What Is a Book Launch?

A book launch is the activity created around the publication of a book, either traditionally or digitally. The launch is designed to attract attention to the title, sell copies, boost the discovery of a new author or alert fans to new work from a favorite author and -- with a large infusion of luck -- get a book on or near a bestseller list right out of the gate.

The Art of the Sell

Book launch activities begin well before publication day. Authors should have an active social-media presence and ideally, a strong mailing list of people interested in receiving publication news.

An industrious author or a service can arrange zoom and podcast tours -- the Internet version of the author's bookstore tour. A standard press release goes to traditional media outlets and becomes part of a media kit -- both hard copy and available on the author's website -- with the book jacket, blurbs, advance reviews, an excerpt, author photo and contact information. Giveaways, an event such as a launch party or a book tour helps create online buzz and local media opportunities.

Launch to Lightning Strike

There is no guaranteed formula for a successful launch, but the effects may include strong publication-day sales, continued good sales and positive responses from reviewers at traditional publishing platforms such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television shows. A powerful launch and a solid book may result in a deluge of positive reader reviews and the lightning strike of viral buzz on social media.