A guaranteed book launch plan is the holy grail for authors. Whether self-published or not, authors are finally realizing that it is our marketing efforts alone that determine whether our book becomes a bestseller or recedes quickly into the long tail.
Fortunately, help is close at hand. Advice on planning a book launch is now just one popular Google search away. And as journalist Porter Anderson notes, sessions aimed at helping authors launch their books are the new normal at publishing conferences.
Of course, not all advice is created equal. Learning new tips and tactics is great, but in the end I want to hear some strategy behind it all. And sometimes you can learn more about what it takes by a person’s attitude than by a blow-by-blow description of what they did.
So I was pleasantly surprised the other day to find this audio interview with Dan Pink on how he launched his most recent book. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a great turn of phrase, but what grabbed me was his comment that there is “a return to doggedness” for authors.
As a former speechwriter for Al Gore, Pink knows something about electoral politics. And in his mind, launching a book is not flying around the country for a national election, “it’s the New Hampshire primary and you’ve got to go there and talk to the flapjack breakfast for the Manchester County firehouse…It is extremely time-consuming and it can be difficult. It’s arduous.”
He goes on to talk about the most important principles of online platform building, but rejects “the effete notion that ‘if I build it they will come.'” Building a successful platform, Pink says, is “not really hard or daunting.” It’s just a lot of work, similar to the process of writing something that is worth reading.
Listen to the whole interview especially if you are hoping to make speaking engagements a central part of your platform. You might not pick up a single new tip, but you will get a sense of the strategy and determination that will make your book launch as successful as it can be.