At Scribe, we’ve helped hundreds of new Authors launch their non-fiction book. In all that time, the most common hurdle I’ve seen people get stuck on is the idea that a book launch is one singular thing.
While it might be centered around one week, a book launch isn’t one thing. It’s a ton of moving parts that all have to come together the first week your new book comes out.
If you don’t have that expectation from the beginning, a book launch can feel like an overwhelming soup without any structure.
But a successful book launch does have structure—a structure that starts with the specific goals for your book.
The real goal of your book might be:
- to drive more revenue to your business
- to boost your credibility or authority in the field
- to get paid speaking engagements
- to create a platform to start a new business
- to attract investors
- or anything else that serves your business and/or career
When you’re making any book marketing decision, including decisions about your book release, always keep your goal in mind.
Every Author’s goal is a little different, so every great book launch is unique. But they all need the same basic foundation.
This post walks you through all the pieces you’ll need to build a successful book launch team—even as a first-time Author.
The Skills You Need on Your Book Launch Team
The right launch team for your book requires a certain number of skills, not a certain number of people.
Maybe your graphic designer can edit videos. Or maybe your personal assistant is a great project manager. In either case, you can hire one person and get both skills.
It’s important to note, though, that you also don’t have to do everything I’m recommending. This post lays out the process for how we put together our team whenever we run a book launch, but you don’t have to run your own book launch on that scale.
If you only have the resources to do some of it, then do what you can. Focus on the pieces that make the most sense for your book, your resources, and your goal.
1. Project manager
Like every skill in this list, the project manager can be you—but remember that project management is a skill in and of itself. For a successful launch, you’ll need to manage a whole team of people while juggling different deadlines on different tasks.
That takes a lot of time and coordination, especially when so many things have to come together on launch day. Make sure you set aside enough time in your schedule to give your launch the attention it deserves.
2. Personal assistant
A personal assistant is entirely optional, but I highly recommend it.
Having someone else around who knows what’s happening and has access to your contact list will make things a lot easier.
A lot of the work that goes into a book launch involves staying in touch with people—and not just the people working on the launch. You’ll also need to stay in contact with your beta readers, media influencers, and anyone else you’re contacting about Amazon reviews and blurbs.
You’ll also need to send a copy of the book to a lot of those people.
If there’s someone else to help you manage those communications, you’ll have more time to handle the things that need your personal attention.
If you don’t already have a personal (virtual) assistant and don’t know where to look, start with Belay Solutions.
3. Amazon expert
An Amazon expert (usually a Kindle expert) knows how to:
- craft a great book listing
- compose the perfect Author bio
- choose the best categories for your book
- choose the best keywords for your book
Your book listing and Author bio are about selling your book to people. Categories and keywords are more about understanding the Amazon algorithm.
If you need to do these things yourself, start with the Scribe posts I linked in the list.
4. Media and PR
Not every Author needs to hire a book publicist. It really depends on what you’re trying to do with your book.
Even if you can’t afford a professional PR agent, don’t write this task off without doing some research. Finding the right blogger or podcaster with the right niche audience is a very attainable goal and can help your book make a real splash—especially if they’re willing to endorse your book.
Putting together a newsletter/email list is important for a successful book launch, and it’s definitely one of those tasks that involves a lot of pieces.
You’ll need to:
- create an account on an email service like MailChimp
- build your email list
- draft your emails and announcements
- design the newsletter (preferably with at least one eye-catching graphic)
- use the email service to send (ideally) several different emails to different groups at different times
If you’ve never run an email list before, it’s best if you can hire some help.
For an all-in-one solution, MailChimp maintains a list of recommended experts. You can also run your email campaigns yourself and hire help for either content or graphics, or both.
Blogging isn’t something every Author needs to do. Plenty of Authors have successfully launched their books without a blog.
That said, the right content posted in the right place at the right times (and especially with the right SEO) can definitely help build excitement around a book launch.
You’ll need to:
- decide on your format (e.g., a traditional blog, video blog, or podcast)
- decide on your platform (LinkedIn, WordPress, Vimeo, etc.)
- create and post your content
No matter what you choose, you’ll need to create your content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.) and post it to that platform on a strategic schedule.
If you want to hire help creating content for your blog (or newsletter), try Mediabistro.
7. Social media
If you’re not a big fan of social media, don’t feel obligated to do it. But this is another place where consistent effort can have a real impact on a book launch, especially if you start early.
That said, creating a social media presence can mean anything from:
- daily tweets
- running a private Facebook group
- posting several times a day on multiple social media platforms (both before and during your launch)
The more active you want to be on social media, the more help you’re going to need.
8. Ad campaigns
I don’t recommend ad campaigns for every Author, but if ads make sense for your book, you’ll need to start building your expertise early.
One of the problems with running ads (besides having to get your book positioning right) is that it isn’t usually worth it to hire anyone to help you.
The profit margins on book ads are small for most books, so by the time you hire someone to help you — and pay for ads — you’re already well into the red.
If you want to run ads for your book, you’ll need to:
- learn the ad platform (Amazon, Facebook, etc.)
- write the ad copy
- produce graphics or videos for the ads
If you’re creating graphics for other areas of your launch, you can run the same graphics in your ads. But you’ll still need to learn how to use the ad platforms.
9. Graphic design
If you’re not a graphic designer, you’ll want some help creating graphics for the various parts of your campaign:
- your newsletter
- your blog (if you have one)
- your social media (if you use that)
- your ads (if you run them)
You don’t necessarily have to create special graphics, but the more things you decide to do for your book launch, the more those graphics can help.
You only need a videographer if you want professional video clips.
When we run a book launch at Scribe, we usually create a series of short videos to post on social media—but you don’t have to do that for your own launch.
If you want to record yourself for a video blog or just for social media, you can do that too. But remember that putting out unprofessional content will hurt you more than doing nothing at all.
That doesn’t mean every video has to look like it was created in a studio. In fact, it’s often better if it doesn’t. But be careful not to sound boring, scripted, or inauthentic.
If you want to hire a professional videographer, you’ll need someone local. Try ProductionHUB.
11. Video editing
If you want to create a book trailer or similar video content, you’ll need a video editor.
If you don’t have the money to hire one and you aren’t a video editor yourself, just don’t do it.
Video editing takes a special blend of artistic talent and technological skill. It’s not the kind of thing you pick up overnight.
Even though your video editor doesn’t need to be local, I still recommend searching for help on ProductionHUB.
Coordinating Your Book Launch
When you’re ready to work with your book launch team members, make sure you communicate your launch strategy, vision, and deadlines.
You can’t just hire a group of people and expect them to know what you want. To get the full value of your money, you’ll need to give them specific direction.
That’s one of the biggest challenges in self-publishing: most non-fiction Authors are forced to take on every role in book publishing at once, learning them all for the first time.
For professional writers who can benefit from first-book mistakes when they publish their next book (or even a whole set of future books), that might not be terrible.
But most non-fiction Authors publish just one book. And while it doesn’t need to be a bestseller, it needs to serve your overall strategy in order to make you money.
That’s its whole job. Thus, you have to write, publish, and launch your book successfully while trying to learn every aspect of the publishing industry for the first time.
Our book launch checklist can help you get organized, but if you’d like to know more about crafting a unique launch for your book, I highly recommend our book launch course that walks you through the whole process step-by-step.