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Promotion Checklist

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 23, 2012

Have you sold a book and now you’re panicking about what to do? Does the thought of book promotion strike terror into your writer’s heart? Here are some guidelines to get you started on the road to self-promotion. Always remember to be courteous, to avoid clogging the loops/tweets with your constant pronouncements, and to comment on other people’s posts in return. Don’t feel obligated to do everything mentioned here. Pick and choose what works best for you.

IMMEDIATELY UPON SIGNING CONTRACT:

Send press release to local newspapers and trade magazines. Copy any feature articles that result to editor and agent.
Send notices to alumni newsletters and professional organizations.
Solicit advance reviews/quotes from other authors.
Get professional photo taken or update photo.
Reserve your domain name or the domain name of your new series.
Announce the news on your website, blog, listserves, and social networks.
Send an email newsletter announcing the sale to all your mailing lists.
Post excerpts to raise interest.

4-6 MONTHS PRIOR TO PUB DATE:

Send galleys/ARCs/pdf copies to reviewers after making personal contact.
Reserve ad space in online or print sites.
Offer to write articles in trade magazines for issues matching pub date.
As soon as you get your book cover art, order business cards, printed promo materials, and swag.
Design video trailer.
Solicit booksignings and speaking engagements at writers groups, community clubs, conferences, and libraries.
Add cover and blurb to your online sites.
Design contests for the next few months leading up to Release Day.
Solicit blog tour hosts and determine topics.
Look for niche marketing opportunities.

2 MONTHS AHEAD:

Send press release with signing dates to local newspapers.
Load video trailer and add links to all your sites.
Update mailing lists. Send email newsletter to booksellers and librarians.
Write all the blogs for your virtual tour and match topics with hosts. Post your schedule online.
Determine upcoming contest prizes and giveaways.
Decide what to do for a book launch party.
Send promo materials to conferences for goody bags or promo tables.

1 MONTH AHEAD:

As soon as the book appears for pre-order online, add the buy link to all your sites.
Add the book to Goodreads and post giveaway.
Create a “Meet the Author” poster for book events.
Set Google alert for title.
Verify dates with booksellers/conference organizers for events and check that books will be in on time.
Send email newsletter to readers, including signing dates.
Send copies of book reviews, feature articles, and promo schedule to editor/publicist. Remember to promote yourself to your publisher.

RELEASE DAY!

Have a party, run contests and giveaways, offer a Q&A session, and celebrate!

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Time, budget, and energy are considerations when planning your promotional campaign. Choose what’s reasonable for you to accomplish, and remember that family takes priority, writing comes next, and all else is a bonus. The above suggestions aren’t written in stone. Some items you may be able to do sooner and some may come later. You’ll eventually work out your own rhythm. Do as much or as little as is comfortable at your level, and good luck!

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28 Responses to “Promotion Checklist”

  1. traciella said

    as usual, you are organized and right on the money!

  2. Great list, Nancy! My release date is October 8th, and I’m working with an agressive publicist, as well as an enthusiastic publisher … but there is still not enough time in the day it seems. Your list helped me to remember to get busy on the launch! Or at least start thinking about it. Thanks again! I always enjoy your posts. http://www.pamelakingcable.com

  3. Thanks for visiting, Diane!

  4. Jacqueline Seewald said

    As usual, a very helpful blog! Tami Hoag is one of my favorite authors too. You’ll have to tell us all about it!

  5. Triss Stein said

    This is really helpful and perfectly timed for me. I just sent the signed contract back to Poisoned Pen, the book will out in February and I know have to get to work.Thank you!

  6. Nancy… this is a FABULOUS list!! I love it. Have filed it away and will tell everyone I know to check it out. Thank you for sharing.

  7. This is a great entry. If I were half as organized as I like to pretend I am I’d adopt at least twenty-five percent of your suggestions and become a one hundred percent better-selling author – but mathematics were never my strong point.

    I’ve Tweeted this – (yes, old farts do know how to Tweet) – and will do what I can to spread the word.

  8. Very useful–I’ll keep it in my writing business file! One note to authors, though: many publishers do not want you to post excerpts before the final edits are done. You should check with them on their policy before you post.

    • Point taken about excerpts, but I’m only talking about a few paragraphs here, not an entire chapter. And the author could state it’s from the unedited version. I’m waiting until the month before my new release to post excerpts.

  9. PJ Sharon said

    I am printing this out! Thanks for the run down. I blogged today at the Secretsof7scribes about promotion, what’s hot and what’s not in the market today. If you don’t mind, I’ll cross reference your blog here. Excellent information.

  10. I will be very out of practice when I need to do all of this again. But I’ll know where to go to refresh my memory! Thanks for such an organized list!

    • Things change so rapidly in this industry that what works now might not be valid in a few months! It seems like yesterday that I was talking about doing mailouts of postcards to booksellers. Those days are over.

  11. Great advice, especially for newer authors. Good post, Nancy.

  12. Hywela Lyn said

    Thanks Nancy, great information, and it’s great to have a timeline. Wish I’d had all this for my first release!

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