How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever

Posted January 3, 2017 | Laura Christianson

Note from Laura: A few weeks ago, I received a surprise package from my dear friends, Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp. Inside the box was an advance copy of their book, Overwhelmed, plus an array of lovely items, all of which related to the theme of their book.

How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever |

I was blown away by this thoughtful gift. Since a good portion of my readers are authors and entrepreneurs who market product launches, I begged Cheri and Kathi to share their trade secrets.

They agreed to tell all. Be sure to read the entire article, because we have two free downloadable gifts for you.

By Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp
Guest Columnists

How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever |

Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp, authors of OVERWHELMED.

When you write a book about being overwhelmed and launch it on January 1, it’s like the ultimate test. Is it even possible to have an un-overwhelming launch?

It seemed like we were setting ourselves up for failure. But if we believed in the principles of our book (and we did!) we needed to aim to have the least overwhelming book ever.

How We Decided on the Overwhelmed Launch Plan:

Early on, we put into practice a core principle of Overwhelmed: pre-deciding. To keep from getting caught up in pre-launch and launch activities all through Christmas, we were intentional about setting boundaries.

We decided to do three things well:

  1. Take great care of our launch team and influencers
  2. Provide custom-written content to our influencers
  3. Offer a multi-week interactive online post-launch program in January

This list served as blinders, helping us ignore what “other authors” or “other launch teams” were doing. Whenever a new, exciting idea came up, we recited our list of three. If the new idea didn’t fit, we dropped it.

How We Developed the Overwhelmed Launch Team:

We began building the Overwhelmed launch team months, even years, ago. We still had active Facebook groups for Kathi’s three previous books. Everyone in those groups had been invited, almost two years ago, to participate in the Overwhelmed manuscript development team.

How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever |

During the year that we wrote Overwhelmed, the 50 people in our manuscript development team responded to multiple surveys and read very early drafts of each chapter.

As the deadline for Overwhelmed came closer, we crowd-sourced our manuscript development team, posting requests for chapter readers on our Facebook pages. By the time we hit “send” on the final manuscript, over 200 people above-and-beyond the official manuscript development team had volunteered to read and respond to at least one chapter.

When it came time to put out the call for Overwhelmed launch team members, we began by inviting the message development team, then emailing the crowd-sourced team, then put announcements on Facebook, and, ultimately, we each published one “Apply for the Overwhelmed Launch Team” blog post.

We aimed for 250 and received over 600 applicants.

Free Download!

Get a 4-page PDF of the exact application Cheri and Kathi used to recruit their launch team, PLUS a list of the contents (and cost) of each item they included in their pre-launch influencer boxes.

Send my freebie now!

How We Put Together the Overwhelmed Pre-Launch Influencer Boxes

We’d love to say that we had a systematic strategy for developing the list of items included in the influencer box.

The truth is that it all came together haphazardly organically.

We began brainstorming several months prior to the packing party. I (Cheri) commissioned an artist friend to draw the designs for the laminated Bible verse cards.

How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever |

And when I learned that she still had the hummingbird sketch that I’d written about in Chapter 6, I asked her to turn it into an oval design for a pendant.

How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever |

Kathi ordered the Yankee Candle Company votive candles early on, during a brainstorming conversation. Some sort of candle holder was an obvious need, thus the mason jars. When I realized the candles were called “Sun and Sea,” the idea came to include a little package of sand from my beach and tie them all together as the “least overwhelming craft project you’ll ever make.”

How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever |

Kathi then thought of putting little hang tags on everything to give the whole box a boutique feel.

The hourglass was a late addition. One of Kathi’s interns researched sand timers and showed us a picture of this one. We loved how the color of the sand matched the cover of the book but didn’t want to order 100 only to find out they were ugly. I decided to pay overnight shipping to see one in person.

How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever |

It was love at first sight. The hourglass turned out to be bigger and better than we hoped. Of all the items in the box, the hourglass is the one influencers exclaim the most over and post photos of on Facebook, complete with the reminder tag:

“Sometimes it’s time to work. Sometimes it’s time to rest. Both are valid.”

(We’ve ordered more to sell on our product tables, we love it so much!)

Why We Chose to Create Pre-Launch Influencer Boxes

Overwhelmed includes a variety of different topics. But we chose one key topic from the book as the over-arching theme of the launch:


Kathi expressed it best in her follow-up email:

Hopefully by now you’ve received our little box of California sunshine, but sun isn’t the only thing that we tried to bottle up. We hope that you feel a whole lotta love contained within that box as well.

Cheri and I appreciate you so.  For loving us, cheering us on, and really, just being our friends. We know how valuable that is.

We want nothing about our launch to overwhelm you (see what I did there?), BUT, if you’d like to be a part of helping your audience get out from overwhelmed, there is one simple thing you could do:

We would love to take over your blog for the day and love on your audience.

We would provide:

  • The post
  • A gift (a great downloadable PDF)
  • A couple of giveaways
  • Anything else you can think of? (We’re open to suggestions!)

All we need you to do is hit reply on this email and tell me a date in January that we could guest on your blog. We will take care of the rest.

Now what if you are overwhelmed with life and the thought of doing one.more.thing. will just put you in the corner, rocking back and forth?

Consider this your get out of obligation email. Really. Just wave to us from across the country, whisper a prayer for our release, and sit back and burn the candle we sent you and do some California Dreamin’. It would bring us joy to know that only the people who can host us, do host us.

You’ve played a role in this. Your love and encouragement have buoyed us when things have gotten hard. That’s why we want you to be part of the celebration.

The Response

Some people told us no. Most said yes. Both were exactly what we wanted. Only the people who

  1. Loved us
  2. Loved our book
  3. Had the time

had us on their blogs. No guilt. No obligation.

We loved delighting our friends and fellow authors with our influencer boxes, but there was also a business reason for sending them out:


When people received our boxes, they didn’t just burn the candle and say a silent prayer of thanks for their two friends, Kathi and Cheri. No.

  • They took pictures of the box and put them up on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • They read the book and talked about the principles contained in the chapters.
  • They created buzz.

Buzz can’t be measured on an Excel sheet, but we saw pre-orders go up on Amazon.

The boxes did double duty: they made our influencers feel special and made the book buzzy.

About Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering if it’s possible to move from “out of my mind” to “in control” when you’ve got too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships?

How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever |

Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don’t often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you’ll understand how to…

  • trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life
  • decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite
  • replace fear of the future with peace in the present

You can simplify and savor your life—guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.


If a product launch or book launch is in your future, you’ll definitely want to get this PDF, which includes the exact application Kathi and Cheri used for their launch team, plus a list of the contents (and cost) of each item they included in their pre-launch influencer boxes.

Send my freebie now!

Another Freebie!

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (that will only last for a week), how about creating a personal manifesto that will carry you through the rest of your life?

Get off the overwhelming cycle of making and breaking resolutions and create a gentle plan for lasting life change. Click the link to get How to Create Your Personal Manifesto from Kathi and Cheri.

(Note: This is a separate signup from the one directly above.)

Tweet It

Here are several ready-made tweets you can share on any social media channel. (Click the “click to tweet” link and then copy & paste the text into Facebook, LinkedIn, or wherever).

About the Authors

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker and the bestselling author of several books, including Clutter Free, The Husband Project, and The Get Yourself Organized Project. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four young adults. Visit

Cheri Gregory spends her weekdays teaching teens and weekends speaking at women’s retreats. She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Daniel, for more than 28 years. The Gregorys and their young adult kids, Annemarie and Jonathon, live in California. Visit

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23 responses to “How to Create the Least Overwhelming Book Launch Ever”

  1. Kathy Carlton Willis says:

    I love the way you gals think! Thanks for sharing your process with us. I can’t wait to read more and would love to win the giveaway!

  2. Your chances of winning are looking good so far, Kathy! Thanks for entering. I love their process, too, and am so grateful they shared it.

  3. Katherine Jones says:

    I’m taking notes! Book launch scheduled for September ’17…so especially grateful for these creative ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ooh, congrats on your upcoming book launch, Katherine. Cheri and Kathi have such creative minds; I love learning from them. You are officially entered in the contest (I saw your tweet).

  5. Judy A. Knox says:

    Thank you for sharing this. My first book launch was pretty disappointing, so I look forward to trying some of the things you did next time.

  6. Hi Judy! I agree; book launches can be challenging (I’ve managed many campaigns for clients and a few for my own books). I’m officially “retiring” from the book launch campaign side of my business and offering a new online course division instead. So, you could say I’m substituting book launches for online course launches.

    The key thing I’ve learned through this process is that building your email list is absolutely critical. Kathi and Cheri do a superb job of this. They not only build their list, but they are totally committed to cherishing their list members (many of whom become “influencers” and reviewers).

    People want to get noticed and feel valued. This principle hit home with me yesterday, when I received several emails from new subscribers. One person commented, “I sign up for a lot of freebies, but you’re the first person who asked me to introduce myself when you sent my freebie.”

    My top priority is to personally respond to every new subscriber who takes the time to introduce herself (or himself). I don’t try to sell them anything; it’s just a way to “virtually” start a relationship.

  7. What a gorgeous box! And such good ideas! Now I’m trying to think of how I can apply this to my next fiction launch… 🙂

  8. Stephanie, It is gorgeous! My pictures just didn’t do it justice.

    For a fiction launch, I suggest starting with a color scheme that reflects the colors on your book’s cover. Then brainstorm goodies to go in the box that incorporate that color scheme. I’m working with historical fiction author, Sarah Sundin, on a fiction launch. She writes WW II fiction. One of her giveaway items is an origami battleship (with instructions).

  9. RefreshMom says:

    This is very timely as I have a Christmas book releasing in September and I’m trying to figure out how to do the launch justice without completely giving up our family Christmas and traditions in the process!

  10. Carrie Turansky says:

    What wonderful, creative ideas! Thanks so much for sharing these with us!

  11. Carrie,

    They gave us lots of food for thought! Thanks for your comment.

  12. Oh, that’s a tricky one. The general public isn’t too excited about buying a Christmas book in September, but I know publishers release them early so they can get into bookstores by the time people are in a buying mood. That can mess with your holiday plans! I’m glad Kathi and Cheri shared how a holiday book launch CAN be done, while still reserving time for family and holiday festivities.

  13. Deb Kalmbach says:

    Thanks for this helpful information about book launching. I just launched a children’s book in October and I realize there’s so much more to learn. Thanks to Kathi and Cheri for their creative ideas. I’ll definitely refer to these next time!

  14. Deb,

    I particularly liked the application (free download) for people who are applying for the launch team. SO helpful! And I loved the list of products they purchased for their influencer boxes (also in the free download) and how much they paid for each. Doing a product launch can be EXPENSIVE if you don’t carefully research your giveaway items and buy them in bulk at bargain prices. Even postage to ship those boxes (their box was the size of a shoebox) can be spendy.

    I learn something new during every launch, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have it all figured out yet. I know that Kathi has published 16(ish) books, and I’m sure she’d tell you she is constantly learning and fine-tuning her book launch process.

  15. Judy A. Knox says:

    I need to learn more about how to build my email list. At the moment I’m not so interested in selling anything as in developing relationships.

  16. kristie says:

    Just found you on Instagram! Love your style and blog! Just tweeted! Now, going to FB you gals too! Awesome steps! Very unique and inviting throughout! Way to goooooo! Hugs,

  17. Thanks so much, Kristie. I saw your comment on Instagram. Thanks for tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagraming! Glad to have you as part of the Blogging Bistro community.

  18. Judy,

    Thanks for asking about building your email list. This is something I’ve been focusing on during the past year, but I haven’t written about it yet. Will put that on my list of blog posts to write. Any specific questions about how to build your list that you’d like me to address?

  19. Laura Bennet says:

    What an awesome, creative, helpful plan! I’m storing those ideas for my next launch – or even a re-launch 😉 Thank you!

  20. Laura Bennet says:

    I feel like I’ve followed all the components – website, blog, free material, call to action and people are adding to my blog list, but not my email list…?

  21. Laura,

    I’m glad you liked Kathi and Cheri’s ideas. Regarding your email list, what kind of system or service are you using to collect emails? Are you asking for an email address before you deliver some of your free material, like I did in this post?

  22. Laura Bennet says:

    I just started using Vertical Response. I really like it (Mail Chimp was too hard for me to navigate) and yes, I have them click the link to add them to my list and receive my free publication Take Your Life Forward.

  23. Congratulations to the winner of the “influencer box” giveaway contest, Katherine Jones.

    Katherine was selected via random number generator from among all the people who entered.

    So cool that Katherine has a book launch coming up in September — I hope the goodies in the influencer box inspire ideas for her own launch campaign.

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