Sunday, March 2, 2014

Your Book Launch Study: Detail From Outstanding Authors

This is the complete detail responses from our study about Book Launches from a group of outstanding authors.

The initial question presented to the authors was:


One of the most important decisions authors face today is how to launch their book.

It is study time again and I am fortunate to have a group of outstanding, award-winning authors whose opinions I value highly. Over 30 authors helped me with this study.

Initial Study Question

What process do you use to launch your book? - HBS Author’s Corner STUDY

I have been approached several times lately by authors asking about the book launch process and how successful authors tackle the problem.

This time I’m creating a study about How Outstanding Authors handle their book launches? I want to help authors start in the right direction in launching and marketing their new books.

Like I have down several times, I’m contacting the HBS Author’s Spotlight crew to get their opinions and experiences on the topic.

Here it goes.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market.


I know you are busy but if you could give me a quick paragraph or two, maybe we can help some authors to go in the right direction in this important step. If I could get something by February 15th, I would appreciate it.

If you have written a book or a blog post on this topic, pass the link on to me and I will include it in the study.


I will use your quote (space permitting) and provide a link to your twitter account and a link to your Spotlight post. Sometimes I have to separate your feedback into different areas of the study and pick just the meat out of your comments to not overwhelm the reader.

Our last three studies: ‘Finding your Readers’, ‘Getting Book Reviews’ and ‘Boxed Sets are Gaining Exposure’ have close to 10,000 views and growing. Thank you for helping.

James Moushon

Author Complete Responses

Sparkle Abbey

Two Bestselling Mystery Authors writing under the name Sparkle Abbey @sparkleabbey. They are in real life Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They have written the bestselling Pet Mystery Series.

Here you go.
Mary Lee & Anita aka Sparkle Abbey
How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market.

Like so many other things in the publishing world, book launches have evolved. The days of a release date, an announcement, and a launch party are no more. For many of us the book launch begins months in advance with getting review copies in the hands of readers/reviewers, getting the word out about pre-sale opportunities, and planning for online launch parties or blog tours. Do these things work?

We're about to find out as we have a new book coming out in April. Fifty Shades of Greyhound is the fifth book in our mystery series and we're hoping to use what we've learned on the past four to have a great launch! Still with the number of books available to readers today, finding those readers who are looking for your type of book is increasingly challenging.

Here are our book launch plans:
Contact loyal readers for potential pre-sale reviews
Schedule blog tour
Share book information with reader groups
Share book information with indie bookstores
Schedule Goodreads giveaway
Send invitations to online launch party
Contact Greyhound rescue groups who have assisted in research for the book
Plan social media announcements (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest)

Again, these are the methods we've found to be most effective. Will they work this time? We'll let you know after our April launch!

Diana Anderson

Southern Author Diana Anderson @DianaJAnderson1 is the author of the Southern Country Novel series.

I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner. I've been covered up trying to finish my latest novel. Below is what I worked up. I hope this is what you are wanting. Thanks for asking me to participate.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market.

I try to time my book launch date with another of my eBooks that I’m offering for free. I contact several websites that will promote for free my free eBook. I have to do this a few weeks in advance to get on their list.

I’ve already started promotions with Remember When on Facebook. I find photos that pertain to scenes or places in my novel and post them along with a brief description. It’s just a little something to peak my fans interests.

I change my background image on my Facebook author page to the image of my next book cover. I do the same with Twitter and Google+. I update my website by adding my new book. I post the book image and back jacket description on Facebook and ask friends and readers who have liked my novels to help spread the word by sharing with their friends about the upcoming freebie and my new book. Most are very helpful. I also use my blog, Google+, Pinterest, and if I have a book trailer ready, I upload it to YouTube.

After the novel has been thoroughly edited, I send copies to a few of my friends to have them proof it for me. I want to get their feel of the book. If there are no problems, then I ask them if they would write a review and hold on to it. After I launch the book and it goes live, I immediately contact them and ask them to post their review on Amazon. (The copies I send to them are in mobi format, so all they have to do is download it to their Kindles.) I use Calibre for formatting into mobi. I found it easier to work with in getting a Table of Contents.

I usually launch the eBook version the night before the morning that I announce it live. It takes Amazon Kindle anywhere from 3 to six hours after I download it for it to go live. The day my book goes live, I do a shout out on Facebook and Twitter.

For Createspace, it takes two to four days for a paperback to be ready for purchase. I do use Createspace, however I sell more eBooks than paperback.

Diana Anderson

Life is God's gift to you . . . what you do with your life is your gift to God.
Famous in a Small Town Book Trailer (YouTube)

Melody Anne

NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne @authmelodyanne. She is the author of many Romance and Young Adult novels.

I do several things at the launch of a new book. First off, I have a team of people who work for me who do an amazing job of getting the word out. My street team advertises the book and posts reviews. My marketing team places ads for the book in different areas, and my fans share the book as well. I have a release party where I give out prizes and let people know a new book is out. The biggest thing, I guess, is letting people know that there is a new book, so word of mouth, I have found, is still the best advertising. I have done some facebook advertising, too, but I don't know if that helps or not.

I think the strongest thing about a new release is to have a catchy cover that makes people want to open the book. That's why I've played with my covers so much. I really like them now.
Melody Anne
NYT Best Selling Author
Twitter @authmelodyanne

Todd Borg

Todd Borg is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Owen McKenna Tahoe Mystery series. Here is what Todd had to say about KDP.

Hi James,

Here are some thoughts... This will be much more info than you probably want, but I think it is all critical, so I can't in good faith edit it down. Authors who don't want to do this stuff have a much harder time succeeding. The authors I know who do all of this stuff have all been successful.

The most critical part of launching a book comes well before the launch. I know that sounds tedious - Sorry! But so many times I've witnessed authors doing all the right steps in their launch and then coming out with a book that has a non-professional cover and no beta reader input and non-professional editing.

Then those authors wonder why their books don't sell and why people are reluctant to give them reviews.

A good book launch is helpful, but a good book with a great cover, rewriting based on critique-group input, and great editing can build a following long after its launch and even after a non-aggressive, poorly-organized launch.

Those three things are the most important parts of a book's success.

So here is my launch timeline.

1)      After the book seems done, get beta reader input.  Not from your friends and family (who won't tell you the full truth, just as you wouldn't tell them the full truth!) but from fellow writers in your critique group.

2)      Rewrite accordingly.

3) Hire at least two professional editors, both of whom should be comfortable with content editing as well as copy editing. Yes, this costs money, approximately $1 per page for each editor. But one star reviews that flame you and your book will haunt you forever and possibly even kill your career. (I've had four or five editors on most of my books. No editor catches every problem. Some won't even catch most problems. So more editors save you major embarrassment.)

4) Write compelling Back Copy. Study hundreds of examples to learn how. Edit. Rewrite. Re-edit. Along with your first book's first sentence, the Back Copy of your first book is one of the most important things you'll ever write.

Get your ISBN number and LCCN number (Google how). You'll need them to be considered by the library market.

5) Get a professional book cover designer. This is not your nephew who took Photoshop in college and designed the menus for your favorite restaurant. (For example, does he know the three essential things that have to be on the spine of every book? Or the common design elements that the most successful book covers have that work even on the tiny Amazon thumbnails?) Once you've found a Professional Book Cover Designer, give her your Back Copy.

6) Pick your official publication date enough months in advance so you can get Advance Review Copies mailed out a month before your publication. You'll want paper ARCs, not ebooks, so you need to plan for printing and shipping time. In your eagerness to get your book out, don't rush your publication date or you'll regret it.

7) Prepare your ARC review request letter. Put in your Back Copy. Send review requests to colleagues, workmates, your dentist, and plumber, and book bloggers (Google book bloggers). To everyone who agrees to look at your book, send them a paper ARC along with many thanks and a clear statement that if they decide for any reason that they don't want to review your book, you very much appreciate their time anyway.

8) Prepare your email blast, your social media approach, and your snail mail postcard mailing. (This implies that you have a platform of social media, email, and snail mail contacts. If not, start working on that now and pursue it continuously for the rest of your writing career.) Put your Back Copy in these outreach contacts.

9) Set up book signings at local bookstores, libraries, and anywhere else that will have you. Use your Back Copy to entice these organizations to help promote your book. 

10) Put together a media kit that touts those signings (they make you and your book newsworthy) and send that media packet to all local papers, radio stations etc. Make sure your media kit features your Back Copy prominently. Note that book signings are not very important in the big picture, but they allow you to get media coverage in the beginning. And you use clips of that media coverage to get future media coverage.

11) Get your book and all of your related info uploaded to Amazon, your cover, your book description, which is your Back Copy. There are many ways to work with Amazon (Google how).

12) Prepare a humorous, self-deprecating fifteen minute talk and contact your local libraries, service clubs (Rotary), etc, etc, etc. They need free speakers every week or every month. When they agree to have you talk (they will because they're eager for speakers), ask them if you can bring books to sell.

13) Find other venues where you can sell books and do it. When readers buy a book, ask them to consider posting a review on Amazon. Hint: After a great cover and great editing, reviews on "the Zon" are perhaps the greatest single thing to helping your book sell.

14) Get to work on your next book. When you come out with your first book, you will quickly discover that it seems like everyone has a book. What will begin to set you apart from the masses is a second book, then a third etc. In fact, remember this: Successful authors are a disparate group of people with little in common except that most (not all, but most) have written a bunch of books. There is nothing as effective at convincing a reader that your books are worth paying attention to as having written a bookshelf full of them.

15) Congratulate yourself. You are now a published author. Be proud. And go out and tell the world about it! Hint: That's what book marketing really is. "Hey everybody, I wrote this book. I think it's pretty good! I'd love to have you check it out because I think you might like it. Can I sign a copy for you?"

Hope this helps, James.

David Brin

Author David Brin @DavidBrin1 is the award-winning bestselling Author, Scientist and Futurist with such books to his credit as: The Transparent Society, Existence, Earth and The Postman.

Hi James.

Sounds like an interesting project… though I am terribly swamped.

What I can do is point you to an "advice article" that I've posted online, containing a distillation of wisdom and answers to questions I've been sent across 20 years.

I can also offer a general site containing advice bits from other top writers. (  

Then there is my advice video !
Many people have found these items extremely helpful.

Also, re marketing, Have a look at the amazing video preview-trailer for Existence, with incredible art by Patrick Farley! See:
That certainly provided a boost!

Hope all this helps.
Good luck!

Leti Del Mar

Author Leti Del Mar @leti_delmar is an indie author.  She blogs about the craft of writing and indie books.

Hi James,

I'm all about building connections with bloggers PRIOR to releasing your book.  If you can establish a relationships with bloggers who review or talk about your kind of fiction, they will be more likely to help launch your book.  I did this by regularly visiting slogs and commenting, and not just about things related to my book. When the time came to launch my book, most everyone i contacted was very willing to help.

I have a chapter on this in my book, How To Self-Publish: A DIY Approach.

All the best,

Connie Flynn

Author Connie Flynn @ConnieFlynn is the bestselling award-winning author of many Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal and Romance novels and short stories.

Hi James,

I was answering this in Yahoo and my program started acting up so I'm not sure if it went through. If this a duplicate, I apologize, but figured better two than none.

Interesting you should write. I am doing my very first book launch that kicks off on February 10. I am using a blog tour manager who was recommended to me by a friend. I'm not sure how it will turn out but I can tell you how I got started and the choices I've made for my tour. So this is my answer. Use what you can.

I've previously launched four novels and three short stories and this is how I used to do it.

1. Run it free a couple of times.
2. Do a few guest blogs.
3. Tweet a lot.

This approach consistently gave me a temporary lift in paid rankings. The longest was nearly four months and the shortest was less than two weeks ,but those were  short stories. It did not, however, keep me consistently on the paid list or grow my audience of pure readers (as opposed to writer-readers) which is what I hoped for.

With KNOW WHEN TO RUN I decided to do a book tour. First I put an advanced reading copy up on Kindle to get input and Amazon reviews, then I hired a book tour company to guide me through my first tour, which will last two weeks. So far I have written two blogs and completed four interviews and have compiled a giveaway list that includes my books and their various editions that will extend through the entire tour. I'm using a Valentine's Day theme and on the actual holiday I will offer a surprise giveaway.

Since the tour doesn't begin until Feb 10, I can't tell you my results, but if you'd like an update along the way, I'd be happy to provide one. I'll be measuring Facebook likes, Twitter follows and mailing list subscriptions, plus, of course, sales.

Let me know if this helps. I would like to contribute. You have some great posts and I can see why your mailing list is increasing at such a rate.
Till later,

Dave Folsom

Dave Folsom @davefolsombooks is a Mystery & Thrillers author based in the Northwest.

Hi James:

This is what I do.  

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market.
1.       At about midway in the writing process I have the cover art finalized in order to use it for marketing.  I might make subtle changes later but mostly it is in close to final copy stage.
2.       I begin adding it to my tweets, Facebook, and other social media pages early and include teasers about the book at least a couple of months prior to my estimated release date.  I also start blogging about it about the same time or even earlier
3.       Two months to six week out, I add it to my webpage along with a short excerpt of the first chapter.  The excerpt is somewhere around 1000 to 1500 words depending on a good place to leave the reader wanting more.
4.       By a month out, I am in final edits and may include a longer excerpt from a different part of the book at this time.
5.       In the weeks prior to release, I step up the social media and market everywhere I can on multiple of available sites.

Ron Fritsch

Author Ron Fritsch @RonFritsch is a self-published Historical Fiction Writer.

James, I appreciate your asking me to participate in this study. I'll give you my honest opinion on this subject, but I'll fully understand if you decide to make no use of it.

For self-publishing authors such as myself, who aren't celebrities and don't have a crowd of fans eagerly awaiting their next achievement, a "book launch" is an attempt to fit a traditional-publishing thing in where it doesn't belong.

Digital and print-on-demand books are forever. Their success, however one chooses to measure it, doesn't have to depend upon fads and what's hot at "launch" time. 

I've refused to waste any time, effort, or money on  "book launches" for any of the four books I've published. I believe those assets are better spent on writing, editing, cover art, and marketing.

S.R. Grey

Author S.R. Grey @AuthorSRGrey is the Author of the A Harbour Falls Mystery series.

Hi James, 

Here's what I put together for my contribution to your article on preparing for a book launch: 

Preparing for the book launch begins weeks and months before the book is released. I utilize a lot of social media tools to drum up enthusiasm. For example, I may tweet teasers or post an excerpt on Goodreads or Facebook. I also keep the readers updated on my progress.

Another important step is to have the book blurb/summary ready in advance. It gives the readers an idea of what the book will be about. I always post this months in advance on Goodreads. And remember, you can always change it around as needed.
So, in closing, remember to: 1) get the readers excited for your release. 2) Use all your social media outlets to build awareness. And 3) prepare and post a blurb as early as possible.

Hope these tips help. 

Talk to you soon!
Susie (S.R. Grey) 

Dianne Harman

Author Dianne Harman @DianneDHarman is Award Winning Bestseller Romance author.

Thanks for including me and this is a critical subject to the success of a book. I start about three months ahead of publication date and I use social media. I would tweet it, put it on facebook (particularly as soon as I have a cover for it), Google+ and of course, would write several articles about it on my blog.

For example, I just wrote a blog on "Descriptive Writing etc." because I was struggling with the third book in the Coyote Series from a standpoint of how much descriptive writing is too much? Thus, I was able to bring to the attention of people - and I had a lot of feedback from this particular article - that the third book in the Coyote Series would be available. 

Another method I do - and I have no figures to support it other than my books do really well out of the starting gate - is am email list I have compiled from book signings, blog, etc. I send out a brief synopsis of the book along with the links.

Hope this helps and every time I drive by Duke's I think of you!

Dianne Harman, Author
Contributor: Huffington Post
 Web Site

Brent Hartinger

Brent Hartinger @brenthartinger is the author of The Russel Middlebrook series. The movie version of his novel: Geography Club will be released later in 2013.

One thing has changed since I wrote that, however. 

The good news about non-traditional media (blogs and social media) is that they'll sometimes cover unusual books -- self-published books or books from small publishers. The bad news is that most non-traditional media folks have no concept of the idea of "launch date." On the contrary, they're often eager to be the first to review a book (to get in search engines, etc.). For whatever reason, they'll often post a review of a book immediately after they've read it, regardless of what you, the writer, suggest or want.

Which means that if you time things poorly, you can end up with a lot of reviews of you book weeks or months before your book is even on sale.

Unfortunately, the only real solution to this is to be very selective in who you give advanced reading copies too. Otherwise, wait until the book is actually released to send it out to blogs. This has the added benefit of spreading the attention out over the first few weeks and months of release. If you're using NetGalley, however, there's really nothing you can do about this. Chalk it up to building buzz, and hope that people will pre-order.

Brent Hartinger

John Huffman

Award winning Indie Author John W. Huffman @johnwhuffman writes Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers.


When I launch a new book, I announce it's availability, with links, on facebook, ( over 3,500 followers ) linkedin, ( 500 links ) twitter, ( 10,000 followers ) my web site ( ) schooldfeeds, ( 500 friends ) Goodreads, ( up to 5,000 views )  the Independent Author Network 20,000 visitors a month ) and write my own article to eleven different small newspapers across the southeast with a combined distribution of 100,000 plus readers.

I also send out copies of the book to selected readers who I know and trust to write reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. I then follow up with updates and author appearances where ever I can get a foot in the door, such as book stores and charity events, where I give a portion of the sales to the venue.

If you have any further questions, please let me know.

John W. Huffman

Alan Jacobson

Alan Jacobson @JacobsonAlan is the bestselling author of jaw-dropping thrillers. Alan added this.

Jim: here you go. Hope it’s what you’re looking for. Best, Alan

The moment I hand in my manuscript to my editor, I start reading it. Because of my tight annual deadline and the extensive research I do for each novel, I often don’t have time to read the manuscript before I give it to my editor—meaning we read it together; however, after 20 years of writing books, I’ve learned how to listen to my inner voice as I write, because I’ve found that I talk to myself and know when something isn’t working. As a result, my first drafts are much cleaner and require little rewriting—it’s mostly fine tuning, some cutting, some adding, factual adjustments, polishing, etc.—much better than wholesale rewriting.

I spend two months working with my editor, at which point it’s handed over to the copyeditor. She spends three weeks going through it with a hyper-anal eye (thank God) and then we spend another three weeks reviewing many of her comments. I have a terrific relationship with my copyeditor, so it’s a dynamic process and results in a beautiful end product.

During this time, I’ve been researching the next novel I’ll be writing and working on my story outline (I always know how it’s going to end before I start writing). In addition, work has started on the cover with the graphic designer. For my last few novels, I’ve had significant input; I give the designer my “vision” (I have a background in design) and she then executes based on her interpretation—plus she’ll create other concepts entirely of her own idea.

Once I hand in the final to my publisher, I write promo blurbs for various uses and of different lengths. I do interviews online and radio interviews; Advance Reader Copies are sent out by my publisher; reviews are solicited; marketing materials are printed including business cards, bookmarks, etc. My website is updated to include the new novel. And…all the while, I’m doing full force on the next book. There is zero down time, no break, no moment to breathe…

Judith Jance

New York Times bestselling author J.A. "Judith" Jance @JAJance. She is best known for the Joanna Brady series and the J. P. Beaumont series.

On Feb 1, 2014, at 9:02 AM, James Moushon <> wrote:

I have been approached several times lately by authors asking about the book launch process and how successful authors tackle the problem.

This time I’m creating a study about How Outstanding Authors handle their book launches? I want to help authors start in the right direction in launching and marketing their new books.

Like I have down several times, I’m contacting the HBS Author’s Spotlight crew to get their opinions and experiences on the topic.

Here it goes.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market.

The tour gets put together.  Once it is, that is posted on my website and face book page. This should be done far enough in advance so if people are traveling to get there, they can plan around it. 

A week and a half about before the book goes on sale, I write the newsletter announcing the upcoming book, and it is sent to my database (10,000 names amassed over 30 years.)  The day after the announcement goes out, I'll receive probably 200 to 300 responses. Mostly they are nothing more than thank you, but  I scan them all and respond to those requiring responses. (My first sales rep taught me that each personal contact with a reader is worth ten additional readers.)

The night before the book goes on sale, I try to get a good night's sleep.

Oh, and here's some book signing etiquette.  What if you do a signing an no one shows up?  Do NOT be a crybaby.  The book store can't require people to come to your signing.  Be a good sport.  Talk to the booksellers.  Turn them into your friends.  They'll be selling your books long after you left the store.



Joanne Lessner

Author Joanne Sydney Lessner @joannelessner writes Mystery & Thrillers including the Isobel Spice Series. Also, she is a singer, actress, writer and mom.

Hi James, 

Thanks for asking, but I'm going to pass on this one. I don't really have a good launch process (unfortunately) - so I will be eagerly reading this! Also, I'm in the throes of finishing something up with that same deadline, so am not taking on anything else right now.

All best,

Paul D. Marks

Awarding-winning Author Paul D. Marks @PaulDMarks is an Author of noir, mysteries, satire & mainstream fiction.

Here's my response to your question on book launches:

It's all really pretty basic stuff. Try to get review copies out to various people.  Then use social media like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.  Also word of mouth.  Then, hopefully one thing builds on another.  And if you have a good track record, a book that's been well-reviewed before or has won awards you can play on that to try to get more attention for the new one.

Paul D. Marks

Judith Marshall

Award-Winning Author Judith Marshall @whipsandjingles is the author of Women's Fiction novels.

Hi James,

Here’s my paragraph. I have lots of more tips, but this is a start.

Preparing for your book launch:

Start early. Three months before publication:

1)                 Buy a domain name – choose either the title of your book, or if you plan to write more books, use your name.

2)                 Set up either a free or hosted website/blog and start posting about the upcoming book. Add your URL to your email signature line, so it’s on every message your send. Also, use social media to build interest; i.e. Twitter, Facebook (start a page for your title), Google+, etc. You can also set up a board on Pinterest and post pictures about your writing, the steps to publication, or whatever will attract followers.  Be creative. Nobody follows a post that screams “buy my book!”

3)   Plan to pay a professional to write a press release. You don’t need an entire press kit; just a well-written one-page release.  There are several free distribution websites, but you may want to pay a book marketing service to distribute to credible media contacts. I did and my novel, “Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever,” caught the attention of a Hollywood producer and the book has been optioned for the big screen.

Good luck!   
Judith Marshall

Amy Metz

Author Amy Metz @authoramymetz is an Author of Mystery & Thrillers as well as a blogger and book editor.

James, forgive me, it's been a hellish last ten days. I just realized--I don't think I sent this to you yet. If it's too late, I completely understand. I'm sorry for my tardiness.

I think it's important for authors to try to get a "buzz" going about their book before it launches. About two months before a launch, I send out queries to as many bloggers and reviewers as I can find that fits with my genre. Many don't respond at all, some say flat out no thank you, but some kind souls agree to review the book or to do a feature on their blog. Interviews and excerpts give the reader brief glimpses into a writer's style and their work. As an author, I know what an invaluable service bloggers provide to authors by helping us promote our work. I try to support authors on my blog in that way and my goal is to feature a blue million books--hence the name A Blue Million Books! In addition to author features, I hope authors will find my page "Marketing for Dummies (and Indies)" ( useful. There are so many free resources out there, authors should take advantage of as many as they can.

Thanks, James!

Steven Montano

Science Fiction & Fantasy Author Steven Montano @Daezarkian. He is the creator of the BLOOD SKIES series.

"For me the hardest part about a book launch is remembering all of the steps.  You have to make sure your cover and ad blurb are ready early enough to start scheduling teasers and guest posts well before the release, you have to make sure to have the ARCs in your book reviewer’s hands early enough for them to be ready when the book comes out...and of course you have to make sure you give yourself time to get the book done in time to do all of that.

The easiest way for me to do all of this is to decide what my end date is, which I don’t bother to set until I know I’m about 90% finished with the final edits.  From there, I can plan backwards – if I’m releasing on Feb 7th, then I know to set the cover reveal two weeks before that, to have ARCs out 3 weeks in advance, etc.  If you can get yourself a street team to help you spread the word then you’re a step ahead of the game, because rather than soliciting book bloggers and reviewers you already have a built-in support base to help you get things rolling."

Thanks James!

Susan Oleksiw

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

Another great idea  for a post, James.

Launching a book is almost as much work as writing it, but I have a few established steps.

1. I order updated bookmarks with the cover of the new book. I give these to everyone, and even put them into reply envelopes for bills, etc. I also make sure I have enough business cards. I put cards and bookmarks on every chair at a book event (if there is seating), and hand them out at events like book fairs.

2. I compile a list of reviewers and invite them to review the ARC. I send the ARCs out about three months in advance. I ask colleagues, friends, and professional reviewers to review. I include a letter from the publisher indicating the type of story, etc.

3. I begin setting up events--talks, panels, etc., anything that gets my name out there. 

4. I use social media, so I'll have a few posts on my own blog plus do a few guest blogs. I post on FB and I am learning to use Pinterest, especially since I have wonderful covers.

5. This one is harder, but I recommend it if you can pull it off. I recently sold a short story with the Anita Ray character, my series character, to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. This will probably be published in the coming year, which will reinforce interest, I hope, in the novel For the Love of Parvati, coming out in May 2014.

6. I use Wattpad to introduce readers to my series characters by posting very short stories for free. I also have posted the opening scene from a longer work, with a link to the site where the reader can buy the whole work.

This is work, as you know.

Susan Oleksiw

Katherine Owen

Award-winning and best-selling Author Katherine Owen @KatherineOwen01 writes Contemporary Romance and Women's Contemporary Fiction.

Hi James,

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. This is a complicated question. There is so much to the process of launching a book. I wouldn't know how to condense it to a couple of paragraphs. Hopefully you will get enough response from others for you post. Thanks for considering me for your topic.


Mohana Rajakumar

Award-winning Author Mohana Rajakumar @moha_doha is an author based in Qatar. She has a PhD and has been involved in various foundations supporting young writers.

Hi James: Do you have space to host me in a guest post for Feb about my book Love Comes Later? Anytime until the 15th/16h would be great.
Here are some answers:
Book launches are like delivering babies, you need month and months of preparation. If you wait until your book is out to tell people, you'll already be scrambling to get it attention. To get the most noise out of a launch, book a tour or ask your blogging friends to host you on a series of days leading up to or after the launch.
Here's what I'm doing to promote AN UNLIKELY GODDESS:

1.    Name before the masses tour with Goddess Fish (Novel Publicity is also another great tour host)
Make sure you understand the difference between an excerpt and a review tour. If you don't have 25 reviews up in Goodreads or Amazon, consider one. You're not paying for reviews, but for the time of the company to book them for you.

2.    Get out on all your platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Youtube (book trailer).

3.    Develop a 'blogger package' with cover, author photo, bio, excerpt and guest post about a topic related to the book. I wrote about Hinduism, daughters, and even Indian cooking for my release related to An Unlikely Goddess which is a coming of age story about a South Indian immigrant girl.

            4.  Get help if you need it: social media experts are out there as are author groups. Join                 one or more and maximize on the power of a group.

Luke Romyn

International Best-Selling Author Luke Romyn @LukeRomyn writes Mystery & Thrillers, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy novels.

Hi James,

Thanks for thinking of me for this.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing, and have to tear myself away when it comes time to stop editing. However, once I manage this, I send the MS off to my editor, Chuck David, and wait. He usually takes around a month or so for his copy, then sends it back looking like a rainbow. Anyone who has worked with an editor should know what I mean by this - different colored highlights and fonts for different issues.

At first it was a bit daunting, but now I'm used to it. Once I do my run through and am happy with it, I'll send it off to several proofreaders to pick up the final crumbs, then format it for both print and ebook. These can sometimes be annoying, but nothing too strenuous. I upload the copies and prepare the great Luke Romyn marketing machine - lots of begging, pleading, and ultimately, weeping.

Luke Romyn
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."
- Martin Luther King Jr

Roger Stelljes

Author Roger Stelljes @rogerstelljes is the bestselling author of the McRyan Mystery Series.

With each book launch I reassess the process in view of what changes have occurred in the e-book market. Since things are changing so fast what works one year may not work well the next.  Also launching a first book for an author will be ultimately more challenging than launching an additional book in a series. Here are a few ideas and suggestions:
-  Do an early cover release on your website/blog along with a couple of sample chapters to give the readers a taste.  (I don't recommend setting a specific release date until you know the book is live at all locations.)
-  Build your Twitter fan base while writing the next book and then tweet the release (just don't over tweet)
-  Build a "New Release" email list and then send out an email announcing the new book
Blog about the release and where the book is available (make sure the book is live on all sites before doing your social media)
Offer a new release sale price across social media for early purchasers of the book (this may also generate some reviews)
When the new book has enough reviews run a few paid book promotions on other websites
-  Make sure your other e-book listings and author profiles are updated and mention your new release
Most importantly have a plan and then add to the plan as you go! A book launch isn't about marketing the day of the launch it is more about taking a long term perspective and creating a build over the long run.

Lizzy Stevens

Amazon Best Selling Author Lizzy Stevens @LizzyStevens123 writes Paranormal, Romance and Woman's fiction.

Hi James,

I use my blog to post the cover, buy link and blurb and I use twitter to announce the new release and include the buy link with my tweet.


Susan Vreeland

Internationally known author of art-related historical fiction Susan Vreeland. She is a New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany and more.

Dear James,

First point, a book launch is not a problem to be tackled. For me, it is a joyous planning. I am happy to tell you of several new ideas that I will utilize for the launch of my new book, Lisette's List.

1. Six months before pub date I announce the title on Facebook (I don't have a Twitter account) and make references to the book's content from time to time when something (like an art museum exhibition) comes to my attention for me to post.

2. I host a little contest by posting two paintings by painters who appear in the book, and ask Facebook readers to guess the artists. The first person to guess both artists correctly gets a copy of the first chapter.

3. I host a second contest asking another question relative to the book, for example, I will give a quote (about art in my case), and give away another copy of the first chapter to the first person who identifies who wrote the quote.

4. Three months before pub date, I will begin posting a line or two from each chapter every week on the same day, avoiding lines that give too much information yet are intriguing.

5. Random House is encouraging its authors to create a buzz about the revelation of the cover. I am now working with the marketing department to design a "cover reveal," some kind of hoopla to get people curious about the cover. Eight days before the date of the cover release, I will begin a countdown on Facebook, and encourage supporters to do the same. I chose eight days because Lisette's List is my eighth book. The cover reveal will include a blog or blogs that will go live on that date. (James, maybe that's how you can participate, with a blog about Lisette's List or a blog speculating on what the cover might be, the text preceding the cover image on the blog). Another kind of contest or giveaway might be arranged by my publisher.

6. When the book is available for pre-order, I will notify a limited number of friends (not my whole mailing list of 5000) that they can order it now for delivery on pub date. The first mass mailing will also include this information and the cover.

7. Even prior to being assigned a publicist, I will tell my local independent bookstore which has hosted my launches in the past the date of release, and will ask that they save the date, pending my publisher's plans.

I hope that gives you some ideas to report. I hope you will participate in my "cover reveal" by posting it along with a description of the book, both of which I will provide. Do I remember correctly that you are interested in writing a review of the book? When do you have in mind to post that? I would be very grateful if you would do that. In this way, we can help each other out.

Sincerely, Susan

HBS Author Spotlight

I have included various responses from the question and answer sessions from the HBS Author Spotlight blog.

General Question asked in the Q/A sessions.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

Colin F. Barnes

Colin F. Barnes @ColinFBarnes is a Hybrid writer of dark fiction & Technothriller novels.

This is an area I’m still working on. I tried doing a blog tour for Assembly Code and given the amount of work involved for the return, I don’t think it’s effective. It can be good for certain genres where you have blogs with huge amounts of readers (romance particularly), but for me it was a bust…

My next launch will be more structured and ad-supported with the various bargain book newsletters and blogs. They can be really effective, and if your book catches, the Amazon algorithms can kick in and really get it going in those first 30 days when you’re on the ‘Hot New Releases’ list.

B. B. Griffith

B. B. Griffith @GriffithPublish is the author of the The Tournament Mystery Trilogy.

In the past I’ve promoted the first in my series to coincide with the release of the second and third book, either through Bookbub or ENT. Then you just cross your fingers and hit publish. There's no hard and fast rule for a successful launch, and I don't think things need to line up perfectly. Just remember to keep in mind that you’ve accomplished something major. You’ve published. Raise a glass.

Steven Konkoly

Steven Konkoly @stevenkonkoly is the Author of the apocalyptic thriller, The Jakarta Pandemic, and gritty covert-ops series, Black Flagged.

I approach my book launches a little differently now. Having built a solid readership, I rely heavily on their support in the beginning… For me, leaning on my reader list has been the most effective. Another important aspect of maintaining a dedicated reader list, is the sheer number of reviews they can generate within the first month.

Christopher Meeks

Christopher Meeks @MeeksChris is a Prizewinning novelist who writes serious and funny fiction.

In today’s environment, books with reviews by both customers and critics is the best way to have your book stand out.

Chantel Rhondeau  

This last time, I put a book free at the same time to boost my visibility, which did seem to help but will only work once with any given title The 7 Day Launch Strategy.

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Or visit my blog: The eBook Author Corner
Take a look at my Author’s blog: HBS Author’s Spotlight
Or my Mystery blog: HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novel: Black Mountain Secrets
NEW RELEASE: Another Jonathon Stone Mystery: Game Of Fire

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