You can feel it. You know you have something to offer the world. Something nobody else has. But how do you find the courage to make it real? You’ve heard the advice “just get started.” But it’s easier said than done. You don’t have the time, or you don’t feel like you’re ready. The Heart to Start will help you systematically break down resistance to start writing your book, and to find the momentum finish it. Buy it on Amazon, on Kindle, paperback, or Audible audiobook.
Your Book Launch Doesn’t Have to Kill You
As I reviewed my launch plan for my book, I could feel every muscle in my body tense up. It seemed there was no way I could pull this off. It didn’t help that Christmas was coming.
It would take several weeks for a Createspace proof to arrive at my home in Colombia. It would take two weeks for ACX to approve my audiobook to be sold on Audible and iBooks. It would take many hours to record and master the audio for the audiobook.
Then there was the marketing. As a podcast host myself, I knew that if I wanted to appear on podcasts during a given time-frame, I’d better be pitching up to six months in advance. And guest posts like this one also take time to coordinate and write.
It started to make sense why traditional publishers take a year just to prepare for a launch. There’s a lot of work to be done, and much of it still moves slowly.
How could I possibly do this all at once? It had been two years since I decided I was going to write another book. I pictured being at a family gathering for Christmas – now only a few months away – and sheepishly explaining once again that my new book still wasn’t finished.
I needed a book launch that wouldn’t kill me.
I got lucky with my first book. I wrote the right blog post on the right subject at the right time, and a book deal fell in my lap. My publisher took care of layout and cover design, and getting books into stores all over the world.
So, I was free to concentrate on my launch. It worked. My first book, Design for Hackers, debuted in the top twenty on Amazon.
But this time was different. I had spent almost two years trying to get a book deal. Sometimes I felt like a failure, but I eventually learned that self-publishing was more my style.
Many things are different about self-publishing, so maybe the launch is different, too. Maybe your self-published book launch doesn’t have to kill you.
There are reasons book launches are so do-or-die in traditional publishing:
- Best-seller lists. They’re all about sales velocity. How many books can you sell in a small amount of time?
- Human resources. It’s more efficient for publishing professionals to work on one launch at a time, rather than diluting efforts among all of their books.
- Print runs. If a publisher has invested thousands of dollars on a first print run, they want to recoup that expense as quickly as possible.
My incentives as a self-publisher were different:
- No best-seller lists. I wasn’t trying to publish a NYT best-seller (nor WSJ nor USA Today).
- One-person human resources. I’m only one person. While I have all of the skills needed for self-publishing, I can only do one thing at a time.
- No print run. I didn’t have to invest on a print run up-front. Kindle costs nothing, and Createspace is print-on-demand.
Plus, my morale was waning. I needed some motivation.
Then, I remembered my own advice from the very book I was publishing. In The Heart to Start, I talk about “the whip.” The idea that one piece of a project should build motivation for the next.
Instead of killing myself with my launch, I decided to do one piece at a time. Each piece would build momentum for the next piece.
- First, I launched on Kindle.
- Then, I recorded the audiobook.
- Then, I launched Createspace. Reading the audiobook helped me catch any last-minute mistakes. I could easily fix them on Kindle before putting the content on Createspace.
- Then, I launched the audiobook. It took several weeks for my audio editors to master the audio, and for ACX to approve it.
Each piece of the launch built momentum. Each piece of the launch allowed me to learn new things. As a nice side-bonus, each launch step gave me a new reason to email my readers and ask for reviews.
Two months after my book debuted, I’m still “launching it.” I’m learning new things every step of the way. I’m running AMS (Amazon) and Bookbub ads, I’m doing podcast interviews and guest posts.
- Once my Kindle Unlimited term is up, I’ll go wide and publish on iBooks, Google Play, and Kobo.
- The paperback is now available on Ingram, and I may see if I can try to get it on shelves at Barnes & Noble.
- When everything is in place, I’ll start trying for a Bookbub promotion.
As self-publishers, we have so much to learn – and it is truly a never-ending learning experience. But we don’t have to let the vision of the “perfect” launch get in the way of getting our work out there. One step at a time does get you there.
I hope that sharing my approach to launching a book has given you ideas for your own book launch. And has helped to show you that your book launch doesn’t have to kill you.
David Kadavy is best-selling author of The Heart to Start, and Design for Hackers – which debuted on the top twenty on all of Amazon. He hosts the podcast Love Your Work , where he explores finding your unique path to success, and optimizing your creative output. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.