book launch process

The Process I Used for a Book Launch

It didn’t take long for me to realise my researched and well-crafted books weren’t selling and I needed a launch strategy: only ten years! Don’t let it take you this long…  Here I share my own book launch process and project management style for non-fiction books (indie authors).

It takes a bit more work than a written plan, but the fact that it reminds you daily of your tasks is enough impetus for me.  Asana is a Project Management tool, which is a SAAS (so yes, you can pay for more features by the month) and I use the free version.

How Did I Set up a Book Launch Plan?

First, I used the ‘Project Launch’ template in Asana. But I changed the headings to ‘pre-launch marketing’, ‘planning’, ‘creative deliverables’, ‘monitor results’ and ‘post launch’.

As I remembered things to do, I added them as tasks and set a date.

Another awesome feature is the fact you can add a list. I just copy and pasted a book launch list from the internet and changed up some of the titles and descriptions. It worked fine and saved time.

Here is one book pre-launch list I enjoyed, from a cookbook author (not copyable):

Here is a book launch list that could be copied to the PM software:

And a third way I used Asana was to add my VA’s email address, who then will work on the individual tasks I set. My book VA is from Nepal and knows English well and how book launches work (and how WordPress works). He is flexible with times and budgets. All things you should also watch for. You will also need to communicate outside of the Asana software.

First-timers, you can basically ignore all the upper-level features and just focus on adding tasks and assigning tasks and end dates.

Another thing to focus on is not creating too many overlapping tasks in the same week (see Calendar view). To pull tasks around via the dateline and view overlaps, you may need a timeline overview, called a Gantt chart. If you don’t want to upgrade to use Asana Timeline, you can actually do one-click integration to Instagantt from Asana, which is a Gantt chart program. I did this because I was using it for my business school project, so it is optional.

Read all ASANA project managing features and how-tos here:

Break Down Bigger Tasks

You can also create sub-tasks. These allow you to break a big task into several smaller steps, so you can have one overall deadline but people doing different parts of say designing the interior book.

You can use the Launch Project for more than just marketing, as I did, or have two projects. But having two projects is just too much for my middle-aged brain! (Plus, there are client projects to do).

I also planned a real-life launch party for 7th February, but now my project status is flashing red, because I have deadline creep. It seems that I will need to drop the party date back a bit. Still, better to plan it and have it be later than not plan it and never do it at all.

To Summarise: Book Launch Planning

There you have it, an organised way to plan a book launch. The tasks are many, but with this project management tool and perhaps a virtual assistant, you can get there.

It is also a good way to look back and reflect on how some activities went. If you don’t monitor it, your mind tends to remember all the things that didn’t work and not what went right.

How do you plan your projects?  Sticky notes? Tasks in Outlook? A worksheet? Let me know in the comments.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Pamela Schmidlin

    ok, you’re talking non-fiction- what if I have a fiction- well, it’s a memoir/ novel so my story mixed in with a bit of fiction which ironically is not going to be fiction but a bit of American history!

    1. Jennifer

      What you have there some call creative non-fiction. I believe you can take similar steps (even on a tight budget); you can still create a personal brand and do all the self-publishing and marketing steps. I recommend owning your ISBN and imprint name.

  2. Aletha McManama

    Awesome, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing your process for launching your book. I love it! I actually use Trello, coupled with the Planyway calendar (it’s a Gantt chart too) that allows me to time-block so I can juggle my multiple-client load and still blog every day. I stay busy for sure. Not sure if I’ll be launching a book of my own anytime soon, but I do plan on launching a program and product this year. I’ll have to take your advice and set up all the different steps in my Trello account.

  3. Kelsye

    Hey, you used my book launch checklist. That’s awesome! I use Asana as well. Never thought about translating the checklist into an Asana project. Very clever. You’ve inspired me to work on an updated version of the publishing checklist.

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