July 2

5 Vital Pieces to Prepare for Your Book Launch

    Even if you’re still in the midst of writing your first draft, launching your book is the ultimate goal, right?

    You know you need to hire 3 editors to make sure your manuscript content is top notch & try not to get caught up obsessing about the edits, but what about after that?

    What about all the steps to prepare your finished manuscript to be uploaded + launched?

    You’re in the right place. *wink*

    Read on to discover the 5 vital pieces you need to prepare for your book launch

    These are the absolute minimum elements we do with all of our authors to ensure they have a positive, and possibly brag-worthy launch – and you can too.

    Vital Piece #1: Book Title, Categories, & Metadata (oh my!)

    The first thing people will notice about your book is the title, and your Amazon categories & metadata may be the reason they even find your book title.

    Choosing a book title can be overwhelming, but here’s the best advice: keep. It. Simple. 

    The main title of the book should be short & sweet, with additional details in the subtitle. The title should catch attention, while the subtitle helps the reader decide if the book is geared toward them (or at least enough interest for them to turn the book cover and read the description on the back).

    Your back-of-the-book description is a key part of your metadata, or the info that expands on your book title.

    When you upload your book, along with the book title and subtitle, you’ll provide a description and a collection of keywords that represent the main topics or subjects of your book.

    Along with keywords, categories are especially important. These are the major groups that your book will be listed in on Amazon. When folks browse the category, they’ll find your book & help Amazon recommend your book to people that already read or browse books in that category. 

    Also, when you launch your book, your goal will be to try and hit the #1 spot in at least one of the categories your book is listed in (a major accomplishment & proof of all your hard work).

    Vital Piece #2: Book Cover Design & Formatting

    Your book cover is just as important as your book title! 

    How many times have you picked up or clicked on a book solely because of its cover?

    Along with the design, you’ll also need to have the cover formatted for the respective online sites you plan to upload your book to (we use IngramSpark and Amazon KDP). Each site has its own specifications & your book cover designer should be able to do this for you.

    We’ve talked about how to choose your book cover before – it’s easier than you think.

    Vital Piece #3: Book Manuscript Formatting

    So you have a strong book title & subtitle, and you have a great cover. Now what?

    You’ll need someone to format the manuscript itself, both for the physical copies of the book and the ebook, which requires special editing.

    Your formatter will ensure that your book is visually consistent throughout the whole manuscript & that many of the fun ebook features (like the time to finish each chapter & hyperlinks) are all working correctly.

    We also recommend adding a freebie bonus to the front of your ebook (great for email list growth!).

    Vital Piece #4: Printed Proof Copies + Tweaks

    Once your cover & manuscript files are ready, you can upload your book – you’re almost there!

    We use Amazon KDP for the ebook and the paperback, and we use IngramSpark for the hardback.

    Amazon and IngramSpark coordinate, so when your hardback files are uploaded to IngramSpark, the hardback version of your book automatically be added to your book's Amazon sales page (neato!).

    When you upload your print book files (paperback and/or hardback), you’ll have the option of having a physical copy sent to you for you to review. 

    We ALWAYS recommend reviewing a physical copy of each printed book! Even if everything looks good digitally, you never know what could happen until it’s printed. The cover could be offset, the interior font could be one size too small … etc.

    Uploading your print book files at least one month before your launch date will ensure that you have enough time for your printed proof copies to arrive & you can make any updates with your formatter no more than 2 weeks before your launch date. 

    After that, Amazon & IngramSpark can’t guarantee that the newest files will be available for your launch week.

    Vital Piece #5: Promotional Plan for 5-Day Launch Period

    While this is listed as the last vital piece, this is one of the few elements you can begin working on BEFORE the editing phase is even over!

    It’s never too early to start planning how you want to promote your book while the e-book is listed for free during the 5-day launch period.

    When you set your e-book to be free for 5 days, the goal is for people to download the book & leave reviews, which helps immensely to increase your book’s visibility in the Amazon store.

    Bonus: ask a team of people to read your book ahead of time and be ready to download the e-book on launch day & leave their review. Make sure they download the e-book first so they're counted as a “verified purchase” in the review section (Amazon’s favorite type of reviews).

    Aim for 20 people to leave a review during launch week, and you'll be well ahead of most self-published authors!

    Not everyone will leave a review, but many people in your world will want a FREE e-book, right? How do you get the word out to them?

    The opportunities are endless when it comes to promotion, but we recommend identifying your ideal reader to help narrow down your focus. 

    Facebook is a popular social media site used for book promotions, but there are many other social media outlets. If you enjoy one outlet more than another, then you’ll be more likely to keep up with promotions (an ongoing element of being a published author!).

    Social media may get all the attention, but having a newsletter list is the #1 most important promotional tool for any author. This is the most direct way you can communicate with your readers, both during your launch and after it’s over (and it’s never too soon to start growing your list – even when you’re writing the first draft!

    Writing the first draft was intense, but you made it.

    Editing the book was more difficult than you imagined, but it was worth it, and you made it.

    Now, all of your hard work can pay off with your book launch – but you still have to put in a bit more effort. 

    All the prep may make it seem like writing the book was the easy part, but preparing for the launch can actually be the fun part (yes, we’re serious).

    Bookmark this post for that exciting time when you’re on the verge of launching your book & want to have all your bases covered.

    Bio: Victoria Klein is a two-time published author (currently writing her 3rd book) and the VP of Production for Paper Raven Books. Formerly PRB’s Book Project Manager, Victoria has helped numerous authors through the self-publishing process from start to finish. Through her monthly posts, she’ll reveal the biggest concerns and mistakes of self-publishing authors, and how to solve them.


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