If you are a first time author planning to launch a book in the coming months, now is the time to become a student of how others are launching their books.

Here is a basic plan you can follow.

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Use social media channels to identify an author who will soon launch a book in your genre. Write their publication date on your calendar and set aside time to watch the author’s launch unfold.

Become a careful student of the author’s strategies and tactics.  Follow their tweets, fan their Facebook page, visit their website, read their blog posts, opt-in to their email list, and observe what they’re doing, when they’re doing it, and how they’re doing it. Pay attention to the asks they are making of their fans, friends, and followers.

Take a look at their metrics. During their launch week, check the status of the book’s Amazon ranking. See how many Amazon reviews their book receives. Monitor the book’s hashtag if they’re using one or mentions of their Twitter handle, to see if you can tell how much buzz they’re generating.

Take notes on what you like and don’t like. Which strategies and tactics seem most useful to you? What do you love? What do you dislike? Your reactions and observations will be helpful to you in developing your own plans, strategies, and tactics.

Consider reaching out to talk to the author. It will be helpful for you to understand what’s happening behind the scenes of a launch you are observing. Email the author, if you’d like, and schedule a time to talk, if they are willing. Did the author hire an outside publicist or social media marketing company? At what cost? What help did they find most useful? Would they recommend the companies they hired? Why or why not? What would they do differently?

Watching what others do is a useful exercise. More information will help you be better prepared for your own launch.

Tell me something! What book launch strategies have you observed? What do you like/dislike?