Want to nail your book launch? Ask this question.

“What are your goals with this book launch?”

It’s the first question I ask new book launch clients. Before I get into the weeds, I want to know the author’s goals and expectations.

Because I can’t just ask, “Hey, how many books do you want to sell?”

95% of authors don’t know what to expect during a book launch—especially a new author. Many factors determine the volume of sales—email list size, book topic, the author’s platform, time of year, the author’s budget. I could go on. This is why traditional publishers seek authors who have large podcast and social media platforms.

When setting goals, the authors I work with have expectations that fall within several categories:

1. Platform growth.nail your book launch

• How much do you plan to grow your following?
• Do you want to increase the size of your email list?
• Increase your social media followers?
• Should your book drive traffic to your website?

These are important assets to consider. Ideally, we’d grow all our channels at once, but that’s not realistic unless you have a large team behind you. If you had to choose one asset to focus on, would it be your email list? Why or why not?

2. Transformative change.

What do you expect to happen after people finish your book? Are you taking readers on a life-changing journey? I hope the answer is yes! There should be some amount of change happening from picking up your book (a personal change for non-fiction; entertainment value for fiction).

For example, I work with many health and wellness practitioners. Often they want to see real people healing because of their book. One of my client’s goals was to create 10,000 success stories. What I love about this goal is that it was specific and measurable. She encouraged people to write in and share their success stories.

Her goal was also lofty. It might take for her years to reach this goal, but she was okay with that. She refused to play small.

3. Creating a community.

One of the most effective ways to increase your discoverability is to create communities such as a Facebook group around a specific idea. FB business pages are not as effective, and the company seems to be shifting toward community-centric groups.
One of my clients started a FB group focused on her book’s topic. Keep in mind, she didn’t outright mention the book in the group name—that’s important. She had several thousand engaged group members within a few months.

And guess what? They showed up for her when her book launched—buying, posting, and leaving reviews for her book. She sold 10,000 copies in her first month. Amazing for a first-time author.

How was she so successful? Hard work. She was active in the community, fostering discussion every day. This may not be realistic for all authors, and facilitating a group is time-consuming, so consider it carefully.

4. Business growth.

Are you offering a companion product, course, or service? If so, how will your book impact your offering? Do you plan to have new readers follow a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your book?

Example, your CTA could be to sign up for a free video course. Maybe that free video course is a preview to a longer online course. This is where your book’s back and front matter become very important.

5. Media/influencer.

Many of my clients hope to position themselves as influencers/experts in their space. Let’s say you want to be known as the expert on parenting autistic kids and get TV and magazine interviews. There are certain things you have to consider as part of your strategy to land those kinds of opportunities. This goal means the author may focus less on digital marketing, and more on leveraging their network.

Finally, the last piece is: Rank the above goals in order of importance.

What I’ve found in working with dozens of clients, is that no one person or team can do everything well at once. If you could only reach one of these goals, which would it be?

There’s overlap, of course. My client who built the community also experienced platform growth because many of the people in her group signed up for her email list. Sudden platform growth may yield media opportunities.

Nevertheless, I’ve found that successful book launches occur when the author is crystal clear on the top one or two goals. Focus on those. Ignore distractions.

In closing, I hope this helps you think about your strategy for your next book launch. Perhaps these goal categories will help you as you’re still writing your book. It’s never too early to start growing your email list or to start a community centered on your topic!

What’s your #1 goal for your upcoming book launch or new book idea? Comment below.