There's no point in reinventing the wheel. How many times have you heard that line? I am forever trying to do things better, but I got caught up trying to reinvent the marketing wheel myself. I was such a bright eyed goober with my first release, blundering into every promotional opportunity I could find, especially the free ones. When book number two was released, I realised I'd made a colossal error. I hadn't kept track of things.
That's my topic today - keeping track of things. I recommend that writers, especially new ones, keep a generic time line of what to do when. Within that file, keep the addresses, the contact names, and the results if possible.
In case my meaning isn't clear, let's imagine a scenario where you book comes out in electronic format in March and print format in July. You have your cover and your galley before the book comes out, and you can't rest on your laurels. With each book you must make the rounds to let people know its out there. Develop your timeline of things based on your comfort level of activity. Here's a sample timeline I made up:
2 months before the book comes out: put your cover and release dates on your website
2 months out: schedule stops on virtual tour for both releases; write those posts now
2 months out: sign up for author days on Yahoo loops
2 months out: write up press releases for both electronic and print release
2 months out: if no ARCs, make some yourself and send to print reviewers
2 months out: see what conferences fit your release date and sign up, if feasible
1 month out: plan a contest to celebrate your book's release
1 month out: create an excerpt file, a list of snips from your book to use as teasers
1 month out: design and finalize promo items (bookmarks, chapbooks, etc)
1 month out: create a buzz about your book by putting the release date in your sig line
Electronic release: tell everyone! hold that contest! blitz the virtual tour sites
3 months before print release: send ARCs (publisher provided or homemade) to newspapers
3 months out: schedule the signings at stops on your book tour, book appearances locally
2 months out: talk up the release in your newsletter
2 months out: send out those promo items to generate buzz for your book
1 month out: post a pre-order link on your website
2 weeks before: reconfirm with book tour stops, chat the release up electronically
Print release: make those appearances
This is by no means exhaustive, and it will certainly be tailored to you and your schedule. Keep a list of those media contacts handy so that you can be successful with books 2, 3 and so on, without reinventing the wheel.
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