The Risk of a Simultaneous Release: 4 Reasons To Launch One Product at a Time

More often than not, an author is also an entrepreneur, or a photographer, or an attorney, or perhaps a speaker, a musician, a pastor, an artist… something “more” than an author alone.

And it’s not surprising. The book industry rarely pays enough moola for writing to be a full-time job–and perhaps more significantly, those who write books are those with a story and platform. Story and platform are usually linked to other careers–and perhaps other products.

Those who write books are those with a story and a platform. Click To Tweet

So over the years, I’ve had the privilege to work with authors who also identify as rappers and artists, pastors and entrepreneurs, politicians and media pros, speakers and YouTube stars.

These jobs churn out products beyond just books, which inevitably leads to the question of… “Should I do a simultaneous release?”

In other words: “We’re planning a massive book launch, and we’re going to be growing my platform and driving all this new traffic to my website, so… Wouldn’t it be smart to release a new fill in the blank [video series, rap album, online program, painting, professional service package] at the same time?”

Or, the question might be, “I have two books in my back pocket. Why not prepare to release both at the time same time?”

In theory, it might seem smart to kill two birds with one stone by leveraging that heavy traffic stream toward the promotion of two products. However, I have seen it attempted–and simultaneous releases rarely work.

Below are four reasons why it’s best to launch only one product at a time.

1- One chance at momentum. A good launch builds and builds for months to have lots of momentum ramped up and ready to explode on release day. You have one date you’re working toward, one chance for that momentum to release strategically and effectively. A dual-product release significantly waters down that momentum, lessening the “bang” around your book’s debut. Your influencers have more than one focus, media is not dialed in on that single book, your readers aren’t sure which item to buzz about. It tends to be halfhearted and muddled.

2- Limited marketing firepower. Releasing two products at once means that your marketing assets are divided. You can only hit your email list so many times before you wear them out and find they’ve all unsubscribed. Similarly, you can only tweet and post in a “promotion” voice so many times before you sound like a used car sales(wo)man and hurt your brand. Be mindful of the sales lingo you put in front of your audience, and remember that your message opportunities are limited. Don’t take away from your book’s chances of winning by building in a second Call to Action.

3- Split purchase decision. Your most likely sales come from your biggest fans–your tribe, as we like to say. The people who read your blog, follow your social, open your emails–they’re the ones you’ve worked so hard to earn, engage, and prime during the months before release. Offer them a product, and they’ll probably buy it. But offer them two products, and they’ll most likely buy… one of them. They have limited clicks of a mouse, limited resources, and limited time in any given moment. By pushing two product simultaneously, you split the purchasing power of your people and likely end up with half the book sales you would otherwise see.

A single focus wins. By pushing two product simultaneously, you split the purchase power of your people. Click To Tweet

4- Retailers unlikely to promote both. This reason applies most directly to authors who want to release two books at once–or a book and an album or a book and another written product, like a curriculum. Retailers who sell both of your products, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble, are not likely to promote both simultaneously. Just like you do–and publishers do–retailers budget their marketing dollars toward the promotion of certain products. If you give them two products to promote, you run the risk of them choosing to promote only the other product, rather than your book.

Before you even start marketing, a thought:

I generally remind authors that even in the product development stage–perhaps especially in this stage–it’s best to not fracture your focus between two things. If you’re an author, you know that writing a book takes your all. Putting those words on the page–and then making all the editing, titling, and branding decisions afterward–requires your heart and soul. It’s risky to take away from that book focus by trying to create another product (or another book) at the same time. Fractured focus is not focus at all.

I have a disclaimer, though. My main experience is in non-fiction releases, so many of the above reasons are most relevant to non-fiction authors. There are times when it will behoove a fiction author to release multiple books in the same launch, especially if they’re part of a well-designed and well-marketed series.