When I launched my first self-published book, I made a rookie mistake. I’ll release my book first and worry about marketing later, I told myself. Little did I know the uphill battle I’d created for myself.
I quickly realized that if I wanted the success of a traditionally published author, I’d have to do what they do.
So I spent weeks reading, taking courses on marketing strategies, and learning, learning, learning. I set out to become an expert on marketing plans so I could figure out how to make one that worked for me.
And in all my research, one strategy kept popping up: build a launch team.
What is a book launch team?
A launch team is a group of potential customers who help you release your book. They do this by reviewing your book the week of release and sharing it with others. All you have to do is give them a digital ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of your story before the release date. Since they're already in your target audience or niche, it's also a fantastic way to build your email list. The best part? If they like your book, they’ll purchase a physical copy!
Why do I need one?
Here's what a launch team brings to your marketing plan: Momentum. The more traffic your book draws around the release, the higher up it ranks. The higher it ranks, the more Amazon increases your book's visibility to potential buyers. This leads to more sales, which then leads to more visibility… It's a snowball effect!
Why would someone want to join my launch team?
I get asked this question a lot, and the answer is quite simple: people love free things. If you can find children's book lovers and your story resonates with them, they’ll be more than happy to help you out.
So... reviews, traffic, momentum, email leads—it all sounds great, but where do you find these people?
Most authors find their book launch team members through social media—by posting on their author accounts and sharing to relevant Facebook groups. To find people willing to support your launch, all you have to do... is ask! Now that you know why you need them, here are some important ✅ DO'S and ❌ DON'Ts for building the book launch team of your dreams.
✅ DO: Post in Facebook Groups
New authors love to make launch team posts in author groups on Facebook. But what they're forgetting is that a huge perk of your book launch team is building your email list. Because of that, you want 90-95% (or more!) of that list to be potential customers, rather than fellow authors, friends, or family.
Therefore, find the groups your target audience members are in, such as groups geared towards educators, parents, readers, and any other children's book lovers!
When it comes to posting in groups, the more active you are before you post, the more people will see your request. If you join a group and immediately make a post, the Facebook algorithm will show you to a much smaller pool of people than if you were to like and comment on other posts first. So if you’re planning on posting your book launch team request on Friday, for example, you should be as active as possible Monday through Thursday.
This isn’t just for the algorithm, either—people take notice, too. If your only interaction in a group is to say “Join my launch team!” or “Buy my book!” you’re going to come across as a spammer.
You’ll get the best response by making connections with your audience. In your post, add what inspired the book. Why is it needed? What will your readers get out of it? What impact does your story have on others? Don’t just pitch your book, pitch your story.
❌ DON'T: Add Friends and Family
When I talk about building launch teams, I often hear, “My mom tried leaving me a review but it’s not showing up!” Here's why: Having friends and family review your book is against Amazon’s review policy.
If your close friends and family try to leave a review, Amazon will either not post it, remove it, or even flag your account if it happens too frequently. While some people think it’s unfair, the fact is that friends and family give biased reviews. You can ask friends and family to support your launch in other ways, but keep in mind that their support isn’t what will get you success in the publishing industry. If it was, you’d already be there!
✅ DO: Collect Contact Info for Future Correspondence
When you advertise your search for a book launch team, include a Google form to easily collect names, emails, and consent to contact. You’ll find that this is much faster than having individuals contact you--especially if the interest goes viral.
Then, you’ll use an email service like MailChimp, MailerLite, or Wix Ascend to send out professional emails to the team all at once. If you do it well, they’ll want to be part of your future launches!
❌ DON'T: Stress about Verified vs. Unverified Reviews
Many authors who sell their books on Amazon worry about reviews being "verified" or "unverified." A verified review means that the person leaving the review has purchased the book, while an unverified review indicates that the reviewer has not purchased it.
You may assume that verified is better than unverified...but when you want to make a purchase on Amazon, do you go through the product's reviews and count how many are verified or unverified? Personally, I never notice. As long as you have a mix of both, you have nothing to worry about.
That said, ARC copies don’t count as purchases, so if you’re concerned about the balance from your launch team, use KDP Select to set your ebook for free and email them. You could say, “Thanks for being a part of my launch team! As an extra thank you, I’ve made my Amazon ebook free until [insert date here]" with the download link attached.
✅ DO: Send Clean Links
When you visit an Amazon page, you may notice a series of letters and numbers following the ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). This means you clicked a dirty link, which allows Amazon to track where people are coming from when they click it.
Why is this an issue?
Well, it’s often the reason why reviews get denied—Amazon will flag them as "suspicious" since they all came from the same place. To prevent this, all you have to do is use a clean link, rather than the dirty one. To clean up that dirty link, simply remove everything after the ASIN before sharing it with your review team. It won't change what happens when someone clicks the link; it will just keep Amazon from tracking your reviewers.
Here’s a picture of what that looks like:
Build your dream launch team!
Sure, even one of these tips would be helpful. But all of these things are what made my first launch team a success, with over 800 people joining before I closed the requests! My book launch team is the reason my book earned a bestseller banner within weeks of publication. It also resulted in hundreds of reviews within the first week of release, setting the tone for all my future launches.
So, go ahead: Create that dream team, build momentum, and launch your book into the stratosphere!
Always rooting for you, Vicky Weber
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