Publish vs Launch
#HuntedLives was my debut novel. When I decided to self-publish, I was overwhelmed with how much there was to learn. I'm STILL learning! Posts within this category are primarily for authors who are new to self-publishing. I published my book on Amazon so most of what I discuss is related to that platform. But elements of my discussions will apply regardless of where you decide to publish.
So what is the difference between publishing and launching a book? Aren't they the same?
The dictionary defines the two as follows:
Publish - To prepare and issue (a book, music, or other material) for public distribution, especially for sale.
Launch - 1) An event at which something, such as a book or product, is presented to the public for the first time; 2) the act of creating, presenting or promoting a new product, to throw oneself (into) with vigor; rush; plunge.
The first definition of launch is essentially the same as publishing, right?
It's the second definition that is critical and why you treat the two as different events. When you make your book publicly known via your launch, you want to do it with a bang so people can find it, see it, and are excited to buy it!
The idea is to publish your book first then launch it a minimum of two weeks later. Vital things occur in that two-week period.
* Send an advance review copy (ARC) to multiple people and ask them to post a customer review (shoot for at least 10 reviews).
* If you know any influencers, or people within the field of your writing, send them an ARC, as well, and ask them to provide you with an editorial review (they carry more weight and are listed closer to the top of your book page).
* Set up your author page (on Amazon) and your book page (with your book description, etc)
* Amazon has time to set up your book page to include the 'Look Inside' feature.
* Set up your advertising to start running a day or two before your book launches. (Advertising will be covered later).
* The night before your book launch, drop the digital price to $0.99 for 5 days (make sure your ads reflect this great offer!).
Lots of sales begets higher ranks begets lots more sales.
You have to get people to your book page (the first goal in a big launch) and make your story so compelling in your book description that they buy your book (the end goal).
What is the ideal length of time between publishing and launching? That varies. Two weeks is a minimum. Amazon needs that time (I don't know about other platforms), so do you. It can be longer though.
Some authors do the reverse. They start with a sort of pre-launch to generate excitement and sales by offering pre-orders. The price is low to generate sales and to create a sense of urgency to buy before the pre-order sale is over. Then on the official publish date, the price reverts to the regular price and the book is sent out (or downloaded) to everyone who pre-ordered it.
This pre-order period can last as long as you want, 1, 2, 3 months. I don't know if I'd go longer than that. And during the entire pre-order period, you're advertising, getting customer reviews, etc., so that when you officially publish, your ranking is well-established.
There is no right or wrong in what you do, not really. The steps to publish within Amazon (and I'm assuming the other platforms) is very easy and can be done in an hour or less.
What you do depends on your goals.
If your goal is to make a lot of money, sell tons of books, and become well-known, then some of the steps here and in future blogs within this Self-Publishing Category are needed to increase your chances of hitting those goals.
If you have any questions about self-publishing or how I did something that you'd like an answer to, be sure to let me know and I'll address it in a future post.