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  • Writer's pictureManju Howard

Planning For Your Book Release (+ Giveaway)

Giveaway ended.

The winner of Sophia's Giveaway is Linda Evans Hofke!

Check out Sophia's new picture book at your local library or bookstore.

Happy Spring! I'm hopping with pride to have a member of my critique group share her debut picture book and marketing tips with you. Please welcome Sophia Gholz, author of The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng. Sophia is kindly offering either a copy of her new book OR a critique of a non-rhyming picture book under 800 words. To win this special prize, follow the directions below Sophia's post.

Now here's Sophia -

Let’s talk about what happens after a book sells. Beyond waiting for edits, revising, approving drafts and various other things over the course of months; there’s the actual book launching. Truthfully, the possibilities are endless when it comes to publicity. So, I’m going to break down what I did and how I found it helpful.

Join a book release group

I’d heard about book release groups. As soon as I got my official publication date, I asked around online to see if any debut groups existed for 2019. I was disappointed to learn that several groups had been formed and were already full. Thankfully, a note popped into my inbox about a newly created debut group. I happily joined and am glad that I did.

Book release groups are essentially groups of authors and/or illustrators that all have books coming out either in the same year or genre or with a similar theme, etc. These groups typically have a social media presence and members support the books being released. Most importantly, these groups offer you the chance to talk with others in your shoes and share/receive advice. I have loved getting to know my fellow debut authors and definitely recommend seeking out or forming a release group if you have a book coming out.

Reviews, interviews, blog tours and appearances

I have been lucky to work with a publisher that is supportive, communicative and helpful in so many ways. Still, just because my publisher has been wonderful, it doesn’t mean I get to sit back and relax.

Even if your publisher is helping and/or submitting your book for reviews, there are still things you can do. For example, you can line up a blog tour or reach out to other industry professionals. Do you follow any literary or book-related blogs? Email them and ask if you can write a guest post.

Another great way to share your story is with your local TV or radio. You can find contact information for almost all news and radio stations online. I urge you to drop them a line. What’s the worst they can do? Say no? Well, you’re a writer and you are used to hearing the word “no” by now. I reached out to a local news station and while they didn’t invite me on air, I did end up with a referral to another avenue that panned out. Before long, I appeared on a local talk show, The Buzz. You never know what might happen.

Also, if your book has a specific theme, you might be able to contact local events or organizations that share your book’s theme in order to line up an appearance or two.

Think about a pre-release school visit

School visits can be hard to come by, especially for a debut author. However, it’s possible to book one and it may be a great way to celebrate the release of your book. If you aren’t an established author with a long track-record, consider offering a visit to a local school either in exchange for book sales or at a discounted rate. I was fortunate to be able to book a local school visit the week before my official book release date. The kids thought it was amazing that they were getting a sneak peek before the rest of the world and I had a wonderful time sharing that moment with them.

Thanks to Author Nancy Churnin for also sharing the idea of a book fair. Based on Nancy’s example, I arranged to have my official book launch party at a bookstore. The bookstore agreed to host a book fair for a school in conjunction with my launch. In other words, a portion of the sales from my book launch and school visit went back as a donation to the school itself.

If you want a great resource related to school visits, swing by Michelle Cusolito’s fabulous Facebook group:

Create Engaging School Visits.

Plan a book launch event

I’m going to be honest, my book launch event terrified me. What if no one shows up? What if everything goes wrong? What if I forget the words to my own book while I read it out loud? All of the what ifs ran rampant through my mind as I geared up for my official book launch party. Planning an event, no matter how big or small, can be scary.

If you approach your local book store, they should have some good resources to help you plan and promote your event. However, you don’t have to host your event at a book store. You can host your launch solely with a school visit, or at a local café or museum, etc. There are many ways you can celebrate the release of your book. This moment doesn’t have to be a big show or be about sales. Your friends and family will be there simply to share and celebrate this moment with you.

Call on your friends

For an author, time spent in the trenches is not time wasted for many reasons. In particular, over the years I’ve gotten to know many writers and made some strong friendships that are absolutely priceless to me. Don’t be afraid to call on your friends for advice or guidance as you prepare to welcome your new book baby into the world. I am grateful to those who have answered my many questions and I am happy to give back wherever I can. We really are all in this together.

Sophia Gholz is a children's book author, a two-time Florida SCBWI Rising Kite Award winner, the managing owner of, and a board director at KidLiteracy, Inc., a nonprofit organization. In the past, Sophia has worked as a professional copywriter and written for television. Sophia enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction for children of all ages. Her debut picture book, The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng, is available now. For more, you can find Sophia online with the links below.

Twitter @SophiaGholz


For your chance to win a copy of Sophia's new book OR a critique of a non-rhyming picture book under 800 words:

* In your comment below, share where you linked to this post

* Like Sophia's Twitter or Facebook page

(Deadline to enter is March 30, 2019)

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