Thursdays with Amanda: Book Release Marketing Timeline
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!
Thanks for the post. Preparing to release your baby to the public seems like such a daunting task. Proper planning makes it seem less daunting.
This is SO helpful! Can you explain what a media kit looks like?
This is a great rundown, Amanda — thanks! What are your thoughts on working with someone to organize blog tours (as long as they help with researching viable sites instead of doing some sort of cookie-cutter tour)? I’ve seen prices all over the place for the service so don’t know what would be considered reasonable.
It’s a question of cost versus time. It’s not like a job such as this is difficult…it’s just time-consuming. So I think the question is “How valuable is your time?” Prices really do vary, because you could hire a college student to provide 50 blogs in exchange for $50. But marketers will want to be paid by the hour. Personally, I’d want to be in control of finding my own blogs, but that’s just me.
Amanda, Could you explain a Twitter party? I haven’t heard that before. Maybe I missed it in one of you posts.
I talked about this a few month ago, Karen. Check out our archives section, and you can do a search for “Twitter Parties.”
Amanda, you’re always so helpfu 🙂 This really seems overwhelming, but I guess, once you’re in it and are more familiar, it doesn’t feel that way? I’m just looking forward to having the chance to implement all this stuff! lol
It is overwhelming, Donna, and it’s a big time commitment And honestly, that’s why so many books don’t end up with solid releases. The authors get overwhelmed, they start backing off or letting other life things get in the way, and the book gets ignored. But it’s SO important to follow through. Yes, it’s a huge commitment but it’s worth it.
Super helpful, Amanda! Thanks so much! -Raj
Awesome layout of details here, Amanda! One question is about the cover art thing…doesn’t Amazon put up the cover art for your book long before 2 weeks before your release? Just curious.
Also, what are your thoughts on blog tours? I know I’ve seen authors show up on numerous blogs, but it seems that most of them are frequented by the same people. Is it just important then to diversify? How do you do that? Maybe this is a whole other blog post…hehe.
Good questions! Yes, the publisher will post your book cover on the retail sites LONG before it releases. The temptation, then, is to show it to everyone. I think it’s best to leave it alone until right before your release. Otherwise, it feels like old news. And in today’s society, no one has the patience to wait what could be 6 months before a book comes out!
I don’t recommend hopping on the blog tour circuits that are in place, but rather creating your own by researching blogs that are written by people who fit your readership. Even if the blog has like 100 followers, it’s worth it, because those 100 followers are probably VERY interested in what the blogger has to say.
Thanks for posting this! For those of us early in the author’s journey, it’s extremely helpful. Certainly beats walking in circles, wringing my hands. 😉
Amanda, this is awesome! 🙂