Timeline for Marketing a Book

For over 20 years I have watched authors blindly stumble from manuscript to published book and then wonder why they aren’t making sales. Probably no one, besides friends and family know about your book. And a common mistake has happened. There is not enough money for professionally producing the book and for marketing. Investment of time or money is required in building any business. Your book can be a key to creating a thriving business. So what is your choice, make a business based on your book, or enjoy seeing the book on your shelf for posterity?

Like any business planning is required. Below is my suggested outline for marketing a book and building a business. There are so many more options to market your book than what I have included here: blog tours, online meetups, catalogues, mass mailings, book fairs etc. A publicist like myself can help you sort through all the steps. (watch for a new article about why to hire a publicist).

  1. Make sure your book is as professionally produced as possible – use editors, proofreaders, interior designers and cover designers. And if that seems overwhelming hire a publicist to be your book shepherd.
  2. 6-8 months before you have finished the book you will need to build a social media platform activated with blogs, posts and engagements. Whether it’s twitter, FB or Instagram start becoming known.
  3. 1 year before publication you will know who is your competition; books similar to yours. Or who is your ally and have contacted them for an endorsement, an offer to work together etc.
  4. 5 months before you have finished the book you will have a website created and developed. You will be publishing a newsletter or have a way to capture emails so your email list will be growing.
  5. 5 months before publication you will be starting to send out announcements to your family, friends and acquaintances. You will continue to do this at least monthly.
  6. 4-5 months before publication you will have hired a publicist to help you develop a marketing plan, create a media kit and coordinate your current marketing efforts.
  7. 4-5 months before publication you will be sending out Advanced Reader Copies (ARC’s) for endorsements, testimonials and securing fans.
  8. 4 months before publication you will be mailing out media kits and ARC’s to pre-publication magazines.
  9. 3 months before publication you will begin setting up speaking engagements, book signings and webinars.
  10. 2-3 months before publication you will begin securing radio and TV interviews and sending ARC’s out to magazines of your choice.
  11. 1 month before any events you will be contacting local media, radio, newspapers, community organizations, creating meet-ups to promote the events. You can use each mention to gain more coverage. Or hire a publicist if you haven’t already.
  12. 1 month before the launch you will be coordinating your events, meetups, and publicity for the events.
  13. 1 month before the launch you will review what efforts are producing results, and which opportunities need more effort.
  14. All throughout the campaign you will be making special offers – a free eBook in exchange for a review, a free printed book for those creating meetups or promoting you on their network.
  15. Once the book is launched you will be soliciting reviews for Amazon and Goodreads. You will also continue to set up speaking engagements, radio interviews and local media coverage.

When you do all of the above well you will have created a thriving business for you, as well as making sales of your book. And you will not be stressed, lost and confused. Hire a publicist today, you will be more effective and successful as a result.

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