Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her book on author marketing, The Extroverted Writer, releases March 15.
In the months leading up to a book release, I oftentimes find authors doing one of two things. (1) They’re sitting at home, waiting for their edits to come in or waiting to see the cover art or waiting for the ARCs. Or (2) they’re panicking, because they know they should be doing SOMETHING. They just don’t know what.
So at the request of one of our wonderful readers, here’s a snapshot of what you should be doing as you approach your book’s release. Remember! This isn’t set in stone, and because each marketing plan is different, there needs to be lots of flex room. Also, things are bound to happen to put you off course. But don’t worry about it. Stay flexible. Stay committed, and you’ll be fine.
BOOK RELEASE TIMELINE (FOR PRINT BOOKS)
6-8 months before release: Write up your marketing plan and compare it to that of your publisher. You want the two plans to build off one another as opposed to going in opposite or duplicate directions. For example, you may have plans to put a media kit together only to find out that your publisher will be doing that as well. In that case, you could simply ask them to send you 25 kits or so.
6 months before release: Begin gathering your info. Your marketing plan may include hitting up blogs, speaking at schools or businesses, launching a new website, asking for reviewers, and more. Now is the time to begin research on those things, which can include Googling reader blogs, compiling a list of potential speaking opportunities, talking with various web designers/builders, etc.
6 months before release: Begin scheduling your speaking engagements and appearances. Because your book release may still change, you want to schedule these events to take place roughly 2 weeks after the projected launch of your book.
4 months before release: Begin any new design projects (author photos, websites, social media, print items, shareable images to communicate giveaways and appearances, etc).
3-4 months before release: Finalize any guest blogging, blog tours, radio appearances, speaking engagements, or reviews/endorsements you may be pursuing. Basically, at this point you’re trying to wrap up and finalize any efforts that include other people.
2 months before release: Create a marketing calendar, so that you know what you’re doing EVERY DAY for the first two months your book releases. This may include drafting Tweets and Facebook statuses and planning out your giveaways (though giveaways may need to be worked on earlier in the process as they many times include cooperation from blogs, etc.)
1 month before release: Make sure your social media and online sites are ready to go.
2 weeks before release: Leak the cover art to your book.
0-1 week before launch: Start up and begin promoting your giveaway.
Launch day: Start your Twitter and Facebook (social media) campaigns.
0-2 weeks after launch: You want to be as many places as you can at once. This means having a giveaway while simultaneously hosting a few Twitter parties while simultaneously doing a few blog hops while simultaneously getting on radio/podcasts. You also want to start inviting people to your in-person events.
2-4 weeks after launch day: Maintain your online momentum while also adding in readings, appearances, speaking engagements.
5+ weeks after launch: Host more giveaways and social media campaigns, using special offers as a draw (for example, offer free discussion guide PDFs or other items in exchange for users Tweeting, Facebooking, etc., about you).
And as much as you can, begin the cycle all over again.
I feel as though I’ve forgotten a few things, so feel free to chime in!