Here are the show notes for the most recent episode of the Christian Publishing Show.
You can listen to this episode here.
Thirty days. That’s all you’ve got.
Do it wrong, and you’re toast. Do it right, and it’s crème brûlée that will last for months, maybe even years.
What 30 days are we talking about? The first 30 days after you make your book available to the world.
During the first 30-60 days after your release, bookstores decide whether to keep your book on the shelves. If you have a strong launch, bookstores will continue to stock your book and order more copies. If you have a bad launch, even the books you think you sold will be returned unsold.
Only during the first 30 days post-release can you earn the #1 New Release badge on Amazon. For those first 30 days, readers won’t judge you for not having reviews.
As you can see, your book’s first 30 days will determine its success. So how can you set yourself set you up for success? You conduct a strong book launch.
Are book launches still important in 2023?
Let me answer with a metaphor. An airplane uses half its fuel climbing to cruising altitude and the other half flying to its destination. Planes ascend to 30,000 feet using half the fuel in ten minutes. It uses the remaining half of the fuel over the next five hours. If you don’t get to cruising altitude quickly, your trip does not end well.
An author’s ten-minute ascent, which requires a lot of fuel and work, is the first 30 days after a book is released. That first month is when bookstores decide whether to order more books. It’s when readers see whether anyone has reviewed your book. It’s when radio shows, TV shows, podcasts, and blogs are willing to interview you about your book. It’s when the word-of-mouth buzz spreads fast.
Even if you’re traditionally published, you’re expected to know how to launch a book and play a significant role in executing your publisher’s marketing plan.
If you’re publishing as an indie, knowing how to launch a book is an absolute necessity. It’s not optional. If you want to sell more than 15 copies of your book, you must learn how to attract attention to yourself and your book and get yourself to cruising altitude.
In this overview, we’ll hit the highlights of our annual course, the Book Launch Blueprint. Even if you don’t take the course (we’d love to have you!), you’ll learn principles and ideas you can apply to give your book the best chance for success.
Book Launch Blueprint 6.0
We’ve hosted the Book Launch Blueprint for six years, and each year we’ve updated the course and made improvements. We’ve also learned several main reasons authors love the course.
What has made the course so popular?
Unlike my other courses, which are self-paced, the Book Launch Blueprint takes students through each day’s content together. All students are in a community where they encourage each other and give feedback on that day’s homework.
Each day you are building your own book launch plan. At the end of the 28-day course, you’ll have a customized plan for how to launch a book. We provide cooking classes and the pantry so you can develop the perfect launch recipe for your book.
Mix of Polished Training and Live Q&A
Each morning, you’ll get a pre-recorded video and a homework assignment. Later in the day, either Thomas or Jim will host live office hours to answer your questions. By the end of the day, you’ll know the material and how to apply it to your book.
The Course Works!
Authors who complete the Book Launch Blueprint and put it into practice have significantly better launches than those who don’t. The course often pays for itself in boosted book sales. It is fun to hear students report on which bestseller statuses they hit in the subsequent months. Check out past student testimonials at Book Launch Blueprint.
It’s Inspiring, Encouraging, and Rich with Material
Students commonly go through the course again in the following years because they enjoyed it so much the first time. Course graduates who take the course for a second or third time often share insights and examples of what worked and what didn’t. You can tap into their experiences and learn from them. In a sense, you’ll get instruction from Jim and me, as well as our alumni.
In our private online community, you can brainstorm with other former and current students. After the course concludes, you’ll still have access to the community with all its past and recent threads and conversations.
Buy Once, Keep Forever.
Once you purchase this course, you have it forever. As an alumnus, you’ll automatically receive access to all future upgrades, updates, and improvements. Every session is recorded, so you can return to specific topics at any time. Our alumni sometimes even join us for our live office hours.
Encouragement, Encouragement, Encouragement
Writing, publishing, and launching a book is not easy, but our students have been highly supportive of each other. While we can’t guarantee that, the odds are good that your fellow students will also be supportive.
The Downside You Need to Know About
The reality is that this course isn’t for everyone. It’s not for hobbyists. The Book Launch Blueprint is for serious authors. It requires a serious commitment of time and emotional energy.
We encourage students to set aside at least two hours per day to watch the core lesson video, do the homework, and interact with fellow students in our private community and on the live office hours call.
Live office hours last for a couple of hours each day. While attendance is optional, you’ll find tremendous value in having your specific questions answered. You don’t have to stay for the entire time, but Jim and I tend to stick around until every question has been answered.
The more time you can devote to applying the course material and interacting with the community, the more value you will get from the course.
Each module of the four-week course is based on a weekly theme.
- Week 1: Ready
- Week 2: Set
- Week 3: Go
- Week 4: Run
We provide videos that present the material clearly, and then we follow up with interactive office hours when you can get your questions answered.
You’ll get a video lesson and homework assignment on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Office hours will be held each day at various times to accommodate students in other time zones.
On Wednesdays, you’ll have a catch-up day, and Jim and I will host office hours together. You’ll have no new assignments or videos on Wednesdays.
You may also notice that the sessions below are offered in pairs. The first session in the couplet offers big-picture instruction on a topic, while the second session digs into the nitty-gritty details.
Week 1: Ready
Monday: Session #1 How to Sell Yourself
If you feel guilty promoting your book, your book launch will fail. All the book promotion techniques in the world won’t help you if, deep down, you feel like a bad person for promoting your book. You must believe your book will improve your readers’ lives through entertainment, education, or escape. Everything else in your book launch plan depends on your mindset about promotion.
Tuesday: Session #2 Branding
If you don’t know who you are as a writer, your reader won’t be able to tell either. Your brand must be apparent in your writing, website, and books. We will help you discover your brand.
The term brand can put people off, but it’s really just a modern word for the ancient concept of reputation or “having a name.” You’ve already been building a reputation, and now it’s time to do it with purpose and intention. (Fair warning: there is a lot of homework for the branding session.)
Wednesday: Break and Catch-Up
Wednesdays will always be a day to catch up on homework or videos. During regular daily office hours, we limit questions to the day’s topic. But on Wednesdays, you can ask any launch-related question.
Thursday: Session #3 From Tech Timid to Tech Savvy: How to Master Any Technology
You’ll have to interact with some new technologies during your book launch. If you see yourself as “non-techy,” you’ll limit yourself. Our technology module will help you tackle those technologies and make every step of your launch easier.
Friday: Session #4 How to Maximize the Impact of Your Website
After we’ve taken the terror out of technology on Thursday, we’ll tackle building your own website. Many of our students who have never built a website find that by the end of this week, their own website is live on the internet!
Week 2: Set
Monday: Session #5 How to Build a Rabid Tribe of Fans
You’re passionate about your topic and probably love talking about your book and spreading the word. But you’re just one person. What if you could clone yourself 50 or 500 times so that people all over the country and the world were talking about your book? A rabid tribe of fans will do that for you if you begin by serving them well.
The better you serve your email subscribers, blog readers, or podcast listeners, the more they will love you. The more they love you, the more wildly supportive they will be.
Tuesday: Session #6 How to Create a Launch Team
Once you have a rabid tribe of fans, you can organize them and help them spread the word about your book through a launch team. I give away most of my content for free, but learning how to launch a book with the Novel Marketing method is something you can only get by taking this course.
Typical launch teams are inefficient and ineffective. They’re better than doing nothing, but the Novel Marketing Book Launch Method offers a more effective approach. The good news is that it does not involve sending free books to launch team members or managing Facebook groups. And it works incredibly well.
Wednesday: Break and Catch-Up
Thursday: Session #7 How to Write Bestselling Marketing Copy
Marketing copy is everything you write about your book. It’s the back cover blurb, blogs, and even podcasts. Good marketing helps you talk succinctly about your book in a way that makes a stranger want to buy it.
Learning to write good marketing copy is a skill that will serve you well throughout your career. Jim teaches this session, and as someone who’s written over 1,000 radio and TV ads and web copy, he knows how to help you write copy that sells.
Friday: Session #8 How to Use Email to Launch Your Book
This session focuses on how to leverage the email list you already have. If you have fewer than 500 subscribers, I encourage you to sign up for my other course, Obscure No More, which is about platform-building.
Our email session gives you specific instructions about what to write in your emails. The quality of the emails you send at the beginning of your launch will dictate the number of book sales you have in the first week.
Week 3: Go
Monday: Session #9 How to Use Goodreads to Find Your Readers and Sell More Books
Goodreads is a great way to connect with hordes of raving fans. It is a tool to help readers find new books. By serving readers, you can grow your readership.
You can start using Goodreads as a reader right away so you can learn how it works before you start using it as an author.
Tuesday: Session #10 Amazon Optimization for Authors
Presenting your book professionally on Amazon is imperative for good book sales. You might write a great email that causes someone to click on your Amazon page, but if your cover or description is confusing or poorly done, you’ll lose the sale. You’ll learn how to optimize your Amazon page so that it converts well.
Wednesday: Break and Catch-Up
Thursday: Session #11 How to Use Marketing Psychology to Create a Frenzy for Your Book (New for 2023!)
Understanding the psychology of a launch helps you to generate tactics that no one else is using. Once you understand why people take action and the reasons behind a sales frenzy, you can customize your book launch plan accordingly.
Friday: Session #12 How to Have a Wildly Successful Launch Day
This is your book baby’s birthday! Your launch day is the first of those all-important 30 days. We’ll teach you how to launch your book with effective launch day fun. Since our method doesn’t rely solely on online tactics, we offer ideas you can implement in the real world that generate real money.
Many authors host an in-person launch party to thank their supporters, connect with local readers, and sell books.
Week 4: Run
Monday: Session #13 How to Create a Media Editorial Calendar
Professional authors need an editorial calendar. If your launch is like a parade to celebrate and announce your book, you need all the floats lined up at once. If they’re not lined up in order, it’s just normal traffic, not a parade.
An editorial calendar allows you to schedule pieces of content in a strategic and structured way. Very few authors take the time to create an editorial calendar for their launches, but those who do have a major advantage over the others. Create a written plan for your guest posts, articles, and blog posts.
Tuesday: Session #14 How to Write Winning Content for Guest Posts and Articles
Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, you need to know how to write a blog post because people read blogs differently than books. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, you’ll learn how to create a blog post that people want to read.
Wednesday: Break and Catch-Up
Thursday: Session #15 How to Go on a Media Tour
(Updated for 2023)
We’ll focus on tips for looking and sounding professional on podcasts, radio shows, video calls, and TV.
You’ll learn how to pitch the media, nail the interview, and thrill the audience. You’ll need to pitch months before your release, so it’s best to start scheduling these early in your process.
Most indie authors launch their books the day it’s ready. But launching too soon is a major blunder that robs you of opportunities. Authors who launch too soon don’t have the parade set up. They don’t have the frenzy activated, and they don’t have the media interviews scheduled.
You often need your finished book in hand to secure media interviews. Journalists, podcasters, and radio hosts want to see or read your book before interviewing you. If you launch it right away, you’ve missed your chance to give them early access.
Friday: Session #16 How to Grow Momentum During the Next 30 Days
(Updated for 2023)
If you learn how to launch a book and have a good launch, your book will continue to sell. In those first 30 days, many books sell more than half their total sales. For some books, it’s even more. A stronger launch begets increased word-of-mouth marketing, which leads to more ongoing sales. We’ll talk about how to maintain that momentum in the months following your launch.
During the office hours of this final session, we’ll host an online graduation party!
How much does the course cost?
The Book Launch Blueprint is not for hobbyist writers or dabblers. We built this course for professional authors who view effective book promotion as an investment. This course will require an investment of your time and money, but it is a wise investment.
Most authors botch the first book launch, learning everything the hard way. They have to write a second book to get a second shot to launch well, which is an expensive way to learn! You’ll spend less time and money if you learn to do it correctly the first time.
Our previous students have seen incredible results. By investing time in the course, they learn how to avoid wasting time on marketing tactics that don’t help sell books (like social media). They typically sell so many extra books the course ends up making them money.
Hiring a PR firm to launch your book will cost between $3,000 and $10,000, and PR firms tend to focus on getting you booked on radio shows. Even if you have $10,000 to hire a PR firm, I’d still recommend doing it yourself. You could use a portion of that budget to hire an assistant to help you schedule. You’ll be able to schedule your own interviews on radio, TV, and podcasts.
The Book Launch Blueprint is not $10,000 or $3,000, or even $1,200, where similar courses are priced. The Book Launch Blueprint is an investment of just $899.
Bonuses: Additional Courses Bundled with the Book Launch Blueprint
- How to Get Booked as a Podcast Guest Course. ($249)
- Marketing Psychology Course ($299)
- Art of Persuasion Course ($49)
- The Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors ($99)
- Jim’s talk on how to go deeper in your writing to give readers an emotional experience (which is what they really want). ($49)
- Over $700 in bonuses!
When does it start?
Registration closes on April 14, 2023. We’ll also host a class orientation on April 14, which will be open to the public. It will be your last chance to ask questions about signing up before registration ends.
The first day of the course is Monday, April 17. It concludes on May 12, but you still have lifetime access to the videos and the community after the last day of the course.
If you’ve taken the course in the past, you don’t need to do anything to sign up again. You’ll automatically receive the same emails new students are receiving.
Where can I sign up?
AuthorMedia.com/courses or at Book Launch Blueprint.
Q: You say we need to block out two hours a day. What does that look like?
A: Each morning, you’ll receive an email with the day’s video and homework. Typically, you’ll spend about 30 minutes watching the teaching, 30 minutes doing the homework, and an hour on the live office hours call. Some videos are longer, and others are shorter. Certain days have a lot of homework, while others have none. In the past, some students have spent far more than two hours per day, and others have spent less.
Q: Is it too soon (or too late) for me to take the course?
A: The Book Launch Blueprint is most useful if you have a book launching within the next two years. If you’re farther out than that, I encourage you to sign up for Obscure No More instead. It’s cheaper and more focused on building your platform.
If you’ve already launched your book and you’re hoping to relaunch, this course is probably not for you. The magic of a book launch is lost once a book is older than 30 days. The best thing you can do to boost your backlist sales is write a new book. Your new book re-energizes people’s interest in your previous books. We do not cover those strategies in this course.
Q: What time zone is the course in?
A: With students from around the world, we like to vary the times of our live office hours. Most often, we’ll host them at 4:00 PM Central time. Occasionally, we’ll schedule office hours at 10:00 AM Central and 7:00 PM Central to accommodate people in other time zones.
Q: Do I have to pay in US currency?
A: This year we’re trying to accommodate you with currency conversion. The dollar is strong right now, which makes the course more expensive for folks in other countries. If you’re outside the United States, email me before you sign up. We may have a coupon code to help with the exchange rate.
You can listen to this episode The 2023 Book Launch Blueprint on Christian Publishing Show.
Thomas, this is excellent insight. As this point, I am still looking for an agent. However, I will enroll in thiscourse when the time is right. I’ve noticed that a lot of authors struggle with the book launch and marketing aspect of their work. I work in marketing for small businesses, but when it comes to books, I have a lot to learn. Thank you for creating such a comprehensive course. Hopefully, prayerfully, I’ll be enrolling soon. 🙂