IWSG: Countdown to Launch

Please join me on a journey to the stars via a book launch. This is my contribution to:

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond


Countdown to Launch

Wait! You need a pre-flight checklist. We’re counting down—months in advance if possible.  :-O
10. Read the Smashwords Style Guide. It’s free. Make a habit of writing using styles. Turn on show formatting and correct problems such as dumb quotes as you write to save time and money later.
9. Join writers’ groups like IWSG, World Literary Café, and find writers in your genre. Critique and/or beta read for each other to save money on content editing later. If you want your books to do well, give support and tough love. Use the sandwich technique: praise where due, helpful criticism, praise.
8. Form an author co-operative like the Indelibles (YA/adult) or the Emblazoners (MG). Cross-promote to share the marketing load. Search for new members until you have a good fit because all must do their parts in time, expertise, and money.
7. Choose an online marketing platform with e-commerce and build it together. If you want to keep your profits, don’t use Blogger. Instead, use WordPress or a free site like Weebly that doesn’t have reposting rights. Look professional. Buy your own domain so your site doesn’t include the provider’s name.
6. Make a posting schedule. Google has a calendar you can share to see everyone’s planned posts. Do giveaways. Promote literacy. Invite other authors to guest post. Network on blogs and social media.
5. If you want to get book reviews, give them. Join Goodreads. Rate as many books as you remember reading. Be honest and helpful reviewing new releases. Again, use the sandwich method.
4. Finished writing? Hire an editor. Please. I find hundreds of errors in most indie books—missing and misused words, logic flaws, you name it—compared to fewer than 20 in professionally edited books. The Chicago Manual of Style says 20 should be twenty. OK should be okay. Whatever style you use, an editor will make it consistent.
3. Design your eBook with online sales in mind. If you can’t afford pricey software, buy an inexpensive Word template from The Book Designer. Also try Fiverr or eLance, including for interior illustrations and covers.  Most important, your cover should be eye-catching and readable in thumbnail size because that’s what people see on Amazon. 
2. Prepare publicity. Make an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) in multiple e-reader formats using free Calibre software.  Check each and fix problems. Make a media kit including praise from other authors. Provide html to entice busy book bloggers.
1. With ARC and media kit in hand, arrange a blog tour to get reviews before the official launch date. Do guest posts and interviews. Don’t be afraid. You’re the expert on your book.
0. What did I miss? Panic. No, don’t. Read everyone else’s ideas to fill your tank. Then blast off. Upload to Amazon or Smashwords. Throw a launch party locally and online. The sky is no longer the limit.



Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Great tips. I couldn’t agree more that critique groups and beta readers can be invaluable.

  2. Too late! Already hit panic.
    Just kidding.
    My publisher does some of that, but the rest is up to me – and I try to stay on track.
    Thanks for contributing to the book!

  3. I love the level of detail in your post. There are tips here that I had never thought about. There’s so much we can do to help ourselves, even before the book is released. Thanks!

  4. Lots of great points to remember. Hopefully, I’ll get around to finishing a book so that I can take advantage of these tips.

  5. Great tips! I’ll be following these and checking out the helpful links you’ve listed – many thanks for sharing.

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