books, writing

Creating a Launch Plan

One of the most daunting tasks I’ve faced so far with Crimson and Gold is figuring out how to share it with readers. It’s a little too long for most short story markets, and longer than I want to post here. The story itself doesn’t fit into a serialization either. That leaves few options, of which I’ve settled on self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Shorts.

The next hurdle: figuring out how to launch it. Although I could easily just hit ‘publish’ and call it good, advice and evidence both say that’s not the best option. Like anything else,  it takes work to make sure it doesn’t get buried before readers even go looking for their next read. There are plenty of guides catered to launching full-length books, but what about something that’s only just over thirteen thousand thousand words?

It turns out finding any sort of short story launch guide is difficult. I won’t say impossible, but I also didn’t find any myself either. There are dozens of book launch plans however, and they all start months before launch, and some of them start years beforehand.

Given the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of publishing anything, that makes a lot of sense. Cover designers need time to work. A final copyedit and readthrough needs time. Buzz takes time to create and spread. All of that can take weeks and months to create and implement, so number one rule of creating a launch plan: Start several months before launch. 

The next part is figuring out what your launch plan needs to do. Do you have a social media presence to utilize? Do you need to start one and work on building it? What about getting your book or story formatted? Do you have a cover or any teaser images you can use to create buzz? Remember the more your launch plan needs to do before launch day, the more time you need.

Another part of how long you need is going to center on what you plan to do to create buzz. Are you going to have events or items at your local library, school or bookstore? What about a blog tour? Pre-Orders and reviews?

For Crimson and Gold, given how short it is, I’ve opted to keep my focus on making sure it’s formatted and put together. While I won’t be doing any massive blog tours and I’m still iffy on doing pre-orders for a short story, I do want to use teaser images and a cover reveal to get the word out. Those are all things that need to be timed and ready weeks beforehand. That means for something I started planning at the end of September, I’m looking at the end of January at the very earliest.

To actually create and write my launch plan, I gave myself goals and deadlines for each month and the weeks leading up to the intended launch date. Once I had the general goals, I could break each goal down into what needed to be done to complete it. I added general deadlines to each step and ended up with a pretty good structure of what needed to happen and when.

What are any tips or tricks you’ve learned for writing a launch plan? Any experiences you want to share from your launches?



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