I’ve talked before about book launches and share a simple book launch framework. But I wanted to focus here on the tale of two launches: the big, splashy book launch and the low-key, chill book launch.
But wait, isn’t there just one way to launch a book? Go big or go home?
No. I’m not really into one-size-fits-all for most things, and book launching is one of them. I’m going to go over some reasons why you might choose one over the other and end with some encouragement no matter which launch plan you choose.
LISTEN TO EPISODE 192- BIG BOOK LAUNCHES VS LOW-KEY LAUNCHES
BIG BOOK BOOK LAUNCHES
The idea of big book launches comes from traditional publishing. It’s how book launching has been DONE. It’s how it’s still done, for the most part, in the trad pub world. Many indie authors choose this method as well.
When it comes to a big book launch, it means that you’ve got all your ducks in a row to have the best first day and week possible.
You’ve got the print book ready. Possibly already sent out to bookstragrammers and reviewers, if you send hard copies.
You might even have the audio version ready.
You’ve been building your platform, priming your readers, doing countdown graphics and cover reveals and so on.
You’ve stacked promos. You’re running ads.
You have Facebook parties and takeovers scheduled.
The day of your big launch comes, and you’re online constantly for days or a week. You might not be sleeping. You’re hitting refresh on sales, you’re checking the ranking. You’re checking reviews.
You’re on social media, posting your books, posting links in groups, telling everyone and anyone and their mother’s brother about your book.
You email your list. You check open rates and click rates.
You are celebrating wildly, or you are in despair. It’s exhausting, and it’s also exhilarating. It’s your party, so you can laugh or cry if you want to. Then you might sleep for a week after.
(You can also do a more bootstrappy version of the big launch where you’re still focusing on all these moving parts and having them ready on launch day or launch week, just with more focus on organic reach and less on ads.)
That is a big book launch in a nutshell. Did I miss anything? Let’s move on to a low-key book launch.
LOW-KEY BOOK LAUNCHES
A low-key launch is one that doesn’t necessarily focus on the first day or week of a book launch being a huge spike or explosion. The Writing Gals call this a slow launch–watch this great video on that for more.
Your book publishes, and you probably remember. (I have honestly had a preorder launch before and I totally forgot. Maybe that’s TOO low-key.)
You email your list. You might post in your Facebook group. You remind your review team to review.
While you might do all the things listed above in terms of promoting, you’re doing so at a different pace. The focus is NOT the first day. Or even necessarily the first week.
You aren’t focused on the first day or even first week of your launch. Your goal is to sell books more slowly, building up, and hopefully becoming sticky. (As in, you’re holding your rank on Amazon.)
Overall, the actions are similar, but the timing is a lot more flexible.
WHICH KIND OF LAUNCH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Only YOU can answer that. But here are some factors to consider in your decision on your launch plan:
- Where you are in your author career
- The money you have to invest
- Your goals
- How often you publish new books
- Your mental state and how you handle stress
WHO SHOULD RUN A BIG BOOK LAUNCH
Okay, I’ve given you some factors to consider as you decide what kind of launch to have. Here are some of my personal recommendations.
Big launches work best when:
- You are a traditionally published (but indies can rock a big launch too!)
- You publish 1-4 books a year
- You have the time and money to invest in a big launch (you can still bootstrap one big launch, but it’s not AS effective)
- Your goal is to make a giant splash or hit a bestseller list
- You can handle the pressure and intensity mentally and emotionally
WHO SHOULD CONSIDER A LOW-KEY LAUNCH
Here are some considerations if you are thinking about a low-key launch. These work best when:
- You’re an indie author
- You publish more frequently (big launches exhaust your list and audience)
- You have a flexible budget (you can invest a lot or a little)
- Your mental state doesn’t benefit from the pressure of a big launch
FINAL WORDS ON LAUNCHING
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all launch. Choose what works for YOU. Take into account your budget, your goals, your time, your publishing schedule, and your mental health.
One big thing to remember? Writing a book is a long-term investment.
I’ve made the most money this year on a series that was written starting two years ago. The latest book is almost a year old now. But the series is bringing in the most money.
What does that tell you?
Launching is great. But your book is not just valuable during launch week. Your book is a digital asset. And once it’s published, you have a lifetime where you can earn money on that book. I have NOTHING against a big launch, but often, there is a lot of pressure and focus put on launching. Your books can sell for weeks, months, and years to come.
Check out this graph. The two big spikes toward the end are BookBub Featured Deals, but you can see my sales ramped up. I changed covers and started running Facebook ads to this series to a wide (not just in Kindle Unlimited) audience.
Be encouraged. Launching is great. Launching matters. But once your book is out in the world, KEEP WORKING TO SELL IT. Your income doesn’t end launch week. Neither does promotion.
So… chill out about your launch. Go big. Go low-key. But don’t go home. Your book has a longer footprint than it’s launch. If you don’t hit your goals, don’t freak out. Your book can still sell and make you money over time.
Want more launch resources?
- A simple launch framework
- Organic promotion for your launch
- Paid promotions for your launch
- Growing your email list before launch
- When your launch fails
- How to create a launch team
- Book launch disasters
I also have a whole paid workshop on launching if you want to go all in. CHECK OUT THE WORKSHOP!