Pre-Publication Marketing Timeline for Authors

On Lulu’s blog there’s been a lot of talk about the “how” of marketing (Pinterest, Blogging, Twitter, writing a press release, video chat, etc.) but little focus on the “when,” which is an equally important component of a successful book marketing campaign. So today we’ve got the basics for your very own marketing timeline.

If you want to do a deep dive into more involved marketing timelines, I suggest checking out this page from CoShedule. They specialize in scheduling and time management, and their page on creating a timeline really breaks it down. But note that they are looking at broad marketing plans, but specifically author marketing.

10–12 weeks out:

Do your research. Find blogs and media outlets that might want to review your book and compile a list of media contacts. Come up with a list of friends who can help spread the announcement of your publication and ask each one personally for support. When you reach out to contacts, offer them a free copy of your book, and ask for pre-publication quotes to be used in your book’s detail page at various online retailers.

Pro tip: Make the first chapter of your book available for free for anyone who might want to review your book or include it in a news article. You can do this by creating a free ebook on Lulu.com that includes just the first chapter of your book and contact details for press inquiries.

8–10 weeks out:

Draft your press release and any announcement emails you’re planning on sending out. Make sure to re-read them numerous times and get friends or family to proof them for you. Ensure that if you’ve not already done so, your Facebook page, Twitter and Pinterest account, and blog include up-to-date info on your upcoming book. Be sure that every update, post, announcement and release includes a direct link to where readers can pre-order your book. Now’s a great time to do a cover reveal on social media — unless, that is, you’re planning to work with a blogger for an exclusive reveal on someone else’s site.

6–8 weeks out:

Send your press release and start pitching bloggers. At this point in your marketing timeline, you may want to formally announce the release of your book online. When doing so, consider including a question on Twitter and Facebook to encourage engagement and make sure to provide a link where readers can pre-order your book. We know you already know, but double-check that landing page to make sure that your cover image, title, description and reviews are all up-to-date and grammatically correct.

4–6 weeks out:

Start thinking about adding “flair” to your social media. Launch week-by-week book giveaways and poll your fans or create extra content (a book playlist, an author interview, etc.) to generate excitement. If you’ve created a video trailer, announce its premiere date on your blog and then post it about four weeks out. As the one-month mark approaches, follow-up with bloggers and other media outlets if you’ve not yet heard back from them.

2–4 weeks out:

Post a teaser chapter to your blog — either all at once or split it up to tease out future buyers even longer. Announce winners of any giveaways or contests you’ve run and launch a final giveaway extravaganza (a book plus swag that relates to your book) to coincide with your book’s release date. Continue to make sure that that any good reviews and/or awards you receive are featured on your Lulu, Amazon, BN.com, etc. pages.

0–2 weeks out:

You’re in the homestretch! Be prepared, if you’ve done your research right, to be doing blog interviews, updating social media frequently about not only the book, but your excitement, and featuring content and giveaways to celebrate! However, on the day your book goes on sale, give yourself a break. Leave the computer behind and enjoy a breakfast/lunch/dinner out. You deserve it.

Remember, just because your book is out doesn’t mean your marketing efforts end. Continue to look for larger news opportunities to tie your book to, update your social media outlets and blog regularly so your community grows, and keep on top of awards you can submit your book for. More than anything, be creative, take risks, and, later on, hopefully reap the rewards.

5 thoughts on “Pre-Publication Marketing Timeline for Authors”

  1. Depending on the nature of the book, a well written online sales letter can also work wonders. It’s just a matter of having it rank for certain search words.

  2. I am the Principal of a Senior Secondary Public School in India. I have compiled real class room inspirational experiences of my teachers. It is already in the form of a book. How can I share it with others and keep the intellectual right of the idea ?
    I would like to express my best wishes and sincere thanks for such useful information available here.

    1. @Mamta – That sounds like a wonderful book. If you published through Lulu, you will keep all the rights to your work.

  3. great timeline article. This will help me as I have about 5 books written and have more in the works. This is a great resource. Good going. I am going to tell my daughter who has an English degree about this site and about Lulu in general.

    1. @Kathy – Thanks so much for the positive comments. I’m so glad to hear that you are finding this resource to be valuable.

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