Lessons From My Book Launch

Lessons From My Book Launch

If anyone ever tells you launching a book (or any product, for that matter) is easy, smile sweetly and back away. They’re either lying, or utterly clueless.

Speaking of utterly clueless, I did my first book launch recently. And I learned a lot

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I’ve written a lot of books… but I’d never launched one before. Want to know what I learned?

If anyone ever tells you launching a book (or any product, for that matter) is easy, smile sweetly and back away. They’re either lying, or utterly clueless.

Speaking of utterly clueless, I did my first book launch recently. And I learned a lot.

The book I launched—How The Hell Do You Write A Book—isn’t my first book; a few years ago, I wrote Business For Superheroes. And over the past seven years or so I’ve ghostwritten or coached many more books into existence. But the writing is where my involvement tended to end: this was my first proper book launch.

For Business For Superheroes, I simply launched the book to my extremely engaged and responsive (yet small) email list and pre-sold my entire first print run of around 200 copies.

This time, I decided to do more.

What I Did in 2020

Here’s what I did:

  • Contacted a bunch of cool experts and asked for their help in launching my book to their lists.
  • Created a secret webpage containing advice and information from said experts as bonuses for people buying my book.
  • Put together some cool swag for readers depending on how many copies they bought.
  • Got people to send me their receipts so I could a) send their goodies and b) add them to my email list and build a relationship with them.
  • Asked my assistant to create some buzz on social media, pointing people towards my launch page.
  • Launched to my email list, as before.

The main point of this, aside from selling more books, was to rebuild my shaky email list and forge new relationships with business owners interested in writing and using a book of their own.

From that point of view, although my numbers were small, I’m pleased. I have some fantastic new contacts who are replying to my emails and getting involved with the writing tasks I’m setting them.

What I Learned From My Book Launch

I learned a metric fuckton from my first book launch—and I’m sure there are many other lessons I could have learned that I haven’t included here. Here are the main ones, though.

  1. Start the whole process earlier.
  2. Start the whole process earlier.
  3. Start the whole process earlier.
  4. Have as much as humanly possible prepared in advance (I didn’t do too badly here, but I did end up doing some last-minute stuff that was stressful, that I could have done before).
  5. Be braver about asking for help. Everyone I asked said ‘yes’ to my request for help. There were people I didn’t ask, who I wish I had—after all, the worst they could say is ‘no’.
  6. Use adverts. I didn’t get my shit together in time to get ads working for me. Next time, I’ll have an ad campaign ready to go on Facebook and Amazon.
  7. Instead of selling at full-price, start the launch with a low price, get lots of sales and reviews, get ranked higher, then push the price up later when the launch is over. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this.
  8. Ask for reviews more often throughout the whole process. Getting reviews is notoriously difficult and frustrating.
  9. Make more of a fuss about the launch on social media. I was too afraid of pissing people off—yet this is the thing I’m most proud of. Why the hell shouldn’t I shout about it? If people don’t want to hear it, they can turn off.
  10. Do a book tour: more live events and a live launch party. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this; I think I was just too tired by the time it came to it, which isn’t much of an excuse, really.
  11. Organise a big online party on Facebook Live. I didn’t do this because I don’t know enough about Facebook Lives, and I didn’t leave myself enough time to find out

The thing is, we can’t all do everything—but we can almost always do more. I certainly could.

So while my book launch wasn’t enormous by big name standards, I am pleased. I sold plenty of books, I learned some valuable lessons—and I have had enough high-quality enquiries to keep me busy for the next year if they all come to fruition.

If you’re ready to launch your book—or you’re planning ahead (you organised sensible person, you)—here’s my big takeaway:

Put a proper plan in place, ask people to help, and don’t be afraid to be super-excited about launching your book.

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Speaking of the book… if you want to get in on the launch bonus action, you can snaffle a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book from here. Happy reading and writing!

Start Writing Your Book Today

If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.

About Vicky…

Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she’s not doing that, she’s hanging from a trapeze by her feet.