After spending some time explaining the basics of release day festivities to friends, I thought now would be a good time to share those explanations and tips on everything from blitzes to swag. You'll hear these terms a lot, and will utilize them yourself as you go along. Below you'll find a little explanation of each, as well as associated hints and tips you might find useful.
Cover Reveal – A day in which you share your shiny new cover with the world. Like blitzes and tours, these are a great time to get bloggers involved, as they can increase your reach and the visibility of your book. If your book is available for pre-order, including the pre-order links during cover reveals can be really helpful in boosting sales. That said, if you won't have pre-order links available until a few days before release, you should probably consider going ahead and scheduling your cover reveal so you don't run the risk of oversaturating bloggers with your tours really close to release day.
Blitz – A preset day (or days) in which bloggers post about your book or sale. The most common of these are the release day blitz and the sale blitz. During a release blitz, bloggers will share your newly released book. During a sale blitz, bloggers share your book sale with their readers. You can set these up yourself, or use a service.
Blog Tour – A virtual book tour, in which bloggers share your book with their readers. Blog tours frequently include author interviews, excerpts, teasers, guest posts from the author, reviews of your book, and giveaways. As with blitzes, you can set these services up through a promotion/host company.
Review Tour – Similar to the blog tour, except used primarily for bloggers to review your novel. Reviewers receive an ARC (advanced reader copy) in exchange for an honest review. Some authors request that reviews be posted to Amazon and Goodreads as well as the blogger's website. These can be set up with a promotion/host company.
Pro-tip on Blitzes/Tours/Reveals: Using an established host will heighten your reach, and take some of the work load off of your shoulders. Hosts will do everything from gathering participants to creating forms and formatted posts to designing the media kit to organizing the schedule. They are invaluable to you as an author. Using more than one can help widen your reach, though you might want to space them out a little instead of running tours concurrently.
Media Kit – A media kit is a document that contains pertinent information that can be used to highlight your work. These kits include things such as the cover, book blurb, purchase and Goodread links, teasers/excerpts, author photo and bio (with social media links), guest posts, etc. These differ from the traditional media kit in that these don't go out to the media, but rather to bloggers and reviewers to help them craft promo and blog tour posts.
Pro-Tip on Media Kits: Keeping a media kit on hand and updated for each of your novels can save you a lot of time and effort. You will reuse these often during the course of your career, and don't want to have to spend a lot of time redoing them each and every time you need it. For a standard media kit, include the cover, book blurb, purchase and Goodreads links, author photo and bio (with social media links), and a brief teaser and/or teaser images.
Giveaways – These are exactly what they sound like…you give away prizes. Giveaways are also invaluable. They draw in participants, putting your name and books in front of others. Need help with the giveaway? Ask fellow authors if they are willing to donate a prize in exchange for the exposure. If you use a tool like Rafflecopter to organize your giveaway, you can add options such as requiring entrants to follow other authors on Twitter or visit them on Facebook. Smaller giveaways work well for cover reveals and blitzes, larger giveaways for blog tours and multi-author events. You may also want to utilize the Goodreads Giveaway option prior to or at the time of your book release. Just remember: Goodreads requires that you give away print copies, not ebooks!
Pro-Tip on Giveaways: Don't give away ebook copies of the novel you're releasing. You run the risk of stunting your sales if you do, as readers may wait to see if they won instead of buying a copy. Give away a limited number of autographed print copies during a giveaway (if you opt to give away any), or opt for things like swag, other ebooks, gift cards, or items related to the book. For bigger giveaways, things like a Kindle or a $50 Amazon card are always big hits.
Facebook Parties – These are virtual events, held on Facebook, often used to celebrate new releases or special occasions (like 1000 fan page likes). You create an event page, and host the event right there on the page. You can offer teasers, excerpts, play games and give away prizes. For longer events, you can ask fellow authors to help host for a specific time frame (typically 30 minutes to an hour) in an author takeover type of party. These are a fun way to get readers involved, especially those who can't attend an in-person book launch party.
Book Launch Party – A live event to help celebrate your release. These events can be set up at book stores, local pubs, Starbucks... you decide what and where works best for you and your readers and reach out to local businesses to see who's interested. You can do book signings, readings, and more as part of a Book Launch Party. Just remember to plan ahead, make sure you bring plenty of swag and books, and are prepared to keep guests entertained. You may also want to consider investing in author banners or posters to help promote the event and draw eyes.
Pro-Tip on Parties: Don't save your planning until the last moment. Give yourself several weeks to invite your readers, fellow authors, and to make plans for what to do during the party. If fellow authors are helping you host, make sure you remind them of their time slot prior to the party so you can make last minute adjustments if needed to accommodate changing schedules. Except readers to come and go in waves, especially during longer events.
Swag – Items used to promote your book such as bookmarks, pens, wristbands, etc. Most often, you will give these items away to others. Swag can be costly, so be prepared to spend a little money on these items. You can order from places such as Vistaprint, Printrunner, or Reminderband. You can also order items unique to your book (like charm bracelets, etc) from various Etsy crafters, such as The Book Swag Shop. If you need help with designing items, many cover and graphic artists can help. I use Jada D'Lee and Mayhem Cover Creations for most graphics. Ask around for additional recommendations. Your graphic artists can also help with teaser images to post on social media or during tours/etc.