Five Book Marketing Initiatives to Execute Before Your Publication Date

by Corinne Moulder, Director of Business Development, Smith Publicity

Creating a well-rounded plan for book marketing before your publication date is a critical step. Here is how you can set your book apart from millions of other authors vying for attention.

Here are five marketing initiatives to carry out before your book release date:

  1. Website development: Consider your author/book website your home base. This is your virtual business card. Thus, your site is where readers, reviewers, media, and fans will turn to for more information. Navigation bar must-haves include:

    About the Book
     – where visitors can read a story synopsis, see the book cover, sample an excerpt, locate purchasing information, etc.;

    About the Author
     – includes your bio, photo, relevant personal information, contact information, writing inspiration, etc.;

    In the News
     – a tab where you can keep a running list of coverage of you and/or your book;

    Social Media
     – makes it easy for visitors to connect with you by providing direct links to your social media profiles;Blog/Newsletter – one of the best ways to keep readers coming back long after they’ve read your book. Therefore, continually offer new content through your blog! You may also capture your fans’ email addresses by offering an informational newsletter to which visitors can subscribe; andContact – make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you!Bonus website tip: Include easy purchasing links on every page of your website. Indeed, making it easy for visitors to buy your book, wherever they are on your site, is imperative.
  2. Social media: Establish your social media presence in advance of your book launch. Hence, we recommend a minimum of one to three months. This enables you to grow an authentic following before your book hits the market. As a result, you create potential buyers who are anticipating the on-sale date!Take time to discover your social media “voice.” Identify what kind of information and content you’ll post that relates back to your book and/or message.Engage with your audience. Accordingly, take the time to comment and respond to your followers’ questions and discussion points. Don’t be a salesperson!Your social media content should be composed of 70% discussion (prompts, reposts, news sharing, etc.) and 30% your book.Lastly, don’t stretch yourself too thin! You don’t have to be present on every social network. If you’re new to social media or have limited time, choose one platform and become an expert.
  3. Tap into your personal network: Compile a list of names/emails from your personal network—colleagues, relatives, friends, community contacts, etc. Without delay, distribute an announcement several months in advance of the publication date.Since you know these people on a more intimate level, share some personal experiences/insights. Relate back to your book. Additionally, reveal your writing inspiration. Share the reality of the publishing process. Alternatively, create a cover contest.Include links to your website and social media profiles. Thus, make it easy for them to connect with you and share with their own networks.Once the book is released, send a brief follow-up publication announcement. Thank your network for their support and for considering purchasing your book (include a link!).Lastly, include a note to encourage people to share a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads if they read it and like it!
  4. Learn media/reviewer lead times: To give yourself the best chance of securing book-centric reviews around the launch of your book and thereafter, you need to know the proper timelines for submission.Glossy, monthly magazines (i.e. Cosmo, Men’s Health), book trade publications (i.e. Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal), and book reviewers at major newspapers (NYT, Washington Post) require book submission four+ months in advance of the publication date.National TV and radio producers appreciate notice of an upcoming release roughly two months in advance of the publication date.Local media—which includes print and broadcast—work on a one to two-month lead time.Online news media, online book reviewers, and influential genre bloggers also appreciate a one to two-month advance notice.Please note that lead times vary from outlet to outlet. If you have a list of outlets you most desire, be sure to review the submission guidelines well in advance of the publication date.
  5. Create your editorial calendar: Does your book make a great holiday gift? Is the main character in your book autistic? Is there a military theme to your thriller?Before you publish your book, take the time to determine the different angles and hooks that may tie into particular seasons, holidays, awareness months, social issues, etc. By doing so, you have a year-long calendar of established tie-ins. Then, taking into consideration the media/reviewer lead times. You can shape an editorial calendar to prompt you to pitch appropriate outlets/contacts when the time is right!

Good luck with your upcoming book!  Give us a call if you need additional information.

Smith Publicity is the most prolific book marketing and book promotion agency in the publishing industry. Since 1997, the firm has promoted thousands of books from every genre, from self-published to traditional published New York Times bestselling books.

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