Are You Ready to Self-Publish Your First Book?
Weeks leading up to a book launch can be exhausting and scary. Thoughts of "Did I do everything I needed to do? Is anyone going to like my book? Maybe I shouldn't do this," might be running through your head.
This is normal! Honestly, I'd be shocked if you weren't having those thoughts.
I would say I would be lying if I weren't thinking those same things right now as Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss gets ready to launch here in the next few weeks on Amazon.
Endless hours of hard work and energy all lead up to the moment you hit the publishing button. Along the way you might forget about a few simple but crucial items prior to self-publishing. This is why I created a list of 5 things you should do before you self-publish your first book on Amazon.
Do These 5 Things Before Launch Day
1. Get a Team of Supporters
Even though self-publishing has the word self in it doesn't mean you have to do everything alone. If anything it's quite the opposite. You would be surprised at the amount of people who are willing to jump on board when hearing about your book.
It's best to start talking to your friends and family about your book a good 6-8 months before the launch. Most often times they want to be involved in the process and hear all the exciting news. These are your supporters.
When you are about a month out from your first launch let them know it's time and you need their support. Have them share any marketing you have to social media. Have your supporters read the book to get any final feedback.
It's as simple as asking.
For myself, I sent out an invite to join what I like to call TEAM BOOK to about 40 supporters. If they wanted to join all they had to do was sign up! From there, I've been sending them emails with updates about my work along with asking for help on certain processes. I get constant feedback about my book and also get to hear about how much people love being involved!
So go jot down a list of names you think will support your book launch. It can be as small as five to as large as 100. I always say the more the merrier!
2. Picking Categories and Keywords
If you are self-publishing on Amazon, it's helpful to look at book categories and keywords weeks in advance. Picking the correct terms can make sure your book gets to number one best seller on the charts.
There are several ways you can do this. Either going through each book category yourself, which can take several hours, or purchase programs to help narrow down potential buyers.
For my first time, I decided to go through each category myself. Seeing what ranking the number one best seller had in a certain category really made me see what would work best for my book.
Remember to pick appropriate categories, because if you assign your children's book as an adult romance it will most likely not be bought.
You can also buy programs which will help you narrow down keywords and terms buyers will search for when looking for a book. If you have extra cash to spend towards those programs I say go for it! Otherwise, try to think outside the box when filling in your keywords on your Author Central page. You have seven fill in the blanks so choose wisely!
3. Collecting Editorial Reviews
If you read my other blog posts about editorial reviews you should know to request them a few months in advance. They should start trickling in over the next few months and you can add them to you Author Central page on Amazon. Most times though you may have to send reminder emails to the reviewer a few weeks before hand.
Most bloggers are busy so they might wait until the last minute to review your work. Sometimes they might forget in general and need the reminder.
I sent out a reminder email three weeks in advance to my book launch giving them enough time to send back everything I need. Remember to only email people back who have agreed to reviewing your book!
I accidentally sent an email to a blogger sharing the same name as another blogger who agreed to review my story. Let's just say the email I received back wasn't very friendly. I emailed back politely explaining my mistake and then immediately removed the blogger from my list of potential future editorial reviewers.
So when sending reminder emails be as polite as possible!
4. Sharing to Social Media
Most authors suggest talking about your book to your followers about 6 months in advance to build anticipation.
I DO NOT agree with this strategy.
Instead, I share out to my following one month in advance. It is just enough time to create buildup, but doesn't leave the person bored of reading your updates after two months.
For your first book, it's a fun surprise for everyone to see especially if they didn't know you were working on the project. To make things more exciting, I kicked off with a countdown starting at 1 month along with a short heartfelt story to show the readers why they should be interested in my book.
Using Canva.com, I was able to create a beautiful countdown image which I use to switch the text out for every week. This means I have a 1 month, 3 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week, 2 days, 1 day, NOW AVAILABLE ready to go!
I also include fun short stories on each countdown to attract more traffic. At the very bottom, I leave the sale information such as the launch date, site to purchase, and website link. This way, the post is genuine but people are able to easily find more information on your book. See my post explaining more!
5. Plan a Book Launch Party
A book launch party is the perfect way celebrate with family and friends as a new self-published author!
The best time to have the party is the night before the launch. This gets people excited about your book and they will most likely buy it the next day.
If you don't know where to start I suggest hiring an event planner. I hired my friend Killian who specializes in event planning. Even though potentially pricey, event planners can take some of the work load off your back as you finish working on your story.
I suggest having food, games, and theming the party based around your book. For Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss, we are decorating with colors similar to what you would find on the front cover along with a medieval food assortment.
There will be fun games to play along with goodie bags to give the guests which also related to the story.
Hopefully these five things help you launch your book successfully! I know they have been useful for me as a first time self-publishing author.
If you have any other item you would like to add to the list leave a comment below. If you are interested in my work you can click here to see what I have been working on. Until then...