I’m in the midst of launching a book right now. I am cringing as I write that sentence because from my vantage point it seems like all I’m doing is talking about this book. But that’s part of launch – it’s all-consuming, stressful, endless, and exhilarating, not always in equal measure.
For most of us, the process of launching a book is hard. It goes against our solo-flying, art-tending spirits to sell . . . and a launch is all about selling. That’s just the truth of it.
But that doesn’t mean a book launch has to be self-absorbed, manipulative, or egotistical. A well-done launch can be about listening, serving, and helping other people. At least that’s my goal.
Launching with Kris and Kelly
I’m learning a lot about how to do book launches well from two of my friends, Kris Camealy and Kelly Chripzcuk. Each of these women is in the midst of their launch processes, and I am HONORED to be on their launch teams, where I get to witness their generosity, gentleness, and quiet dedication to their work.
Let me start with Kris. Her book Come Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting* came out just a few weeks ago, and throughout the weeks leading up to and following the launch, she has offered gratitude, support, suggestions, and wisdom for all of us who are supporting her book launch. Her attitude and gentle action are, of course, the most important aspect of the launch, but they have also brought her results. Right now, her book has 50 reviews after just 6 weeks out, and it is still in the top 40 for one Amazon category. That’s good results there, people.
Kelly is launching her first book Chicken Scratch: Stories of Love, Risk, and Poultry.* Kelly is finding her way through the crazy world of publishing, and I am so admiring her honesty, her vulnerability, and her willingness to ask questions as she moves forward with putting this book into the world. Her book is currently in pre-order, but she’s already garnering reviews and getting orders. It’s very exciting.
5 Ways to Avoid Being that Annoying, Selfish Person with a New Book
- Say Thank You. As much as possible in as many ways as possible. Thank your team. Thank individuals. Thank people publicly and privately. Say thank you a lot.
- Tell your book’s story. Help the people who are helping you have more to say than, “This book is for sale.” Give them a story that inspires them and might inspire buyers. Explain how you came up with this idea. Tell people what you hope this book will mean to people.
- Provide Tools. People often want to help you share your new book, but they can only share the link to a retailer so many times. So give them photos, memes, quotes, links, etc. that they can share. After all, your friends and supporters don’t want to be annoying and aggressive as they help you either.
- Give Things Away. Set up a Goodreads giveaway for your print books and tell people about it. Do the same with an ebook on Amazon. Show that you are generous, and it will serve you as well as others.
- Reciprocate. Serve on other people’s launch teams. Promote other people’s books. BUY OTHER PEOPLE’S BOOKS AND REVIEW THEM. Support other writers at least three times more than you ask them to support you. That’s just being a good person.
The fact of the matter is that when you launch a book you NEED people to help you – to share your book, review it, buy it, recommend it. You can’t get around needing the help of other people, but then, why should we?
The idea that a writer can do it all herself without help is a lie that leaves us isolated, alone, and frustrated. The “independent spirit” only serves so far in writing – and in life – so let’s be generous in our giving, helpful in our supporting, and honest in asking.
It is possible to bring a book into the world and offer it up as a gift and an invitation to our readers. All it takes is a little openness, generosity, and humility to admit what we need. When we can do that, we not only model a community spirit but we may also see just the kind of sales numbers we want and need. And that’s a win for everyone.
What book launch strategies have you seen that you really liked? Why did you like them in particular?
Charlotte and the Twelve is now available for pre-order.
Thanks for checking out this book of mine. I’m so grateful.