Book Launch Ideas to Get Your Book on Their Must-Read List

Abi Wurdeman
April 20, 2023

By the time you’re brainstorming book launch ideas, you’ve done some serious work.

You’ve imagined, researched, and plotted. You’ve sought feedback you weren’t sure your heart could handle and you’ve set your ego aside to revise and polish until your bright little experiment became a brilliant masterpiece.

The novel you’re about to release into the world is so much more than a book. It’s a part of you. Maybe it’s even the best of you.

It’s no wonder you want to create a solid launch strategy to ensure this novel gets the reception it deserves.

To help you do that, we’ve assembled some of our favorite book launch ideas. These are eleven steps you can take in the months leading up to your book release to heighten your novel’s visibility, generate buzz, and start racking up pre-sales.

It may not be practical to do all of them, and that’s fine. Choose what’s doable for you and what makes the most sense for your audience.

We’ll start with the most obvious.

1. Create That Website

We’re talking about book launch ideas, but you can file this one away as a book launch requirement.

You’ve got to have your author website up and running before releasing your novel.

For one thing, your website signals your credibility. Once you get that pre-launch buzz going, folks are going to search for you or your book. Seeing a professional website will make them think, “Cool. Looks legit.” You want that.

Use your website to help your readers connect more deeply with your work by adding features such as:

  • A blog
  • An interesting “About Me” page
  • Bonus material
  • A page dedicated to your book (Don’t forget to include a “buy” button or link to a sales page!)
  • Links to any recent press you or your book have received
  • Newsletter sign-up
  • Newsletter archives

You don’t have to do all these things. For now, at least start with an About Me page and a page dedicated to the book itself. From there, you can add whatever you think will resonate with your readers and won’t require more maintenance than you can manage. 

2. Social Media

A teenager sits between two stacks of books looking at their phone.

Pre-launch is the time to set up your author social media platform(s).

Note that I said “author.” Don’t just use your personal accounts to post book announcements now and then. Many social platforms’ Terms of Service say you’ll get banned if you just use your personal account for professional means. Create new accounts dedicated to connecting with readers.

As for which social media platform you should use, I recommend asking yourself two questions:

  • Where am I most likely to find my readers?
  • Where can I post regularly and joyfully?

For example, TikTok’s book community, #BookTok, is booming right now. Tons of authors are roping in new readers with their TikTok content, especially romance authors.

That’s worth knowing. But you also need to consider your own tendencies. Starting a TikTok account won’t do you any good if you don’t have the interest or time to learn how to create great video content.

If you could use some social media book launch ideas, consider posting:

  • A behind-the-scenes peek at your process
  • Intriguing quotes from your forthcoming novel
  • Creative cover reveals
  • Pre-order and launch announcements
  • Quotes from early reviews

Also (and this is important), post about things that aren’t your book. Recommend books you love, celebrate fellow authors, share resources, and never ever hesitate to share a good dog video.

3. Email Campaigns

If you haven’t started an author newsletter, do it now.

Slap a newsletter sign-up form on your website, encourage your social media followers to opt in, and start sending emails, even if it’s only to a list of two. 

This is one of the most important book launch ideas on this list for a few reasons.

First, email campaigns allow you to communicate with your readers directly and continuously. 

Second, that direct communication means you get to make readers feel special. Give them something that’s only for subscribers, whether it’s a picture of your writing space, exclusive access to signed copies, or the opportunity to read the alternate ending you discarded.

Third, creating a newsletter today won’t just help you with this book launch. It will also set you up for even stronger second, third, and seventeenth book launches.

4. Book Tours

A book tour may seem like one of the loftier book launch ideas, but hear me out.

In the digital age, a book tour can take many forms. 

If you’re able to set up readings and book signings at bookstores across the country, great! Do it. 

Or if you can schedule a few in-person events just in your hometown, that’s worth doing, too.

But remember that you can also reach a wide audience with an online book tour. This could look like:

  • Being a guest on a podcast that allows you to talk about your book or read an excerpt
  • Guest posting or being interviewed on someone else’s blog
  • Participating in a virtual reading or author event
  • Arranging a social media takeover in which you post about yourself and your book on someone else’s account for a day (Pro tip: This should be someone whose audience would be interested in knowing about your book.)

And how exactly do you set up all these virtual tour stops?

Well, you can orchestrate some of these events yourself by scheduling a live author event on YouTube or other social platforms.

Others, like hopping on a podcast, might require cold emailing the hosts and explaining how their audience would benefit from hearing about your book.

Still others—like guest posting or staging a social media takeover—will require connections. That brings me to:

5. Cross-Promotion

Two people in business wear high five in front of a laptop.
You can tell they're successful by all the business wear and high-fiving.

Get to know authors in your genre. Stay in touch with the ones you respect as writers and as human beings. Then show up for each other when your launch seasons roll around.

This might mean:

  • Sharing each other’s announcements on social media
  • Encouraging your audience to check out the other author’s book
  • Inviting each other to guest post on your blog or social platforms
  • Trying a newsletter takeover, which is basically a social media takeover but with email

These cross-promotion techniques can be highly effective book launch ideas as long as you and your fellow author:

  • Genuinely believe your audience will enjoy one another’s work
  • Write in the same genre or at least in genres that are likely to have some crossover readers (like sci-fi and fantasy)
  • Are clear about any language or content guidelines when it comes to communicating with your respective audiences

It can be tempting to strike a deal with any ol’ author in an effort to grow your readership faster. Resist. You’ll lose credibility with your audience if you promote anyone or anything that isn’t right for them.

6. Q&A Sessions

This is a fun one. In preparation for your book launch, schedule a live Q&A with readers. You can do this through live videos on YouTube or Instagram, over Zoom, on Twitter, or using any of the eight billion other virtual platforms available to us in the modern age.

Invite your readers to ask questions about your forthcoming book, your process, or anything else that feels interesting, relevant, and appropriate.

A Q&A is one of my favorite book launch ideas because it gives your audience an opportunity to really connect with you. They get to know who they’re supporting when they buy your book.

Plus, it’s another chance to build anticipation for your grand masterpiece.

7. Collect Early Reviews

If you’re a self-published author, you need to give yourself any edge you can when it comes to visibility. Racking up reviews on your book listing is a great way to establish clout with readers and algorithms alike.

Well before your book launches, offer your followers a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. You can do this through your newsletter, social media, or even by contacting your biggest fans one-on-one.

Another option is to use a book distribution service like Prolific Works to reach readers who are interested in discovering new writers.

8. Short Story Releases

If you’re looking for more creative book launch ideas, a short story release might be right up your alley. The concept is simple:

Release a digital short story during your pre-launch period as a promotional tool for your forthcoming novel.

The short story should be connected to your novel in one way or another, whether it gives readers a taste of your world, teases an intriguing relationship between characters, or acts as a prequel to the book.

You’ll probably want to make this story a freebie. You can offer it through your website or on Amazon. Or—if you want to kill two birds and all that—use the story as an incentive for joining your mailing list. 

This last maneuver is known as a “lead magnet.” They sign up with their email address, you turn over the goods.

Of course, not everyone is willing to give up their email for a free short story from a new author. So you might find it’s better to make this first short story easily accessible and save the opt-in requirement for new fans who want a peek at the bonus epilogue after they’ve read your novel.

9. Giveaways

A big multicolored sign reading "GIVEAWAY."

This book launch idea doubles as yet another way to snag early reviews.

Create a giveaway on Goodreads or organize one through your newsletter or social media. If you set up your own giveaway, decide what readers need to do in order to enter.

Like your post? Share your post? Join your mailing list? 

To sweeten the deal, offer a signed copy of your book. Or collaborate with fellow authors for a bigger giveaway: four steamy romances or three chilling horror stories for Halloween. Something like that.

You can even package your cozy mystery with a fun mug and gourmet hot cocoa.

However you do it, don’t forget to let your lucky winners know how much you’d appreciate an honest review. Oh! And be sure check your country’s legal requirements for running giveaways.

10. Book Trailers

Okay, full disclosure:

I have yet to hear a definitive answer as to how well book trailers work. And I personally don’t pay much attention to them when selecting my next read. 

However, I am just one person with one lifestyle, and book trailers can capture the spirit of your story in a way no other medium can. So it’s worth consideration as you design your launch strategy.

A book trailer is a video you use to promote your book. Similar to a movie trailer, the goal of a book trailer is to communicate a story, tone, or theme. Approaches to this art form vary widely, from the cinematic to the thematic.

How you make a book trailer depends on how much money you want to invest and which skills you may or may not personally possess.

If you’re gifted in the areas of film or animation and have access to iMovie or another video editing tool, you may be able to put one together yourself. You can also use a book trailer tool like Animaker or even hire a contractor to make the trailer for you.

Now, as long as we’re thinking big, creative thoughts…

11. Launch Party

A crowd of people gather for a party on an outdoor patio.

Hype up a big party for launch day! You’ve done a huge thing. Might as well celebrate.

Depending on how much you want to invest in this little shindig, you could rent out a space, invite the public in for hors d'oeuvres, and read an excerpt during the festivities. 

Or you can create a virtual launch party. Invite your audience to join you online, do a reading and a Q&A, and celebrate the people who helped you get this far. You might even consider sending fun freebies to those who RSVP, like fun bookmarks, handwritten thank you cards, or the short story you meant to use as a lead magnet but didn’t finish in time.

Keep the Book Launch Ideas Flowing

Whatever you do, don’t stop with this list. Let these ideas spark your own. Even as you draft and revise your novel, you might stumble upon unexpected genius.

Could your launch party be a recreation of the ill-fated garden party in your 1920s mystery? Maybe your next newsletter can come from your most lovable character.

And be sure to check out the writer’s community in the Story Craft Café. This is a great place to share book launch ideas, build cross-promotion relationships, and more! 

The world is waiting for your genius. Get creative, get bold, and get visible. Good luck out there.

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Abi Wurdeman

Abi Wurdeman is the author of Cross-Section of a Human Heart: A Memoir of Early Adulthood, as well as the novella, Holiday Gifts for Insufferable People. She also writes for film and television with her brother and writing partner, Phil Wurdeman. On occasion, Abi pretends to be a poet. One of her poems is (legally) stamped into a sidewalk in Santa Clarita, California. When she’s not writing, Abi is most likely hiking, reading, or texting her mother pictures of her houseplants to ask why they look like that.