Preparing for Your Next Book Launch
Episode #9 of the course How to begin (and maintain) your career as a writer by John Robin
Welcome to day 9!
Once you know what you want to write next, it’s time to refocus your author platform away from your first book and toward your next one. This principle applies with every future book you write. For example, if you’ve launched your fifth book, then in the three- to six-month window after launch, you’ll want to prepare the way for your next book.
Approaching the Market Pivot
The book launch process can be thought of as a series of cycles that overlap.
Take your first book:
• 6-12 months before you publish it, you’ll be writing it.
• 3-6 months before you publish it, you’ll be editing and producing it. You’ll also be busy connecting with your readers and preparing for launch.
• 1-3 months before launch, you’re focused heavily on promotion.
• In the month before and after launch, you’re doing nothing but promotion.
• 1-3 months after launch, you’re learning from sales and reader data and start to think about your new book.
• 3-6 months after launch, you’re preparing for the next book.
Now, this timeline applies to your second book. Except you can overlap it during the 3-6 month window for your first book. This is called a market pivot.
The Market Pivot for Genres with Quicker Turnaround
The time windows for this cycle might be smaller if you write in a high-turnaround genre, such as romance, but the principle is the same. You want to give exclusive attention to one book at a time. After you’ve let it soar, use the market pivot to utilize that same momentum to kick-start your next book launch.
As you approach the market pivot, and this is especially true if you are hybridizing your platform and putting out different series/genres, just make sure you don’t overlap your books too much. I’ve worked with writers who have hybrid platforms, and one primary consideration behind editing deadlines is making sure each publication is staggered by a month. This way, the author can devote 100% of their messaging and marketing efforts to that one given book for the month.
Updating Your Branding and Messaging
Putting the market pivot in motion means deciding how you are going to share about your next book with your readers. If you’re working on it before the one- to three-month mark, for example, you might mention your “WIP” (work in progress) on Twitter, but you want to be careful not to place too much attention on this book. As you approach the one- to three-month period, you might talk more about it while still promoting the book you launched. Once you hit the three- to six-month window, you’ll want to start sharing excerpts and converting the messaging on your author platform. When you get the book cover, reveal it and feature it on your website and social media profiles.
This doesn’t mean dropping your first book altogether. It means building hype for your next book with your existing readers. You can trust that with all the work you’ve done to promote your first book, you’ve left enough breadcrumbs. Someone discovering you through your second book will easily be able to find your first book through your website or online vendors.
Once your book launch period passes, you can maintain the momentum and use it to kick-start your next book launch. You can do this by gradually changing the messaging and focus on your author platform to your next book. If you publish frequently and in diverse genres, be sure not to overlap your publications by more than a month.
Tomorrow we’ll wrap up with a discussion on how to approach future book launches in a way that keeps your author career going forward.
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