Monday, March 16, 2020

Book Launch Tips for Authors

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

A book launch encompasses all the activity around the release of a book. The plans are as varied as authors and their titles. The following are two snapshots of single activities. One took a lot of planning and the other took a few minutes. They were both part of a larger plan.

My most recent launch started with a FB live on release day where I spoke about my passion for the book. That had several hundred views and numerous shares. The book actually released as a hurricane approached that cancelled one big in-person event. 

My friend Debbie W. Wilson had a book launch party recently. A friend offered to host it at her home. They sent out postcard invites and set up two times, afternoon and evening, to make it flexible. One friend made party favors related to the title. Another made refreshments. More than 30 women came that rainy day and Debbie sold more that 100 books. 

Those activities helped kickoff the launch. Debbie also had articles published the week of the release plus specific pre-written posts stared to go live. I had a number of radio guest appearances, pre-written blog posts, and memes posted on social media during my release week. Our launch team members posted reviews the week of the release. Preparations started weel of the release date.

Get Organized
It takes effort and organization to produce a successful launch. I start with a spread sheet where I can list each type of desired promotion in rows and the contact information plus details in the columns. My spread sheet contains media, social media posts, memes, speaking, and articles with contact information and space to add links after any promo completed. A launch team section includes names and addresses of members and columns to check off things they do like reviews, sharing my posts, and spreading the news.

The worksheet helps me track and recall ideas. It also contains magazines, blogs, and pitch ideas. It may take months to get through all the ideas and contacts I list. That will keep the promotion going.

Start the launch early with these activities:
  • As you edit your book, create memes and blog prompts/posts 
  • Ask people to join your launch tea, collect their information, and give them a list of how they can help
  • Build a list of contacts for radio, television, podcasts, and blogs
  • Create tip sheets to give out free with great ideas readers will want
  • Create freebies and crafts or party favors to make or buy

For my book 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, I created teddy bear necklace kits that included a note about the story in the book of firefighters giving teddy bears to children whose home had a fire. The kit includes directions, the book cover, and a link to watch a video demonstrating how to make it. The bears help encourages families (my readers) to appreciate firefighters and other people who serve us. It’s wearable to become a sharing tool for the book. 

The images created (called memes) are another show and tell tool. Use them to make slides for a PPT presentation. The PPT can be used when you speak or can be turned into an online video where you add music or voice over the images. The video makes a great promo piece or book trailer. Great meme can also be used to create flyers and other print promotional materials.

Before the launch come up with some freebies such as greeting cards, pass it on postcards, favors, and tip sheets. These should inexpensive and easy to prepare. Gather supplies and start writing the tips while the book is in the editing/printing stage. Tip sheets that provide great ideas often get posted on refrigerators.

I often work with my publisher to create effective bookmarks that showcase reader benefits. Some print a quantity for me while others create the design and I get them printed.

Reach Out
Contact media with press releases and follow up with calls to see if the person is interested in interviewing you. Submit your article ideas to magazines or blogs you listed in your spread sheet. Open the spread sheet and reach out to media or other contacts you have not yet contacted. I make a generic meme with my photo, the book cover, and space to add the station’s logo to share about upcoming interviews and follow up with links. The meme gives me an image for social media posts.

Reach out to your publisher and marketing team too. Send them updates of what you did to promote the book. One of my editors took the book to a large trade show where she’d see many influences and readers. They sold out and took orders. For a children’s pastors conference near me, she invited me to come and greet attendees. I suggest passing out my teddy bear kits and she agreed that would work. I wore one and passed them out. Many youth workers stopped, took a kit, chatted, and then ordered the book. I gave out the dozens of kits I brought in less than an hour.

Little but steady promotion adds up, The book launch I mentioned is expected to need a reprint within the first year of the release, based on the sales of the first five months.


Karen Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting

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