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Monday, April 29, 2013

Checklist for a Book Launch

John 3:16 Marketing Network
Checklist for a Book Launch
Lorilyn Roberts
Blogger/Writer/Author Name:  
Completed Books:    
Published Books:
Current Projects:      
Future Projects:       
Number One Goal for 2013:     
Review Date:            
Author Platform and Readiness for a Book Launch
My goal with this checklist is to help authors identify areas they need to focus on to rise above the pack of thousands writing books today. The competition has never been greater.
To contact me (Lorilyn Roberts):


1.     Do you have a blog or website?
2.     Do  you have a share button for social networking?
Make sure you have a follow button toward the top of your blog or an option for visitors to follow you by email. Also make sure your name is somewhere on your site – you want to promote yourself as an author.

You should post something at least once or twice a week. Static sites aren’t as good. You want visitors to interact with you by being able to leave comments.

Make sure you have a button for easy sharing – it will boost traffic to your site.
Amazon and Book Platform

Are you a published author (self-published or traditional?
If you don’t have any published books yet, keep reading. You will learn some valuable tips.
Do you have a minimum of ten reviews with at least a 4.0 overall rating for your book or books?  If the book is rated by reviewers lower than a 4.0, you need to figure out why. Poorly rated books don’t sell (unless they are pornographic or media-driven).
At the Florida Christian Writers Conference VIP’s said traditional publishers want self-published authors to have more than 100 book reviews. This would come into play if you wanted to traditionally publish a self-published book.
Do you have an avatar and up-to-date bio on Amazon?
This is free advertisement. A must, especially if you are self-published.
Have you set up and completed all the tasks in Author Central on Amazon?
If you haven’t done this, the link is

Make sure you answer all the questions, not just your bio and avatar, but your Author Page URL for Amazon, blog feed link, twitter feed link and multimedia if you have a book trailer.
If you have published books on Amazon, is all the information filled out for each book on Amazon?
Amazon allows authors a lot of space at the top for editorial reviews, product description, et cetera. Don’t waste this space. Use it.
Have you answered the “book extras” that link to Shelfari?
This is directly from Amazon: Readers can see Book Extras for your book on the Kindle and Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. You can write them in Shelfari, the community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers. This information appears before, during, and after the reader experience, so put your one-of-a-kind knowledge to use. The link for this can be accessed through Author Central.
Have you written book reviews?
This is one way to help other authors and be sociable. Amazon will track your ranking as a reviewer—another way to gain exposure.
Are your books priced competitively?

List the price of the author’s book in the first block and a best-seller in the same category in the second block. Compare. If you book is priced higher, lower it.
Is your public profile completely filled out on Amazon?
The public profile is found under “Your Account,” go down a ways, and look under “Community.” Here is the link:

Does your book cover show up well on Amazon?
Can you read the name of the book and the author’s name easily? How does your book cover compare to others in your genre?
Have you filled out the appropriate categories for your Kindle book on Amazon?
For Kindle, this is done through the Kindle Direct Publishing site at

Have you entered the best key search words for you Kindle book through Kindle Direct Publishing?
If you need help doing this, please read this article I wrote:

Has your Kindle book been properly formatted?
A spot check for this can be done by clicking on the book’s cover on Amazon. The first few pages of the book will open. Check for incorrect spacing, boxes, strange lettering, et cetera. 
Has your book been edited by at least one professional editor, preferably two?
Readers will tell you if they find mistakes. Better you find the errors and correct them – your reviews will suffer if your book is poorly edited.
Other Social Networking Sites

How many twitter followers do you have?
At the recent Florida Christian Writer’s Conference VIP’s said they wanted authors to have 5,000 followers.
Are you sociable—do you host other authors on your blog or website? Do they host you?
Do you know others in this industry that would be willing to endorse you or recommend you? Writing is a solo journey, but marketing can’t be done alone. You need others to help you.
Do you have a presence on Facebook?
While Facebook’s importance in marketing is minimal, it’s still helpful for making connections with others.
Opt-In List

Have you set up a service like Constant Contact to build your email list?
Do you have a free gift you can give away to build your opt-in list?
You should have at least one permanent free gift available on Amazon, Smashwords, your website, et cetera.
Do you subscribe to helpful blogs for marketing and writing?
A writer should constantly be working to improve his writing and marketing skills. Blogs on relevant topics are more current than books, particularly with marketing trends. Reading blogs is a must.
What Books Have You Read to Help You With Writing?

Are you a fiction writer?
Here is a link to a post I wrote on good books for fiction writers.

Are you a nonfiction writer?

On Writing Well, by William Zinsser

Writing to Change the World, by Mary Pipher

Writing for the Soul, by Jerry B. Jenkins

Have you attended any writer’s conferences in the last year?

Other extras to consider: Does your book have a book trailer? Youtube is highly trafficked, don’t skip this marketing opportunity.
List the writer’s conferences you would like to attend in the future.

To make a free book trailer, go to:

What Books Have You Read to Help You With Marketing?
There are so many good ones, I am not going to list them, but be sure you read my book, How to Launch a Best-Selling Christian Book if you have joined or are interested in joining the John 3:16 Marketing Network.

Here is the link for Kindle:

Here is the link for print:

What are your strengths?

You have some – don’t just focus on what you need to do, pat yourself on the back for what you have already done and done well.
What are your weaknesses?
Be honest – no one hits a home run every time he stands up to the plate in baseball. Many strike out – but they come back again and again, unless they don’t have the talent and then they are sent down to the minors. If you have the ability, you will succeed if you keep learning and don’t give up.
How much money should you spend each month on marketing?
Don’t go into debt - ever! There is no guarantee that your costs will be recouped in book sales.
What are the things you can’t skimp on when it comes to marketing and selling your book?
An editor, a book cover designer, and pay the hefty fee and buy your own ISBN numbers from Bowker if you need to purchase your own. Don’t buy from a cheap source.
A well-written press release is also helpful.
If you are not a top-notch writer, hire someone to write one for you.
Should you spend money on publicists, formatting books for Kindle and Smashwords, expensive email blasts, book trailers, overpriced POD publishers, or anything that costs more than $100? Like expensive book contests?
Absolutely not. You can do what a publicist does yourself. If you can read, you can format your own books for Kindle and Smashwords. Using Animoto (listed above), you can do your own book trailer for free. You can publish through Lightening Source and Create Space for a very reasonable price (less than a hundred bucks on either one), and the best book contests don’t charge or only charge a small amount to cover the basic costs.

General Observations
I would recommend you look over the list above and your responses and make an assessment of what your strengths and weaknesses are. Be kind to yourself – just going through this list is the first step in learning more about how to market your book. One of my concerns with new authors coming into the John 3:16 Marketing Network is sometimes they want to launch a book too soon. You need to work towards the goals above, particularly the Amazon platform goals, to have a successful launch. Waiting until you have a lot of reviews, a minimum of ten and preferably thirty or more with at least a 4.2 rating will go a long ways toward selling books and having a successful launch.
Call to Action – what three things will you work on now—don’t wait. Fill in the list below and shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.
Action Item




Additional Comments:

After reading through this list, if you would be interested in some personal coaching, I will be offering one-one-one coaching via phone, Google-plus Hangout, or on Skype on a limited basis for $55 for one hour. Only one hour per person. My goal is to help you learn how to market your book and make you self-sufficient. Knowledge is power. You can do it!


I will be hosting a Google Hangout tonight at 7pm (April 29) to discuss book launches, specifically the new way we are doing them and why.