how to pitch your book to anyone. Develop different pitches depending on the audience—for example, your pitch to a librarian might focus on hooking the audience and highlighting author blurbs, while your description to an acquaintance could be a briefer elevator pitch. Refer to your marketing copy for help, and if you have materials containing teasers, blurbs, or marketing copy, make sure to keep them with you at any events you attend. You never know when they might come in handy.
Beyond pitching your book, think of how you’ll describe it to interviewers. You can work with your publicist and your team on these, especially for high-profile events, but you may want to practice the answers to basic questions in case you’re asked to appear on a smaller podcast or local radio program, or as part of a blogger’s review.
Links. This is an often overlooked element of promotion, but one of the most important for those who are active on social media. Be sure to prepare all the links you need to various booksellers, or to direct your readers to PRH.com. On the PRH.com page, we include buy links to all major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Amazon, and more, so this page is an easy one-stop shop for users to buy from their preferred retail outlet.
For newsletters or social media links that direct users to your website, consider using a tracked link. Tools like Google Analytics’ Campaign URL Builder can give you a unique link that will show up as the referral source when your newsletter or website’s analytics are checked. (And most major newsletters and website tools have these analytics resources built in.) These stats can help you figure out where your most engaged users came from, so you can focus more energy on that outlet when the time comes.
Online copy. Social media can be overwhelming to manage on the day of your book launch, so prepare as many resources in advance as you can. Turn your elevator pitch into a tweet or Instagram post and save it in a document, along with links and images you want to include.
Additionally, prepare responses to questions from your readers like “Where can I buy the book?” or “Will this be in my local bookstore?” so you can copy and paste the answers, saving you a bit of time.
Promotional Images. If you want to post promotional images on your social media accounts, creating them can be extremely time consuming. We’ve gone over tips on how to easily create and edit images, but even so, these posts often take time and care to look the way you want. To avoid last-minute scrambling, again, we advise preparing them ahead of time.
One new tool that saves you the time and effort of cropping for each specific social media platform is Landscape, Sprout Social’s streamlined image resizing tool. To use this tool, you simply need to upload your promotional image, check the boxes of which networks you’re posting to and which kind of photo you’re posting on each, and you can crop one photo to perfectly fit your needs across any platform. This also works for profile pictures.
Other promotional items. Every campaign is different, so you may have materials that don’t fall into these categories. Take some time to think of other possibilities. Will you do a cross-promotional email with another author for your newsletter subscribers, for example? Do you want to find a way to promote (or remind readers of) your backlist as your new title hits shelves?
Whatever process you envision, think of the materials you will need and prepare them as early as you can. That way, you can spend less time worrying about small, stressful details during your book launch and more time enjoying the moment of publication.
Phil Stamper-Halpin is Senior Manager, Publishing Development & Author Platforms, for Penguin Random House.