Pre-Launch Checklist for Indie Authors

You’ve put in the long hours to craft a book that you are proud of, and it’s almost ready to hit the shelves. So…now what? How do you let people know about it and get them as excited as you are for the release?

We’ve created a checklist of tasks you can complete before your book launch to build your author platform and generate interest in your book.

Create a website

It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, but we recommend that you create an author website with information about you and your book. You may want to think about starting a blog on your website, too, so people can get a taste of your writing. Check out Adrienne Quintana’s website as an example.

Create a mailing list

Start collecting email addresses so you can send updates via email. You can create a mailing list sign up on your website and use an email list service like MailChimp to make it easier to keep things organized and send out emails efficiently.

 Set-up social media

We suggest that you have a profile on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may want to think about making an author page on Facebook and directing your friends to it from your regular account.

 Set-up Goodreads author account

Goodreads is a great way to get reviews and connect with serious readers. It also allows you to do giveaways and get your books on lists where people can potentially discover it. You can create an account linked to your social media, then follow these instructions to convert the account to an author account.

Post cover and release date on social media

On all of your social media platforms, post an image of your book cover along with the release date. Giving this information can help spark more interest as it makes your book’s release feel more concrete.

Contact bloggers to invite them to participate in your blog tour

Setting up a blog tour is a great way to start getting reviews as soon as your book comes out. It’s also a fun way to get your book seen by online book communities and build relationships with book bloggers. See an example of a blog tour here.

Contact local media

Contact local newspapers, radio stations, etc. to see if anyone would be interested in featuring a story about a new local author.

Woman tkaing out book at library desk

Plan a launch party

There are many different ways to do a launch party. You can set something up at your home, an Independent bookstore, another local business, or even online. Think about how to make it exciting and worthwhile for people to attend, and make sure to let people know about it through your website, social media, email, and maybe even snail mail invitations.

Contact libraries

Let local libraries know that your book will be available so they can have it on their shelves. Find more information about getting your book into libraries here.

 Contact independent bookstores

Bookstores’ policies regarding indie books differ, but many independent bookstores, especially local ones, may be interested in carrying your book or having you come in for signings. Contact them personally and start building relationships. Doing a launch party at an indie bookstore can be a great way to get your foot in the door.

 Plan content to build excitement

This can include giveaways, readings, interviews, etc. to be posted on your social media in the weeks leading up to your launch. Don’t post so much that it is overwhelming, but post regularly enough to remind people that your book is coming and get them excited. You can also remind them of when the release date is and any launch party information in some of your posts.

Sending your book out into the world can be overwhelming and exciting. Remember that it takes time and effort to spread the word. Following this checklist will get you started on the road to a successful indie book launch.

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Marnae Horejs is the acquisitions and content editor for Pink Umbrella Books. Click here to submit a manuscript and follow our blog for indie publishing tips.

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