How to plan a book launch: step-by-step guide

In the dynamic world of publishing, bringing your book to life is a momentous achievement. Yet, the journey doesn’t end there. Whether you’re a novelist or a comic book artist, launching your book is a crucial next step that can significantly impact its success.

A book launch is more than just a single event or release day. It’s a long-term strategy that encompasses all the activities, promotions, and connections made in the weeks and months leading up to the moment your book hits the shelves or goes live online.

As a springboard to marketing and promoting your book, your launch strategy is the basis for creating a buzz, building anticipation, and establishing a solid foundation for your book’s success. We’ve designed this comprehensive guide on how to launch a book regardless of your budget or level of experience as a self-published creator. 

How to launch a book in 15 steps

1. Define objectives

Timeline: 6 to 12 months before launch

Before planning your book launch strategy, take a step back to define your launch goals. Your objectives will serve as your compass, guiding every decision and implemented strategy. Clear, specific, and achievable goals create a roadmap that leads to a fruitful and fulfilling book launch.

Begin by asking yourself why you created this book and what you hope to accomplish with its launch. Are you looking to establish yourself as a thought leader in a specific genre? Do you want to inspire and entertain your readers? Or is your primary goal to generate income?

Consider these example book launch objectives as a springboard for your own.

  • Maximize income generation: Aim to achieve a specific revenue target within the first few months post-launch, indicating a successful commercial performance.
  • Entertain and engage an audience: Set a goal to reach a certain number of readers or downloads, reflecting your book’s ability to captivate and entertain.
  • Establish authority: Position yourself as a thought leader or expert in your field, gauging success by your invitations to speak, guest blog, or contribute to panels.
  • Share knowledge and teach: Try targeting a specific educational impact, like your book being included in educational programs or receiving feedback on how it has informed or educated readers.
  • Kickstart or elevate your career: Set objectives around career milestones post-launch, like signing a book deal, gaining representation, or getting job leads through book sales.
  • Reach the widest possible audience: Measure your success by the geographical spread of your readership, translations into other languages, or the diversity of audiences engaged.
  • Promote a cause or influence public opinion: Contribute to public discourse, policy changes, or increased awareness on specific issues and track your book’s success by its mentions in the news and on social media.
  • Express creativity: Define success in terms of personal fulfillment, artistic recognition, or contribution to the literary or artistic community.

By determining your objectives early on, you set the stage for a book launch that’s not only successful but also aligns with your personal and professional aspirations. But remember that the process is a marathon, not a sprint.

Person deciding on a book launch date with a calendar and cup of coffee

2. Decide on a launch date

Timeline: 6 to 12 months before launch

Choosing the right date to launch your book is more than just marking a day on the calendar. It’s a strategic decision that influences the visibility and momentum of your launch. Here are a few tips to help determine the best launch date.

  • Research publishing trends: Research trends and publishing calendars to understand when books in your genre typically hit the shelves. There are reasons specific genres perform better at certain times.
  • Consider external factors: Give thought to major holidays, events, or other significant book releases that could overshadow your launch. Choose a date when your book can shine without unnecessary competition.
  • Plan pre-launch activities: Ensure you have ample time for pre-launch marketing activities, gathering reviews, and setting up distribution. A rushed book launch could lead to missed opportunities and unnecessary stress.
  • Align with retailer timelines: Some retailers have specific timelines for setting up pre-orders or listing new books. Ensure your chosen date aligns with these requirements to avoid any last-minute hiccups.
  • Leverage seasonal opportunities: If your book’s themes are related to a specific season, holiday, awareness month, historical event, or trending topic, launch in that timeframe. You can leverage the raised awareness to improve your chances of securing media coverage.
  • Remain flexible: Be prepared to adjust if unforeseen circumstances arise. Flexibility is critical to navigating the unpredictable world of book publishing.

By carefully selecting your launch date, you set a clear timeline for all your pre-launch activities and ensure your book debuts when it can capture attention and achieve your defined objectives.

3. Establish your budget 

Timeline: 5 to 10 months before launch

A successful book launch doesn’t happen by chance. It requires careful planning and strategic investment. A well-thought-out budget ensures you allocate resources efficiently, optimizing every dollar spent. 

Take stock of how much money you can allocate to your book launch without straining your finances. Consider your personal funds and potential income from pre-orders or other book-generated revenue streams.

As you move through this guide, list all potential expenses for your book launch, including promotional materials, events, distribution, advertising, and professional services like publicists and designers. Prioritize these expenses based on their potential impact and necessity.

The overall cost of launching a book varies widely depending on the genre and the publishing path. For self-publishing, the average cost of publishing a book is between $2,000 and $4,000, including editing, cover design, and marketing expenses. Traditional publishing can have lower upfront costs, but marketing expenses can range from $500 upwards to over $10,000. 

The earnings of self-published authors can also vary widely, but recent surveys indicate that independent authors earn more than in years past. The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) survey found that the average income for self-published authors rose 53% in 2022, reaching a median of $12,749. However, another survey found that 33% of self-published authors make less than $500 per year, and 20% report making no income from their books. In short, take your earning projections with a grain of salt. 

Two computer screens with design software open, with a person working to build an online presence for their book launch

4. Build an online presence

Timeline: 4 to 9 months before launch

A strong online presence is paramount for a successful book launch. It allows you to connect with your audience and establish yourself as a credible author or creator. Here’s how to go about it.

  • Create a professional website: Your website is the central hub for all information related to your book and your work as an author or creator. Ensure it’s user-friendly, visually appealing, and provides all the necessary details about your book. For more, explore tips for creating a successful author website.
  • Develop a dedicated book landing page: Create a specific landing page for your book on your website. This page should include a compelling book description, cover image, bio, and links to pre-order or purchase the book. Consider adding a book trailer or sample chapter to entice visitors.
  • Optimize for search engines (SEO): Use relevant keywords related to your book’s genre, themes, and content to optimize your website, landing page, or product page listings like Amazon for search engines. SEO increases visibility and helps attract organic traffic.
  • Start building an email list: An email list is one of your most valuable assets for launching your book and growing your community. Include a sign-up form on your website to collect emails from interested readers. Provide an incentive, like a free webinar or exclusive content, to encourage sign-ups.
  • Engage through regular newsletters: Once you start building your email list, engage with your subscribers through regular newsletters. Share updates about your book, behind-the-scenes content, and promos to keep them interested and invested in your work.
  • Establish a social media presence: Identify the platforms where your target audience is most active and establish a presence there. Share regular updates, connect with your audience, and join relevant communities to increase visibility. Learn more about how to use social media to sell your book.
  • Connect with influencers and bloggers: Identify influencers, bloggers, or other creators in your niche who might be interested in your book. Reach out to them for potential collaborations or features to expand your reach.

Building a robust online presence takes time and consistency, but the payoff is worth it. 

5. Create a social media plan 

Timeline: 3 to 6 months before launch

Social media is an invaluable tool for building buzz and connecting with your audience in the lead-up to your book launch. A carefully crafted social media plan ensures you engage effectively with potential readers and generate excitement around your book. Here are the fundamentals of crafting a strategic social media plan.

  • Leverage the right platforms: Focus on social media platforms where your target audience is most active. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest are popular choices, but don’t overlook niche platforms relevant to your book’s genre or themes.
  • Organize your social media content: Plan your social media posts, ensuring a consistent presence. Your content calendar should include promotional posts, behind-the-scenes content, and engaging community-building messages.
  • Share your creative journey: Give your audience a glimpse into your creative process, the inspiration behind your book, and the journey to publication. Sharing in this way humanizes you as a creator and builds a personal connection with your audience.
  • Tease with snippets: Include intriguing snippets or quotes from your book to pique interest. Ensure these snippets are shareable and encourage your followers to spread the word.
  • Update your followers: Keep your audience informed about your book launch’s progress, upcoming events, and where they can pre-order or purchase your book.
  • Given the visual nature of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, incorporate high-quality images, graphics, and videos related to your book and your creative journey.
  • Spark interest with contests and giveaways: Engage your audience and increase visibility by running contests or giveaways. Encourage participants to share your book, tag friends, or use a specific hashtag to broaden your reach.

Beyond marketing, social media is a powerful tool for creating a community of supporters who are as excited about your book as you are. Use it wisely and authentically, and watch your audience grow.

Person signing a book at a book signing at a bar

6. Organize galleries and book signing events

Timeline: 3 to 6 months before launch

Showcasing your original work at galleries and arranging book signing events are excellent book launch strategies. These in-person events allow readers and art enthusiasts to engage with your work, creating a memorable experience that boosts book sales and enhances your reputation as a creator.

If your book includes visual elements like illustrations, photographs, or artwork, consider organizing gallery showings of your original pieces. Contact local galleries, art spaces, or community centers for availability and terms. Highlight the unique aspects of your work and how it could attract visitors to their venue. Ensure that your book is available for purchase at these events, allowing attendees to take home a piece of the experience.

Similarly, consider connecting with local bookstores, libraries, or other relevant venues to organize book signing events. You don’t need to be an accredited author to make this happen. Simply tailor your pitch to each location, explaining why your book would resonate with their clientele and how an event could drive traffic to their space. But be prepared to discuss logistics such as date, time, and any promotional efforts you’ll undertake to ensure the event’s success.

Once your events are confirmed, promote them vigorously through your online channels, local community boards, and relevant organizations or groups.

7. Embark on a blog and podcast tour

Timeline: 2 to 4 months before launch

Blogs and podcasts are powerful mediums to amplify awareness about your book and build hype among prospective readers. By appearing on various blogs and podcasts within your genre or industry, you can reach new audiences and establish yourself as a credible voice in your field.

Start by identifying blogs and podcasts that align with your book’s themes, genre, or target audience. Reach out with a personalized message, explaining why you believe your book would interest their audience and proposing a topic or angle for your appearance. Be sure to highlight unique insights or experiences you can bring to their platform.

Being featured on blogs and podcasts allows you to share your story, discuss your book in-depth, and connect with potential readers on a personal level. It’s an opportunity to showcase your expertise, share your passion, and build momentum for your book launch. 

Phone with a podcast draft of a book launch open

8. Determine a venue or streaming platform for your launch event

Timeline: 3 to 6 months before launch

The launch event is a pivotal moment in your book release journey, providing an opportunity to celebrate your hard work and share your creation with the world. The format of your event—virtual, in-person, or hybrid—informs how to plan and promote this special occasion.

In-person event

If you host a physical event, secure a venue that aligns with your book’s theme and audience. Local bookstores, cafes, galleries, and community centers can be excellent options. Consider the venue size, available amenities, and associated costs.

Virtual event

Virtual events allow for a wider audience without the geographical constraints of a physical location. Choose a reliable streaming platform and test your equipment in advance to ensure a smooth experience.

Hybrid event

A hybrid event combines elements of both virtual and in-person experiences, catering to a broader audience. Ensure that both in-person and online attendees have opportunities to engage and participate. Pay attention to the technical aspects of hosting a hybrid event, ensuring that the virtual component is seamlessly integrated and provides a high-quality experience for online attendees.

9. Create a press kit

Timeline: 2 to 3 months before launch

A press kit, also known as a media kit, is a comprehensive package of information and promotional materials about your book designed to make it easy for journalists, bloggers, and influencers to cover your story. Creating a well-crafted press kit is essential in your book launch process, as it plays a momentous role in your public relations and media outreach efforts.

A press kit centralizes all the essential information and resources that media professionals need, saving them time and increasing the likelihood that they will cover your book. But what details should you include in your press kit? Here are the basics.

  • Book cover and creator photo: High-resolution images that media outlets can use in their coverage.
  • Press release: A concise document that announces your book launch, highlights its unique aspects, and provides essential details like the release date, available formats, and where to purchase. Learn more about how to write a press release for a book launch.
  • Creator bio: A brief biography showcasing your background, achievements, and previous publications. Tailor it to highlight aspects of your story that are most relevant to your book.
  • Book blurb: A captivating summary of your book, providing enough detail to intrigue but still leave them wanting to learn more.
  • Contact info: Clear and easy-to-find contact details for yourself or your PR representative, ensuring that interested parties can easily get in touch.
  • Testimonials or endorsements: If you have received positive reviews or endorsements from credible sources, include them in your press kit to add credibility and appeal.

Depending on your book’s content and theme, you might include additional resources such as artwork, infographics, or sample chapters.

10. Announce your book launch

Timeline: 1 to 2 months before launch

Now that all your preparations are in place, it’s time to announce your book launch to the world formally. This builds anticipation, creates buzz, and ensures your target audience knows about your upcoming release. Your announcement should be engaging and informative, providing all the essential details about your book and its launch. 

Share your announcement across all your social media channels, website, and email lists. Tailor your message to suit each platform. Offer early purchasers a pre-order discount or exclusive content to encourage immediate action. 

As the announcement gains traction, be responsive to comments, messages, and any inquiries you receive. This extra effort helps build a community around your book and shows that you value their interest and support.

Two influencers chatting in front of microphones, talking about a book launch

11. Connect with reviewers and influencers

Timeline: 1 to 2 months before launch

Expanding your book’s reach through reviewers and influencers is a strategic step in your launch plan. Identify individuals in your genre who hold sway over your target audience. Ensure your outreach is personalized and shows genuine familiarity with their work, making your book more appealing for them to review or feature.

Prepare digital or physical copies of your book and have your updated press kit ready to share, providing all the necessary information for a comprehensive review or feature. Remember to follow up respectfully if you don’t receive a response initially, and be understanding of their time constraints.

Once your book is reviewed or featured, share the coverage across your channels and express gratitude to the reviewer or influencer. Positive reviews and features enhance your book’s credibility and extend its reach to potential readers, contributing significantly to the success of your launch.

12. Mobilize your super fans

Timeline: At launch

Assembling a dedicated email list of super fans can be a game-changer for your book launch. These individuals are already invested in your work and will likely provide positive reviews to help build momentum from day one. 

Before your launch, identify potential super fans from your existing network, social media followers, or email subscribers. Engage with them regularly and foster a genuine connection. Compile a list of these individuals with their contact information, ensuring you can reach out to them quickly and efficiently when your book launches. 

On your launch day, email blast your super fans, expressing gratitude for their support and asking if they would consider leaving a review. Provide a direct link for purchasing or accessing your book to make the process seamless. Having super fans ready to support your book launch with positive reviews can significantly boost your book’s early visibility and credibility, setting a strong foundation for its overall success. 

Person using a calculator to decide what paid advertising they can afford for their book launch

13. Leverage paid advertising

Timeline: At or post-launch

If your budget permits, paid advertising can amplify your book’s visibility and attract potential readers. Tim Ferriss used Google AdWords, now known as Google Ads, to test various titles. “The 4-Hour Work Week” was a bestseller at 1.35 million copies sold.

Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, and Google offer robust targeting options, ensuring your ads reach the right audience. For instance, Facebook is great for its detailed targeting options (which also covers Instagram users), while Amazon directly reaches potential buyers. But paid advertising can quickly become expensive, so managing your resources wisely and targeting your ads precisely is critical.

14. Pursue book awards

Timeline: Post-launch

After your book launch, gaining recognition through awards enhances your book’s prestige and attracts additional attention. Winning or even being nominated for an award can significantly boost your book’s credibility and visibility.

Look for awards specific to your genre or the type of book you’ve created, whether it’s a novel, photography book, comic book, children’s book, or another category. Carefully review eligibility and submission guidelines. Ensure your application is complete and professional. This process may include providing copies of your book, a synopsis, a bio, and an entry fee.

If your book receives any nominations or wins an award, highlight these achievements in your marketing materials, on your website, and through your social media channels. Recognition from book awards can be leveraged for future projects, enhancing your reputation and increasing the appeal of your subsequent works.

15. Maintain post-launch momentum

Timeline: Post-launch and ongoing

The culmination of your book launch doesn’t mean the end of your promotional efforts. Maintaining momentum is crucial for long-term success and sustaining interest in your work.

Stay active and engaged with your audience through social media, email newsletters, or community events. Continue sharing updates about your book, related content, or personal anecdotes to maintain audience investment in your journey. Encourage readers to leave reviews and share their thoughts on your book. Positive feedback can be highlighted in your promotional materials, while constructive criticism can provide valuable insights for future projects.

Sustain your post-launch energy by remaining connected with your community. This connection may plant a seed for your next creative endeavor.

Last tips for launching your book

Launching your book is a critical milestone with many moving parts, so you want to ensure a seamless process as best you can. Here are some final tips to help ensure a successful book launch.

  • Capture the moment: Consider hiring a professional photographer or videographer for your launch event. High-quality visuals enhance your promotional efforts and provide valuable content for your online presence.
  • Strategic pricing: Initially, you might want to price your book lower to attract more buyers and encourage reviews. You can adjust the price as your book gains traction.
  • Prepare marketing materials: Ensure all marketing materials, from banners to brochures, are ready well in advance. They should be professionally designed and consistent with your book’s branding.
  • Practice your pitch: Be ready to succinctly explain what your book is about and why people should be interested. A compelling pitch can make a big difference in capturing attention.
  • Plan for contingencies: Have a backup plan for potential technical difficulties or other issues during your launch, especially if it’s a live event or virtual gathering.
  • Seek support: Don’t hesitate to ask friends, family, or fellow creatives to help you with different aspects of the launch. Having a support network can significantly reduce the stress of the event.
  • Prepare for the long haul: Remember that a book launch is just the beginning. Be ready to continue promoting your book and engaging with your audience long after the launch.

Lastly, take a moment to celebrate your hard work and the realization of your creative project. Creating and self-publishing a book is a major milestone, but launching your book is an entirely separate journey. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring a rewarding book launch. 


Blurb is a vital resource for indie self-publishers, offering an end-to-end platform that simplifies the publishing and distribution process. With Blurb, you have the flexibility to sell your books through many channels, including Blurb’s no-fee bookstore, global retailers like Amazon, and thousands of other bookstores via Ingram’s extensive network. This broadens the reach of self-published works while minimizing the guesswork involved in distributing your book to the world. Learn more and start your project.

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