Release Craziness! A List of Book Release Steps

Hello, everyone! I have a book coming out next week. Yay! And I’ve been busy <pant, pant, hands on knees>, very busy trying to get everything in order for the big day.

First of all, for those of you who do all the release work on your own because you’re self-publishing – I don’t know how you do it! There’s a huge amount to be done. I’m definitely not a marketer or publicist, but luckily, I have a publicist and marketing team at Entangled Publishing who help me. Still, there’s a ton that I need to give them. Below is a quick breakdown of the tasks that we have done to prepare for my release.

Two months or more prior to release:

Brainstorm: I brainstormed about ways to promote my upcoming release and talked to my publicist. I also started thinking about the type of gifts I could give away, which had something to do with my Scottish historical (gift wrapped Highlander, anyone?!).

Cover quote: I asked a fellow author, who writes Scottish historical romance, if she could please read my ARC and give me a quote for my cover. She said yes! Once I obtained the quote (which was wonderful!), I sent it on to my publicist and cover coordinator (I don’t think that’s his title, but he takes care of all the details).


A month prior to release:

Pre-Orders – My publicist set up pre-orders for my book on the major book sites. We added any Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) reviews obtained. I sent out ARCs to people who have loved my books and will give me a review.

Cover Reveal – I lured in possible new newsletter subscribers by saying on social media that I would be revealing my cover in my newsletter (with links to sign up). A couple days later, I sent out the newsletter. Two days later I revealed the cover on social media.

Releasing August 14th! Only 99 cents right now!

Little Pep Talk – I struggle with telling people about my upcoming releases and covers, etc. Why would they want to go to the trouble to join my newsletter just to see my new cover? Well, some do! Act like everyone wants to be the first to see it. I do this because my publicist tells me to, and she knows what she’s doing. Ok – back to the list.

Create Bookmarks or Postcards – I used Canva to create a bookmark and uploaded the file to Print Runner. I ordered 200 bookmarks (color on both sides, 2X7 inches) for $48.

Create FB/Twitter Posts – I used Canva to create some posts about my upcoming release with either a short excerpt, a review, or a blurb. Make it eye catching with your cover. Start working the posts into your regular FB/Twitter posts. Don’t bombard everyone constantly, and make sure to continue your other posts of cute kittens or snarky memes. Make sure to put the link to the pre-sale page in the post (not in the Canva picture).

Created in Canva to advertise the sale of Bk #1

Blog Posts – My publicist and marketing team asked me to write some blog posts for the Entangled Publishing blog and the USA Today Happily Ever After blog. I also wrote some guest posts on other book review sites (on top of writing my normal blog posts for this fabulous Ruby blog). I think I’ve written six so far with two more to go, plus any others they ask me to do. I always say yes even though they take time. I’ve learned to just start writing, and they usually roll on out (whew – it’s a good think I like writing!).

Street Team – I started a street team called the Highland Roses (watch out, we’re lovely but have sharp thorns!). I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and my publicist gave me the little shove I needed. I only have a few Roses signed up at present, but I plan to grow it. I started by finding graphics to represent the team, formed a closed FB group, created a google questionnaire for perspective Roses, and asked a couple very supportive readers if they’d like to join.

Book Bub Ad – My publicity team made the first book in my series 99 cents and submitted the deal to Book Bub for a Feature Ad. Praise the Heavens, it was accepted! The ad just ran, a week before the third in the series comes out. I’m hoping that the push of book #1, with the sale and ad, will trickle down to book #2 and the new book. I also made sure that my upcoming release was listed under my name on Book Bub. Anyone can start an author account on Book Bub for free. If people follow you there, they will get a notice of your new release.


Two Weeks Prior to Release:

To Build More Excitement – My publicist sent me a countdown widget, and my web designer added it to the front page of my web site. Wonderful publicist also sent me Teaser Tuesday social media designs for me to post, but I also made some in Canva.

Newsletters – I sent one out for my cover reveal, but I will also send one out announcing a contest to celebrate the release. I might make it only for newsletter subscribers because I’m trying to lure more in (so I’ll send out the announcement about the newsletter contest on social media two days before). I will also send out a newsletter on release day with the blurb, buy links and some 4 & 5 star reviews in it. (If you’d like to join my newsletter, just sign up on my web site landing page) –

Reach Out – I contacted another author (I should do a couple more) who writes in a similar sub-genre, and we are going to feature each other in our newsletters and give each other books to use in a giveaway.

One week prior:

Postcards – I didn’t order postcards this time, but if you do, you’d want to mail them now to your snail mail list.

Release Day FB Ad – I might put together a FB ad with Canva to send out on release day. I haven’t decided yet, because I haven’t seen any return on my FB investment. However, I don’t spend very much to begin with.

Release Day Graphics & Social Media Posts – I will create some teaser graphics in Canva to use on and around release day with tags like #newrelease #historical #romance. I’ve read that people are more interested Twitter and FB posts about a book if the type of book is listed. Ex. Do u love Tudor Period romance w/ Highlanders & feisty heroines? Just released! (with a link and picture of your book cover). I don’t usually waste space on the title if the cover is right there. Then there is more room for tags and teaser quotes or short reviews.

Day of Release:

Celebrate – Send out celebration notices and giveaway opportunities. I use rafflecopter to set up some giveaways. Since my upcoming release is the third book in a series, I will give away the first two books to a lucky winner, along with some Highlander swag. Keep in mind that sending swag through US mail can be expensive. If you are just mailing a book, then it can go “media mail” – much cheaper. Sometimes it is better to mail the book separate and then mail the gifts.

Respond – Be ready to respond to all your posts about your release. Readers want to connect with you. Be peppy, happy, and thankful for the support.

Go Clean Your House – I mean go enjoy a bottle of wine while having your feet rubbed and a facial because we writers live such a glamorous life <snort>. Really, though, I know my house is a mess when my writing world is crazy, but we should all remember to celebrate the beautiful birth of our books. Go out to dinner, eat cake, or watch a movie. The toilets can wait until tomorrow, and then you can start writing the next book!

There are lots of ways to launch a book. What other steps could I take to make my release a success? I’m sure I’ve missed some!

For more information about me, here are all the places you can find me.


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13 responses to “Release Craziness! A List of Book Release Steps”

  1. Heather, This is an awesome run down of things to do before your release date. I’m saving it.

    As an indie, I know how hard it is not to hit that publish button, but with my recent release Perfect Fall I resisted. I did many of the steps you mentioned here and I feel the release was more successful.

    Taking the time to send out ARCs and getting quotes, putting up copy on blogs and social media, placing ads is just smart business.

    One thing I did that I didn’t see on your list is that once your book is up for pre-order, add the book and its links in the back matter of all your other books asap.

    Great post! Thank you for sharing.


    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Thanks, Autumn!
      Yes! Adding your links at the back of your book is very helpful. I need to double check to see if my publisher automatically does that.
      : )


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      • Tamara Hogan says:

        It’s always so educational to see what other writers do for release planning! I’ll be blogging about my approach in a couple of weeks.

        –> One thing I did that I didn’t see on your list is that once your book is up for pre-order, add the book and its links in the back matter of all your other books asap.

        Thanks for the reminder! ENTHRALL ME’s pre-order link went live at AMAZON earlier this week, and the others are coming soon. Updating back matter links is something that I can do as soon as the URLs are available!


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  2. Congrats on the upcoming release, Heather! And thank you for sharing your pre-release plan. I love stealing tips from what other authors are doing to make their books more visible. 🙂


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  3. Nicole Terry says:

    Thank you for this! I’ve got my debut out early next year and I’ve been wondering what to do and when.

    I’m saving this page and printing it out.

    Thank you!

    And congrats on the new book. I love Scottish romances.


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    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Congratulations, Nicole, on your debut! That’s so exciting! And I’m glad the list is a helpful place to start.
      Best of luck!


      • Nicole Terry says:

        Thank you! I’m excited, so much so that I can’t wait. But I also know to slow it down, not to rush it. I’ve heard that when the time arrives, there’s not enough time to do everything you need to!


    • Congrats, Nicole!


      • Nicole Terry says:

        Thank you! The Rubies have taught me so much over the last year. Information that’s made a world of difference in my writing and my promotion.


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  4. Rita Henuber says:

    Wow! great tips. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Thanks, Heather. Great list. And congrats on your new book!


  6. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Great list of information and tips! Congratulations on the new book!


  7. Liz Talley says:

    Fantastic guide, Heather! Definitely bookmarking for future use 🙂


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