A huge book launch is quite tempting at this point: you could host a launch event, flood your social media channels with messages, ask book reviewers to post reviews on their blogs simultaneously and so on.
But wait! Slow down. Before you do an all-singing, all-dancing hard launch, it is best to first promote the book with a soft launch to friends, family, acquaintances and trusted fellow writers. Facebook is the best platform for this approach. This soft launch period may even last for a month or two.
Here are five reasons why you should soft launch your novel...
1. Time to Build Reviews - your first sales will go to your close friends and family. Ask them to write reviews on Amazon. Ask your test readers to do the same. The Amazon algorithms will start kicking in once you have gathered a few star ratings and your book will creep up the charts. This means that when you get round to hard launching your novel, your potential readers will see a book with a collection of good star ratings and an impressive chart position.
2. Time to Build Sales - sales also help your book rise through the Amazon charts. A good amount of early sales through the soft launch will make you look more impressive when you get round to the hard launch.
3. Time to Check Spelling, Grammar and Formatting - despite rounds and rounds of test reading, there were still five grammatical errors in The Sheriff by the time I published on Amazon. The buyers of the first few copies spotted this when they were reading the e-book and let me know. They have now been stamped out. Future readers will no longer encounter these errors which is good. After all, they will certainly express their dissatisfaction if they have spent money on something which isn't industry standard.
4. Time to Build Your Author Platform - I would strongly suggest building your author platform months before you publish your book. However, there are some author pages that you cannot complete until your book is published, such as the Amazon Author Central page and the Goodreads Author page. The soft launch window will give you time to do this.
5. Time to Experiment - use your friends and acquaintances as a test group. Experiment with different prices to see if they have any effect on your sales. This means you can value your product effectively before the hard launch.
As a wise man once said, 'Softly, softly, catchy monkey.'