Nine Strategies for Book Promotion Timing
by Mary Ellen Stepanich, Ph.D.
While browsing through posts on the LinkedIn book marketing group, I stumbled upon a website I hadn’t seen before – it’s BuildBookBuzz and it provides do-it-yourself book marketing tips and tools.
The topic of the article I read focused on the timing of the book promotion, citing the mistakes many authors make. They wait until their book is printed and boxes of them are stacked in a corner of the bedroom before they think about promoting that book. Big mistake! An author needs to develop these strategies at least six months before the book is available.
There are nine things an author should be doing as soon as that first draft is finished so as to lay the groundwork for a successful book launch months later. Briefly, here is the list:
- Learn as much as you can about book publicity and promotion, even if you hire a publicist. Get smarter by reading a book or taking a course.
- Research your target audience. In other words, picture the person who is most likely to buy your book, the one individual who best represents someone who will love your book. Picture her as your audience “avatar.”
- When you know which social networks your audience uses, build a following on those networks. For example, the novel I’ve just drafted features a women’s barbershop quartet as amateur protagonists, so I’ll be focusing marketing efforts on Sweet Adelines International social networks.
- Connect with bloggers. Virtual book tours are common and popular elements of online book launches. A virtual book tour asks bloggers to share content related to your book on their blogs, perhaps even a Q&A and an audio or video interview.
- Build an e-mail list. Send an e-mail announcing your book. Also, add yourself to the lists of successful authors to see how they’re doing it. Warning! For anything other than a one-time announcement, you must get permission to add someone’s name to your list.
- Compile a list of “key influencers.” Who is the most influential with your target audience? Gather contact information and ask those folks for a book blurb or an endorsement you’ll use on sales pages and on the book cover when it’s published.
- Create your book launch media list. These are the media outlets that are most likely to review your book and to whom you’ll send review copies and book announcement press releases.
- Create a Facebook Page. While Facebook pages for authors are not as effective as those for other types of businesses, they are useful to solicit opinions on your book’s topic, to share progress updates, and perhaps ask fans to vote on cover options.
- Add your book title to your e-mail signature. It’s easy – just type your book’s title after the word “Author.”
Follow these strategies and you’ve got an audience waiting to read your story as soon as it’s ready.
Dr. Mary Ellen Stepanich is a retired professor of organizational behavior who always told her students at Purdue, “I’m very organized, but my behavior is a bit wonky.” She has published articles in academic journals (boring), show scripts for barbershop choruses and quartets (funny), and an award-winning radio play, “Voices from the Front,” for Sun Sounds of Arizona (heartrending). Mary Ellen lives in Peoria, Arizona, with her cat, Cookie, and blogs on her website, MaryEllenStepanich.com.