I've been around literally thousands of book publishing projects, and in one respect, they're mostly the same.
They're the same in that the focus is on the launch, on the first week, or two weeks, or maybe a month.
How do we get shelf space and reviews and hoopla? How do we pile up the pre-sales and endorsements and wonderful recommendations? You even hear of authors tweaking the number of words per page or publicists trading people off against one another just to guarantee an early pop.
While this makes sense for the movies, where week 1 determines how many screens you get for week 2, it makes a lot less sense in the land of infinite shelf space that is the online bookstore. Movies get kicked out of first run theater release (and then end up in all-you-can-eatville, Netflix), but a book (and the project you're about to launch, as well) have a halflife measured in years or decades, not days.
The problem with a great launch strategy is it just might sabotage your real goal, which is a project that lasts. The risk of changing your product or service so that it launches well is that you may end up changing it into something that doesn't hold up.
Let's be clear–the product is more than ever the marketing. The danger kicks in when the marketing focus is so weighted toward the launch that we end up changing the product to serve that goal.
Not just books, of course. Google launched slow. So did just about every successful web service. And universities. And political movements…
Every day, I get letters from people who found The Icarus Deception at just the right moment in their careers. It has opened doors for people or given them the confidence to keep going in the face of external (and internal resistance). It's a book for the long haul. I didn't put a brand new secret inside, holding back for the sensational launch. Instead, I tried to create a foundation for people willing to do a better (and scarier) sort of work.
It doesn't happen on launch day… it happens after people hear an interview or read your book or try your product. One day. Eventually. When you plan for 100 days instead of one, that graceful spread is more likely to happen.