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Your Book Launch Timeline —What to Do When to Launch a Book That Sells

What’s your launch strategy?

95% of authors I ask this question to reply “I don’t have one” or say “I’ll post a link to my book on social media and hope for the best”.

Hope is not a strategy and won’t get your book on the bestseller lists.

But you know what will?

A carefully orchestrated book launch.

Here’s what you do:

Assumption: the entire execution time from idea to launch is 5 months.


You start with the end in mind. What do you do when you want to launch a successful business? You look for a niche that you can dominate. You look for a blue ocean. It’s the same with books.

The majority of books fail because nobody sat with the author to help them them find a category which they can both fit in (so that librarians know how to categorize their book) and stand out (blue ocean).

Take my book How I Sold 80,000 Books. This is my big business card.

How does it fit in? It answers the question “How do I sell more books?”, just like its competing titles.

How does it stand out? It solves the question “How do I sell more books?” using the 4Ps marketing mix framework.


Writers often label themselves as planners vs. pantsters. I’m a huge believer of planning.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

YOU know where you are going — you want to hook your readers, give them an unforgettable reading experience and get them to take action.

To be able to achieve that, you need an outline.


NaNoWriMo gives you one month to write a 50,000-word manuscript. Thousands of writers manage to reach that goal.

If you don’t love to write but still want a book, you can speak it to your phone and then get a ghostwriter to shape it into book material.


Wow! You should now be holding a first draft of your professionally written manuscript in your hands. Congratulations!

Do you run and publish it? No, not just yet.

You need to know if there are any gaps or loose ends.

That’s what a developmental editor does.

If they find room for improvement, the manuscript goes back to the ghostwriter. If you get all green lights, you’re off to… no not quite to the races… you’re ready for copy-editing.


This is the fun task of going through your manuscript as many times as necessary to make sure that every comma and period is in place.

This is a must. It shows respect for your reader and it should also completely eliminate any future negative reviews regarding writing style.


The first thing people will judge your book by is its cover. The cover consists of two main elements: the title and the artwork.

With the title of a non-fiction book you want to show people what results they will be able to achieve when they read your story.

A great example is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. If anybody is in a financial struggle, even just holding the book entitled Financial Peace in their hands will bring a sense of peace to them.

Another great approach is a “How to” title. They’re oldies but goodies. They work. For example, when someone buys How I Sold 80,000 Books what they are really buying is that result.

Next is the artwork. Most of your readers won’t be looking at your book in real size. They will be looking at a thumbnail next to other similar book as they search Amazon.

That’s why your book needs to fit into the other books in its genre but also stand out as being unique.

The most important thing to remember is that the title needs to occupy at least one third of the cover. It needs to be clearly visible as a thumbnail. Then you want one big image.

I recommend you order two or three different covers and then let your target audience choose the one that works.


  1. a) You should now have an ARC – an advanced review copy to build your launch team and get endorsements.

Create a landing page where people sign up and get a free review copy of your upcoming book as soon as they leave their email.

This allows you to build your email list and gives you the ability to mass mail all your team members during launch (crucial for the success of your launch).

Where do you get your launch team members? Anywhere your target audience hangs out. Reach out to Amazon reviewers who reviewed books similar to yours, write relevant articles on blogs (guest posts) and invite people to your launch team, appear on podcasts and tell listeners about your upcoming launch, reach out to existing connections.

Remember that about 30 percent of the people who join your launch team will actually leave a review, so if you want to launch with 50 reviews, you need more than 150 people who committed to do so.

You keep building the launch team until about a week before launch (where the time to read the book becomes too short).

  1. b) Simultaneously you want to reach out to people who could endorse your book so that you can add their quotes on your cover, inside the book and on your Amazon page.

Reach out to your connections, ask for introductions. It’s easiest to get an endorsement from someone you’ve already got an established relationship with but if you don’t it can be a good reason to start engaging with someone.


Book royalties are great, but you will almost always generate more revenue on the back end than on the front end.

That’s why you need to have a link inside your book that will take your readers to your landing page so that they can subscribe and you can offer them your other books, products or services.


Amazon looks like a bookstore but in reality it’s a search engine. That’s why your book needs to be optimized for online sales.

What this means is that you need to know what readers are looking for and make sure your book pops up at the top of search results when they are looking for answers your book provides.

That’s why I start with keyword research before I even come up with the titles. The full title and subtitle of How I Sold 80,000 Books is packed with keywords, which I found using dedicated software.

Another aspect is choosing the right category. We already touched upon it in positioning. By choosing the right categories you will be visible to those readers who want to read your book most.

You also need a captivating book description and an outstanding bio.


Your Amazon page looks stellar (great cover, title, description, bio, author pic, endorsements). Your book is optimized for online sales (keywords, categories) and it’s a book people will want to buy (and continue their relationship with you via your funnel that’s in place).

The #1 strategy here is successful communication with your launch team that you’ve been building up.

I recommend doing a free launch where you make your book free for a few days and urge your team members to download the book from Amazon (even if they already have the ARC) and leave a review which will be marked as “verified”.

Mail your launch members daily, giving them updates on the progress of the launch and sharing milestones, such as copies downloaded, number of reviews written or bestseller rank reached.

After the free days are over, set your book at $0.99 for a week or two and monitor sales. Increase your price every week or two (be consistent) by a dollar with all other factors unchanged and that will allow you to know (not guess) at which price point you make the most in royalties.

As soon as you’ve got your price point right, move to paid advertising (AMS ads, FB ads) and PR opportunities as well as partnerships to keep sales coming, build your list and increase your world domination!


For more strategies on selling books by the truckload go to and download your free copy of my award-winning guide “How I Sold 80,000 Books” now.


By Alinka RutkowskaAlinka Rutkowska is a multi-award-winning and #1 international best-selling author.

She’s a coach who transforms struggling writers into profitable authorpreneurs.

She’s the founder and CEO of LibraryBub (, which connects librarians with award-winning and bestselling books from independent publishers.

She’s the founder and host of the 5-Figure Author Challenge ( which gives authors winning strategies to get to 5 figures in 5 months.

She’s been featured on Fox Business Network, affiliates of ABC, NBC and CBS, Author Marketing Club, The Author Hangout, Kindlepreneur, Book Marketing Mentors, Examiner, She Knows, She Writes, The Writer’s Life and many more.

She’s a sought-after speaker. She’s been voted top 5 speaker and named most creative book marketer at the Bestseller Summit Online.

Download Alinka’s free award-winning guide “How I Sold 80,000 Books” at


Inkitt launches a free program to help you turn your idea into a novel within 30 days

Have you ever thought about writing a novel? There are millions of people in the world who have ideas floating around in their heads that they want to write down but never find the time.

Inkitt, the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, will be launching their first ‘Writers Write Program’  on November 1st to help you turn your idea into an original novel. The 30-day program is completely free and filled with special benefits such as:

  • Free, 30 min private sessions with professional writing coaches (including the editor of The Martian)
  • Events and tips with bestselling authors like Andy Weir, Lauren Kate, and Gayle Forman
  • A variety of community features such as the choice to get a writing buddy who you can exchange manuscript feedback with

“Our intention is to enlarge the writing community by encouraging more people to become writers,” said CEO of Inkitt, Ali Albazaz. “The program is completely free so for us this isn’t about making money; it’s about encouraging talented and committed writers to keep going and finish what they started.”

If you are serious about taking on the challenge or want to finish (or start!) a manuscript then make sure to get your spot in the program now. There is less than a week left before it starts.


Free Writing Coaching Sessions on Skype

Professional writing coaches will help you improve your storyline. 100 selected writers will receive 30min coaching sessions every week

Motivation To Finish Your Novel

Receive motivational tips from successful authors such as Andy Weir, Lauren Kate, and Gayle Forman. See your public ranking based on how fast you’re writing and compete with other writers to reach the finish line


You can join our Writing Buddy Program – We’ll match and connect you with another writer within your genre so you have someone with you every step of the way


Tomorrow’s Edge Trilogy

Brett E Armstrong Author Interview

Brett E Armstrong Author Interview

Day Moon is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a history, science fiction, and peeks at the future as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

I would say it was a little of both. When I was first inspired to write the story I knew it would be set in the future and because of the nature of the premise it would start to pull in threads of science fiction. I also knew I wanted to include the quotes from Shakespeare to help reinforce the importance of the book Elliott’s grandfather gave him and to fill the novel with a contrast in sound and nature to highlight a key theme of the book. That is the conflict between the old world and the new emerging one. Elliott lives in an area caught in that struggle, which is fortunate because it lets him realize that there are aspects of this new world that are not just dangerous but incredibly sinister. I think for any theme to work well in a book, the author can take steps to draw out the theme, but ultimately there has to be that kind of organic innate vibe to a story and the prose in order to make it resonate the way it needs to. Since I’m by nature someone who thoroughly enjoys history and science fiction, and am a dreamer as well, I think those aspects of me got carried through strongly enough to Day Moon to accentuate those elements and hopefully imbue that old world meets new feeling.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

First of all I’m glad you found them to be so. I had a lot of fun with just about all of the characters and how they interacted, particularly Lara and Elliott as they sorted out their feelings for each other. It was kind of an unexpected pleasure to write Director Ohlmstadt’s character. He’s only physically in the novel briefly, but his presence and philosophy kind of ripple out and touch so many other characters. Whether they realize it or not, both of Elliott’s co-workers Kendra and Terrance have bought into his “whatever it takes to meet an end” ideals. Though Agent Amar also has that conviction, he wouldn’t attribute it to Ohlmstadt.

There are plenty of references and quotes to Shakespeare in this book. Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?

I used an online tool that lets you dig down into each of Shakespeare’s manuscripts and search them line by line and by keywords and phrases. That helped ensure I go the quotations right and I tried to keep them contextually and thematically in line with the original text’s spirit. It helped that I’ve been reading Shakespeare’s plays just about all of my life. I knew including them would be a way to ground people in the familiar as well. Most people know at least a little bit of Shakespeare, whether they realize it or not. And though I think Day Moon’s world already looks much like ours, with a futuristic veneer, I wanted to make sure people had some elements woven through it that they could reach out and relate to along the way.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?

I’m working on Veiled Sun, the next book in the Tomorrow’s Edge Trilogy and its about 75% of the way through its first draft. Originally I meant for Day Moon to be a standalone but realized towards the end of what is Day Moon that the story arc was too big to reasonably fit in one novel. Particularly for a new-to-publishing author. Making it a trilogy has broken it up enough that the chunks should be manageable for readers and make it more appealing to my publisher. I’m hoping my publisher likes it and it can be out by mid or late 2018. Veiled Sun has some competition with me though, because I’ve had another manuscript that kicks off an epic fantasy series rooting around in my mind for almost ten years now. It’s been through multiple drafts and rewrites and finally taking a shape that I think makes it ready for publishing. I call it Quest of Fire, and I’m hoping it will find its way to readers by late 2018 as well.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Day Moon (Tomorrow's Edge Book 1) by [Armstrong, Brett]In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.

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Just How Sordid

Tantra Bensko Author Interview

Tantra Bensko Author Interview

Remember To Recycle explores a twisted state of dystopian society run rampant with political tension and censorship as experienced through the eyes of a sordid slew of characters. How did you decide on the starting point for this novel and how did that help create the rest of the story?

Thank you for asking. I based the novel on current reality based on in-depth study of foreign policy and traditional patterns of involvement by intelligence agencies who use propaganda to skew public opinion toward a military agenda.

I began the book inspired by the guys who go through my recycling bins to take what they can sell; I made a recycler character who has a clever scheme to take what he learns about the people in the neighborhood that way. The idea made me chuckle, and I wanted to see what kind of goofy brilliance he might display. I also had often joked around with a housemate about the empty buildings across the street which are owned by the church. We’d see people go in and never come out. I was also inspired by our jokes about the counter-intuitive business choices of the local ice-cream truck driver. The truck indeed broadcasts the recording of a scolding woman’s voice, just like in the novel.

Though entertainment is the ultimate point of the book, my main serious goal with the book is to balance the propaganda about the White Helmets, though characters in the United States who had hear the stories about a group like them on the nightly news or watch the Hollywood movie about them.

This novel follows the introduction to Nancy and her relationship to the Agents of the Nevermind in book one, Glossolalia. Nancy has done sordid things in her past, but she was forced into it. In this book, she’s again given the chance to be a hero and make amends for her role in political intrigue, even if it means using the dirty skills she was raised with. Some methods are so dirty, she hardly even lets herself know just how sordid she can be. But like all the other POV characters, she has a good heart.

I chose the beginning scene because it was cinematic, with the dramatic contrast arising from Nancy relaxing at her unusual dwelling, chuckling at the anomalous sound of the ice-cream truck that never seem to make any sales. That prepares us for dark humor in the book. She’s being startled by the loud sound of a hard snowball smashing the glass of the window beside her head. She puts on her costume when she realizes someone outside might be looking at her, so we see how she’s been living “underground,” hoping no one recognizes her, in a somewhat primitive location, but someone mysteriously is communicating with her.

She finds a painted rock inside the snowball and the image reminds her of herself and her one friend, a lovely artist named Becky. Nancy has followed another such anonymous note to lead her to Becky in the past. So that beginning creates questions about the dynamics of some major characters, as it sets in motion Nancy’s sleuthing, and involves the reader in the mystery.

I remember the excitement of thinking of the snowball, with ice-cream and a rock inside, at the beginning. Most of the book was already written, but that image created a colorful motif that I went back and inserted through the novel. It was gratifying the way it drew a lot of elements together.

You’re able to weave together the intricate lives of a ragtag group of characters. What themes did you want to capture while creating your characters?

I focused on the theme of the heroism of examining and exposing social engineering, and the difficult choices, nobility and sacrifice that can entail.

I felt this story was very well written. What’s your experience as a writer?

I appreciate that. I’ve been writing all my life, as well as studying the form, not only for my benefit but for my students, as I teach fiction writing and edit manuscripts. I’ve explored a variety of genres; psychological suspense, which is the overarching category all the diverse books in the series fall into, fascinates me because of human psychology making propaganda and other forms of deception easy and bewildering, creating the need for answers. I love the feeling of figuring out the answers to such mysteries, such a rush, a shudder. It’s the perfect genre to dramatize the ability of intelligence agents working behind the scenes to gaslight the public. So, I read and watch movies and TV shows in that genre a lot, to understand what works best. I’m always studying more about fiction and screenwriting techniques. I learn as much from the screen as the page, and organize my books like movies.

This is book two in the Agents of Nevermind series. Where will book three take readers?

It continues the theme of the Agents who combine deception, mind control, blackmail, and occult practices. I’ve been including history about that intersection in the books, returning to certain historical figures such as John Dee and Edward Kelley, and their use of Enochian language as a spy code as well as an attempt at magick.

The novel is called Encore, and is Gothic. A highly-acclaimed performance troupe has a special requirement to make their shows work: the audience can’t be aware if any of the actors are replaced by a standby (similar to an understudy.) Their resident hypnotist, Dune, who is rumored to be an Agent of the Nevermind, accomplishes that by hypnotizing the standbys to believe they’re the actors they’re mimicking, and even coat their own auras with the residuals of their actors.

His wife is the star, but must leave the troupe due to cancer. Her standby and Dune have strong chemistry. He kidnaps her while she’s hypnotized to believe she’s his wife, and takes her to an alchemist’s castle. Underlying the story is the real history of a few powerful countries’ competing mythologies meant to gain supporters for them in wartime.

I hope this book will move readers to appreciate themselves for who they are.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

What if the homeless men going through your recycling know more about your life than you do? Like who is going to die. One of the recyclers, Dave, wearing disguises he keeps under a bridge, memorizes the information in people’s bins. He, like many others, idolizes the Rescuers, a supposedly neutral, unarmed humanitarian aid group in a Balkanized country, as the possibility of WWIII looms. The Nevermind Agents lie on the evening news to garner support for proxy wars. They say the Rescuers are unarmed, neutral, and giving humanitarian aid to a Balkanized country. Their movie about them is a blockbuster. Rescuer costumes are the bit hit for Halloween. But it’s time to unmask them. And that requires a plan so ingenious, even the planner can’t know how it’s done. Living not far away from Dave’s bridge, Becky donates generously to the Rescuers, making her finances even more insecure. She doesn’t know what to think when she finds things in her apartment moved slightly. The toothbrush is wet. There’s a stain on the ironing board. The cat food is nearly gone. Is it her imagination? Is someone messing with her mind? Could it be Stan, breaking in because he loves her? He certainly loves putting her body into mysterious BDSM contortions for their videos. But what’s that muffled moan she hears in the background when she calls him on the phone? Becky hires her friend to spy on Stan. The woman has gone underground since escaping from the Nevermind; she wears a wig, and a mask meant for burn victims. She has traveled across the country to befriend Becky, taking a chance on an anonymous message recommending she do so, though she doesn’t yet know the reason.

A Thriller for Thinkers

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Beautifully Illuminated

Kathryn Berryman Author Interview

Kathryn Berryman Author Interview

Erinland follows 21st century characters as they are catapulted into a 9th Century Viking war. Some fantastic battles and world building ensues. What was your inspiration for the setup to this fascinating novel?

Actually, my inspiration came from the Irish side of the conflict. When visiting Ireland some years ago we visited Trinity College in Dublin. Displayed in a glass case is the Book of Kells. It is a beautifully illuminated ancient manuscript with vivid colours and characters depicting stories from the four Gospels of the bible. The Book of Kells is believed to have been written around the year 800 in a monastery in Iona. After a Viking raid on the monastery, the surviving monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, taking their treasures with them. The meticulous attention to detail and its beauty resonated with me, so I did some digging into Irish history and the Viking presence in Ireland. This finally lead me to Amy and Richard and the writing of Erinland.

Erinland provides much in the way of Viking history. Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?

Yes, I certainly did do a lot of research into both Irish and Viking (Norse) histories and mythologies. I learned a lot about their ways and beliefs and found it absolutely fascinating!

I understand this is a your debut novel. What a fantastic start! What made you start writing?

I’ve always dabbled a little with writing. I enjoy getting lost in the ‘writing space’ and hopefully creating something entertaining for the reader but for Erinland, the catalyst was seeing the Book of Kells first hand.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on a sequel to Erinland. It should be available mid 2018.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Erinland by [Berryman, Kathryn]

Two troubled young adults find themselves key players in a deadly game that spans the 21st century and the Viking Age.

Amy, finding it difficult to ‘fit in’, becomes increasingly obsessed with the virtual reality game Erinland. The VR characters and the mist of Erin begin to invade Amy’s dreams and her waking moments. She finds herself drawn into Erinland in 9th century Ireland. Amy becomes part of this mystical world as she joins in the struggle to defeat the Viking raiders.

Richard has a complicated home life and feels he doesn’t belong anywhere. A series of events finds him desperate and living on the streets, where he finds himself dragged into 9th century Norway by a Viking warrior. Richard finds acceptance with the Vikings and joins them on a colonisation raid to Ireland.

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