How To Sell Books: The 9 Step Book Launch Formula

When it comes to a new book launch, the vast majority of authors we work with feel very much the same way. They want to sell enough books to make a fair living, but at the same time truly HATE the marketing required to do it.

You know what, that’s totally fair. 

The vast majority of authors didn’t get into this line of work because they love selling things.  They became authors because they love being creative, telling stories and getting their message out into the world.

That’s why we’re going to demystify the entire process.  In the next few minutes you’ll get a full breakdown of the steps and processes behind exactly how to simplify your book launch process (and more)

Your Book Launch Does NOT Have To Be Painful

At first, launching new titles can appear difficult, expensive, time consuming and even embarrassing. But it doesn’t have to be!

The reality is with the ease of self-publishing, oceans of new books are released every single day.  Marketing is VITAL to keep your book afloat. After all: if nobody knows your book is out there, are you really a published author?

The good news is book marketing does not have to be painful or suck horribly.

After working with over 18,000 authors, we’ve learned a few tricks that can dramatically stack the deck in your favor.

The best part? Anyone can do this even if you have zero marketing budget!

Plus, once you lay the initial groundwork, it gets easier and more automatic. The ‘trick’ is to keep it up for each new release AND simple messages between releases.

You’ll be able to boil everything down into what we call “daily micro actions”.  These are fast, tiny steps you’ll spend less than 7 minutes on each day.  Do this and watch how your sales increase over time!

Book Marketing Pre-Work: Branding

Before we get into the nitty gritty of marketing, it’s a good idea to work out your author brand. Branding keeps everything you do uniform and cuts back on any confusion so your message doesn’t become lost in the noise.  Don’t panic! Branding is incredibly easy. Let your books, your writing style, and your authentic-self do the work for you. 

Consider these 3 questions:

1: What do readers love about your characters?

Is it their witty banter? Their sex appeal? Their self-sacrificing nature?  Once you know exactly what it is that makes readers root for your characters, you can play off those elements in your marketing content.

Authors with comedic characters, for example, should keep that same wit and sarcasm in everything they do because it’s what their fans are drawn to.  Don’t know what readers like about your characters? ASK! Then write it down so you can reference it later.

2: What about your story makes readers want to keep reading?

Think of the tropes and themes in your story as well as your unique style and voice. Which of these elements really connects with your readers?  Not sure? Read through your reviews or peer feedback. Which story elements do they comment on the most?

In a romance novel, for example, it could be the build up of romantic tension. Or perhaps they love your plot twists or your themes on family values.  Whatever it is, plan on using those elements to build your content around. Make sure you write this down for later reference. 

3: What ideas can you think of that will incorporate the above elements into your book marketing?

In the same way that a romance author should keep their content focused on love and sex…or how a comedy author should interject comedy into all of their posts, videos or engagements…YOU must work your unique angle into as much of what  you do as possible.  Don’t worry, we will go into more detail about how all this works in just a moment.

Once you understand why readers want to buy your book, it’s time to layout the marketing actions behind your new release launch!


Book Launch Formula Step 1: Start With An Amazing Book

There’s no way around it; having a compelling, well-written, un-put-down-able story is VITAL. If your book practically sells itself, half the battle is already won.  A poorly-produced book will sink no matter how much money you throw at it. Take a moment to get critical about your product and ask yourself:

  • Is my genre in demand? Is there a healthy market for this kind of content?
  • Does my story hit the popular tropes that readers tend to enjoy/connect with?
  • Has my product been professionally edited?
  • Is the layout and formatting professional? Does the content flow well?
  • Do I have a professional cover that people like?
  • Do I have a well-crafted, edited blurb that hooks readers?
  • How does my book compare to other successful books in the same genre?

If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’ then you must go back to the drawing board until you can answer every question with a confident YES.

HOT TIP:  Nobody is an island. What that means is every amazing, successful author works with other people to become amazing and successful. Do not hesitate to work with developmental, line, and other editors. Always work with credible cover designers. This does not have to be expensive, and in every case the investment will be worth it.

Book Launch Formula Step 2: Learn To Love The Pre-launch 

Have you ever seen a major motion picture randomly show up one day and make hundreds of millions at the boxoffice during opening week?  Not likely, because it almost never happens.  Movie studios understand it takes time to build excitement around anything, even if they have a massive pool of pre-existing fans. They always tease up-coming films as if the production is their first ever and no one’s heard of them before.

So should you! It’s called a “prelaunch”.  

After all, you need readers who know you exist so you have a group to actually launch your book to on release day!  A deadly mistake is waiting until the book is ready to publish before garnering any sort of following.

In other words, you need to lay the foundation of EVERYTHING we are going to teach you before you plan to launch.  For the best results, you’ll want to use all, if not most of the tips below in conjunction to build the best system possible.

It can feel like a lot, but if you start now and work step by step, you’ll have a support team, plan of action, and readers who are waiting with baited breath for your new release by the time it’s ready.

Don’t have any books out yet? Starting from zero?

Involve readers in the creation of your book!  Do live reads of your progress, ask for opinions, have them join you during the writing process.  While not everyone will follow you here, those who do tend to become your most hard-core fans!

Already published and didn’t do so well?

No problem! You can use this method to re-launch an old title as well as in preparation for your next book.

Book Launch Formula Step 3: Always Be Growing Your Author Newsletter

If a superb product is half the battle of a successful launch, then an author newsletter is the other half.  If you don’t already have an email list service such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite, get one!  Growing your subscriber list should be the goal behind everything else you do. It should be connected to everything. 

Why? Because at the end of the day, social media networking only goes so far.  Algorithms hide posts, videos get taken down, old links can break, and so on.  You need a way to talk to your readers that doesn’t rely on them “hopefully seeing your post”. The best way to do this is to email your readers directly!

HOT TIP:  Email your readers often!  Aim for at least once per week. So many new authors are afraid of annoying their readers. They fear people will unsubscribe, and some will.  DON’T WORRY. Unsubscribes are healthy because these people are not your fans. Let them leave!

You want your list to be full of your biggest fans. This is NOT about having big numbers. The quality of your subscribers is the most important piece.  Not the quantity. So absolutely use regular emails to weed out the chaff. Grow your list 365 days a year, send quality messages, let those who aren’t into you vanish, and soon you’ll have an email list that’s more powerful than any other selling tool.

Book Launch Formula Step 4: Always Be Growing Your Professional Network 

Other authors are NOT your competition. They’re your support group!

It’s always easier and more powerful to market as a team and to share the success than to go it alone.

Hop on social media, join author groups on Facebook, search #authorsofinstagram on Insta, or lookup #authortok on TikTok. Join an author server on Discord or Twitch. Get out there and make friends. Ask questions and be willing to learn.

While you’re at it…

  • Sign up for newsletter swaps.
  • Join a Bookfunnel or StoryOrgin promotion.
  • Collaborate with other authors on Instagram or TikTok.
  • Participate in a Facebook party.
  • Volunteer to write a guest post on someone else’s book blog.

Authors and industry professionals are always looking for new content to share with their audience. Might as well be your book!

Book Launch Formula Step 5: Make Consistent, Relevant Organic Posts

Speaking of social media, it is important to keep a healthy post schedule across all your favorite channels, even if your book is nowhere near ready to launch. Posting at least once a day will train the algorithms in your favor, keeping your posts visible and your following growing. Never let your socials become stale.

The key to social media is…

  1. Be authentic.
  2. Cater to the preferred medium.
  3. Post regularly and consistently.
  4. Create original content that ties in your books and characters. 

HOT TIP:  Don’t post static images on platforms that prefer video (ie Stories, Reels, TikTok). You don’t have to use a platform you’re not comfortable with, but if you’re not okay with video content, then master any of the many platforms that prefer images (ie Instagram) or long form writing (ie blogs).  Play to your strengths!

Book Launch Formula Step 6:  Incorporate Paid Email Promotion 

As you may have guessed, growing your newsletter subscriber list and social media following with regular emails and organic posts is the foundation of everything else. You should be doing those two vital things every day.

However, organic growth is a slow process. For a book launch, you’ll want a little more bang for your buck to drive a lot of sales within the first week of launch.

That is where paid email promotion comes into play.

Emailing readers is so effective, that email advertising has become the #1 way to promote a book!  You should always be growing your own email list as mentioned above, but authors also benefit from paying a small fee to have their book featured in established newsletters curated by book-promoting websites such as RomanceDevoured, ReignOfReads, BookBub, BookClicker, StoryOrigin, etc.

You’ll want to schedule as many email ads as possible for the days leading up to and immediately after release.

Book Launch Formula Step 7: Push With Paid Social Media Ads

Nearly every social media platform today offers some kind of paid advertisement option (ie facebook ads).  You’ll want to research your preferred platform for the best methods, cost, and so on.

There are two focuses you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to paying for ads on socials.  The first are ads to push your paid book. The second are always on list building ads.  

Pushing your book:  When done strategically, social media ads can be a huge driving force that sends lots of traffic directly to your book’s sales page. If you’ve done your homework well, a great cover and blurb will convert that traffic into sales!

List building ads:  In that same vein, you can keep your email and socials growing for as little as $3 – $5/day by using social media ads to drive traffic to your subscriber page.

HOT TIP:  Have a Lead Magnet (aka something you giveaway for free) ready to go. Give it to readers in exchange for their email as a way to “sell” them on subscribing to your newsletter. This is especially useful if you are just starting. You can offer the first 5-10 chapters and let them know they’ll be part of your process behind the scenes!  An even BETTER move is to deliver a prequel or short story that ties directly into the book or series you plan to promote later.

Book Launch Formula Step 8: Push With Amazon Ads

Amazon is the largest ebook retailer in the country with over 300 million users.  Amazon Ads (aka AMS ads) are a powerful tool that allow you to direct Amazon shoppers straight to your book’s buy page. They’re also more cost efficient compared to most social media ads.

Take some time familiarizing yourself with the ad platform and invest in a good ad strategy to really drive sales during launch week.

Book Launch Formula Step 9:  Combine And Time It!

Phew! That’s a lot of information condensed into simplified bite-size pieces. Now to make sense of it all…

We’ve included an easy checklist below with allotted time frames so you know exactly what needs to be done and when.  Remember, the big pieces only need to be set up once. The rest are “micro actions” that can be done in under 7 minutes a day!

The main takeaway here is:

  1. Have a polished product that readers want.
  2. ALWAYS be growing your author newsletter list.

If you do nothing else, do these two things and soon you’ll have the foundation you need to build off of for the rest of your publishing career.


Doing This ONE THING Can Save Years Of Struggle & Speed You Towards Success >>

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