Book Launch Check List — Dorothy Grant

Book Launch Check List — Dorothy Grant

I’ve been asked what I do for Peter’s book launches. To the complete and utter lack of surprise of those who know me, I have a checklist. Here’s the cleaned-up version, hopefully all the shorthand notes-to-self expanded or removed, and made useful for other authors. (My personal version includes when to take my love out to dinner because he’s been too busy fighting createspace to cook, and other things that would make you wonder if this is a checklist or a love note.)

0.1 email friends, friendly acquaintances, etc. And ask if they wouldn’t mind passing on a notice when your book launches. have copies of the rough version ready in several formats, to send to those who want to do a pre-read and review on release day. Offer to do some guest posts.
0.2 write those guest posts, to go live on friendly blogs in the week after the launch is live and rolling. Save them, to modify once you get the book cover and the link to retailers.
0.5 Cover reveal
0.75 teaser chapter posted
1. Upload to createspace first, as it takes the most time.
2. Upload to smashwords/D2D
3. Upload to kindle.
3. Kindle live? Download a copy, make sure it looks good. Swear at three typos that suddenly jumped out at you.
4. Upload revisions.
5. Once paperback and ebook are live on amazon, contact author central to get them linked on the same page.
6. Once you have the ASIN and amazon link for the new ebook, pull up the prior book in the series. Modify with at least the “Next book in series is (link)”, consider adding entire teaser chapter and a buy-here link to the end. If this isn’t a sequel or in a series, consider if you want to modify all prior books with “Other books by author” in the back, for maximum cross-sales.
6.5 Upload changed older book(s), wash, rinse, repeat for other vendors.
7. Upload the book cover and Amazon Associate link to your blog sidebar. Make sure it is on top, above any of your other book cover links, so any occasional browser will see it first!
8. Announce to the world on all your blogs, my/twit/face and mailing list, if you have one. If you can’t wait for the items to be linked, announce early with separate links for paper and ebook version. Make sure you use an Amazon Associate link to your stuff, in order to see how many people clicked through and bought – tells you the effective size of your initial base for future marketing. The extra kickback money is the bonus; the data is the important part.
9. Then, watch your friends and associates pick up the announcement, and it get reblogged. Cheer, and send them thank yous.
10. The publicity will die off, you’ll really need to step AWAY from the computer for a few days, because soft launches take time. Also-boughts take about 3 days to populate, and you’ll see the sales rise once the also-bought recommendations start doing marketing for you, to the most likely customers.
11. About a week later, the people who read your book will start leaving reviews on amazon and on their own blogs. (It really does take about a week for the bulk of readers. You’ll get some fast ones, you’ll get some slow ones, but a week seems average.) You’ll get a sales lift from the initial round of reviews, because the people who are mildly curious but waiting to see if it’s any good will now be told it’s good.
12. Do a second round of reminding on the places you can. (You might do a third round, but we’ve found via Amazon Associate tracking that you enter a region of rapidly diminishing returns after the first announcement, and by the third, you’re looking at less than 5% clickthrough at best. The people who follow you tend to go right away or not for weeks.)
13. Take a deep, calming breath, and remind yourself that this book is going to be out there earning for years, so you don’t need to worry terribly as the sales die down. Try not to check your sales more than once a week.
14. Start the next book.

This is by no means the authoritative checklist. I’ve left out Goodreads marketing, uploading the cover to Pinterest and Tumblr, Creating images and running release week ads, and lots of other things I know much more successful authors do. I’ve also left out the mentions of excitement about the book being almost ready on my/twit/face, because we don’t have a broad social media presence, and therefore I’d be giving advice blindly based on “well, I hear that…” Some authors even hold off on the launch and send out ARCs via goodreads and rafflecopter, to ensure they have reviews posting on their launch day.

What else do you do? What works for you? What didn’t work for you? What do you want to try?

The next launch coming up – for War To The Knife, later this month, will be complicated and I’m going to have to start a second checklist for “releasing around the week you go to Libertycon.” I’m already facing dilemmas like postcard of cover or bookmarks? What the heck is a launch party, and if this coincides next year, should I throw one at the con? Swag or no swag?


  1. I might add Dorothy’s a blessing and a pearl of great price when it comes to getting my books out. It’s worth gold to have a sympathetic ear when I’m tired and fractious, a reminder now and then to think about something I’ve forgotten, and a word of encouragement whenever I get frustrated. I truly couldn’t write without her. She’s very much an equal partner in this writing game, as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Filed in Writer’s Help folder. With my thanks, One of these days I’m going to get some books up.

  3. Ok, ok. The Baen Fantasy submission is ready, all I need is to attach the submission page and submit.

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