Post-Publication Checklist for Authors: What to do After your Book Launch

Marketing, Publishing, Tips

By Jori Hanna

Congratulations! You launched your book into the world! Now what?

As you may already be aware, your work has only just begun. After all, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. But beyond the everyday marketing items, what else do you need to do?

This blog post is designed to help you with that.

Celebrate

Have you taken time to celebrate your accomplishment yet? Yasmeen Turayhi notes on Medium:

I recently learned that over 82% of Americans want to write a book, but less than 1% of Americans actually finish and publish a book.

That statistic is a little shocking, isn’t it? Writing is one of those professions everyone seems to think will be easy to take part in until they try it. Many would-be-writers begin books only to realize that they’ve run out of things to say 5,000 words in. The average book is somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 words when it is published.

Take the time to celebrate that you (1) finished your book and (2) published it. At Torchflame Books, we only publish around 10% of the books submitted to us. Many literary agents only taken on up to 2% of the books in their submissions inbox, and many have to pass on incredible books because they simply can’t take on that many projects and they already have commitments.

Celebrate your book launch. Have a party with your friends and family, or have an open event where you can also sell and sign books. Make it as big or as small as you’d like but be sure you mark the occasion and celebrate. This is a huge accomplishment.

Update your Online Presence

It is highly likely that in your preorder period you wrote “Preorder Now!” in a lot of places. You may have a button that says “Preorder” on your website. You may have not posted on your social media accounts since the book became available. Go find those phrases and change them to “Now Available” or “Order Now” so that your online presence is as up-to-date as possible.

This is especially true if this is not your debut book. Make sure all your books are on your website. Make sure they’re all featured on your social media. Make sure your upcoming events are truly upcoming. Nothing looks worse than a clearly abandoned website with “Register for my Event!” and a date from three years ago.

If you created your website for your debut, make sure your domain name (if you claimed one) is still properly attached to your website. You can test this by opening a new tab and trying to navigate to your website. If you run into any issues, your readers will too.

Send your book to the Library of Congress

When you publish a book in the US through a publisher, you often receive an LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number). This ensures that any library who lists your book in their catalogs has the same information as all the other libraries. This is vital for library distribution. If you’re self publishing, it may benefit you to look into getting an LCCN for yourself. If you’re published through Torchflame Books, you already have one.

However, you do need to check with your publisher to see if your publisher will send two copies of your book to the Library of Congress to complete the cataloging process or if you need to do that yourself. There are a few key notes here:

  1. Send two copies of the best version of your printed book (hardcover, rather than paperback, if you have one).
  2. Once the Library of Congress has cataloged your book, they may or may not keep it for their collection. As with all libraries, they have specific criteria they’re collecting books for. As the research division of the United States Congress, they are likely to be more interested in books helpful for research. But that does not mean they won’t keep some novels on their shelves.

Contact your publisher for more information on this, as this is not often common knowledge for authors or writers. You can also learn more about this on the Library of Congress website.

Continue Speaking Event Outreach

Of the options for digital marketing, there is no debate that email marketing is the best investment of your resources. But of your options for traditional marketing, nothing will ever beat in-person events. Speaking to book clubs, at writer’s conferences, at libraries and bookstores, or even organizing a gathering at a local coffee shop will always produce better results than online marketing because your audience can walk away with the book that day or with memories of that really cool author they met.

Check your local farmers markets and art festivals as well, as you may be able to create a pop-up shop in your area to sell books to passers-by. You can easily manage your sales with a POS (point of sale) system like Square Up, which became popular for allowing sales to be processed through your smart phone. Square Up also now allows for an online storefront, allowing you to sell your books directly to readers with as much ease as any other digital retailer. This can be incredibly helpful for selling signed copies or creating your own holiday bundles and discounts.

Keep up with your Social Media Outreach

No post talking about what to do after your book launch would be complete without mentioning social media. Your ability to draw in complete strangers through an online presence on social media will be unmatched. This is vital to building your audience and gathering intrigue to help boost attendance at your in-person events. No marketing functions at full capacity in a vacuum—they must be used in coordination and conjunction.

Marketing is cyclical. You Create something (a blog post, a YouTube video, a book), you Communicate about that something (posting on your other social media, sending out invitations for an event, driving traffic to your end goal), and then you Update all your online spaces and printed materials to support information gathering for your audience. And then you do it again when you create something new. This is easiest to see on a large scale such as a launch party, so we’ll use that as an example:

Create the event. Coordinate with your venue and your caterer (if you have one).

Communicate the time and date, request RSVPs, send out invitations in whatever way makes the most sense. For a small event, perhaps you use the mail or a system like Evite. For a large event, perhaps you post on your social media, your website, and send out an email blast to your following.

Update the places your followers will check first for more information. If you know your friend is having a party, and you know you had that invitation somewhere, maybe you’d check your fridge to see if you pinned it there with a magnet. But if your friend knows you have a website, perhaps they’ll check the Events page of your website for more information on the event they misplaced the invitation for. Make sure they can find what they’re looking for so that they feel confident enough to attend.

This rhythm also makes maintaining your social media in your “off season” (AKA the times you’re not actively launching a book) much easier, because you’re doing mini launches for whatever major content you’ve created—a new YouTube video, a new blog post, or a new podcast episode. These all keep your audience engaged so that you’re not starting from scratch when your next book comes out, and give you something fresh to focus on every time you create something new.

Have you done all of these for your book?

We Want to Hear from You

If you have a book ready to be published, we’d love to take a look at your book and see how we may be able to work with you to bring your book to the world. Review our publishing options, and if you think we’d be a good fit for each other, we’d love to review your manuscript.

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