Six Month Launch Promotion Timeline for Print and eBook[1]

Traditional Pub: You’ve got from launch through six months for your book to take off, otherwise your books will be pulped and you’re done. You can do most of the items in this timeline, but the ones that require price changes you will have to do with your publisher.

New Pub: READ Hugh Howey’s “Author Earnings Report” (http://authorearnings.com/the-report/) for stats on online sales especially non-traditional. Sales are driven by the 5Rs: reviews, ratings, recommendations, rankings, and readers. Not sales and dollars. Result: you have all the time in the world. You can launch and re-launch. But, whenever you do it and however many times, make it count. Consider launching series in quick succession. Consider making first-in-series free, very quickly, to help the launch and ongoing sales of the later books.

L-3M (item and cost):

Ongoing: create opt-in email list: your time

Ongoing: promote others

Set goals; pick promotion activities to reach goal: your time.

Work with editor on book blurb/description: @2.5 cents per word

Identify book bloggers and advance reviewers: your time, consultant/publicist, or secure a blog tour like Pump Up Your Book (http://pumpupyourbook.com)

Identify major reviewers: your time

Finalize cover(s): cost of digital artist

Order ARCs: 25-100 books ($3-6/book w/shipping)

Research and enter appropriate contests: your time

Secure templates/samples for review requests, bookstore proposals, etc.: your time

If not already in place:

Design and create website: @$150 for webhosting service plus your time or hourly designer fee

Establish Facebook and Goodreads accounts (consider Twitter and LinkedIn, too): your time or hourly publicist or social media consultant fee

L-2M:

Mail “major” review requests: your time and supplies (include ARC and letter)

Send queries (Author Marketing Club (http://authormarkeingclub.com $105 for premier membership), book blogger sites following their instructions): same

Mail distribution proposals to chains (only if your book is available and fully returnable through Ingram/Lightning Source) and indies (consignment, usually): same

Obtain review quotes from betas/advance readers for book copy/marketing materials, if desired: your time

Start a Mailchimp (http://mailchimp.com) account, create a newsletter template, and collect and load contacts into Mailchimp: your time or hourly fee

Select site for launch party and begin planning: your time

Create bookmarks and other promotion pieces if desired: your time or digital artist

[Cadillac version: Consider/schedule AuthorBuzz/Shelf Awareness (http://authorbuzz.com), @$1550]

L-6W[2]:

Try to coordinate book bloggers in first month of your release: you time

Mail smaller publication (local) review requests: your time and supplies (include ARC and letter)

Set-up Goodreads giveaway: your time (runs for 30 days)

Order of bookmarks and any other desired early promotion materials: http://printrunner.com or http://vistaprint.com @10-15 cents apiece

[Coordinate with AuthorBuzz: your time]

L-4W:

Ongoing: Make corrections to your books: your time

Answer requests (always says yes to giveaways) of book bloggers (cover reveals, reviews, spotlights, guest posts, interviews, character interviews, ANYTHNG is good): your time

Schedule online promotions, like World Literary Cafe New Release (for a list, see Loser or The Kindle Book Review): $25-200 apiece, most are @$40

Launch party? Send “save the dates” Evite: your time

Schedule additional local events if desired (three to five weeks lead time), think outside the box: your time

L-2W:

Send announcements to alumnae and organizations of affiliation: your time and supplies (include ARC and letter)

Set up “events” for virtual launch (Facebook, Goodreads): your time

Set up “event” for real launch party: your time

Mail books to Goodreads winners with review requests: your time plus postage and supplies and one book

Prepare/Build robust Amazon author and book pages (may not be able to go “live” with Author page until book is “live): your time

L-1W:

Test enewsletter: your time

Go “live” with CreateSpace version: your time

Request posting of reviews from beta and advance review readers as soon as book page goes up: your time

If a member of Author Marketing Club, notify of new release: your time

L: Launch

eNewsletter to all your contacts concurrent with launch: your time

Press release concurrent with launch: your time or publicist

Media requests concurrent with launch (and ongoing for events): your time or publicist

Local event (bookstores, libraries, book clubs, writer groups) requests concurrent with launch (and ongoing): your time or publicist

Ongoing: Consider strategically placing “pay it forward” copies when you visit coffee shops, lobbies, or when you travel on airlines: your time and cost of book: your time

Ongoing: Promote contest wins, reviews, blogs posts, interviews, character interviews on social media and your blog: your time (and promote others; never say buy my book): your time

L+1M:

Ongoing: Research and contact book clubs sites/groups: your time

Ongoing: Never stop looking for reviewers; never say no to free copies for them: your time

Ongoing: Promote others: your time

Ongoing: Build superfans

[Cadillac: Mailout of gift copy to indie stores (can target by multiple criterion): cost of list, $10/package, your time]

L +2M:

KDP Select Free Days with promotion through BookBub, eReader News Today, Bargain ebook Hunter, Pixel of Ink and several others: $25-600 apiece, most are @$40; BookBub is the best (use KindleCountdown)[3]

Use social media to promote this and any success, too: your time

L+3M and ongoing:

[Cadillac: Consider AuthorBuzz ads (expensive, but effective) if book is showing signs of being successful: $1500]

[Cadillac: Mailout to libraries (can target geographically, tax deductible): cost of list, $10/package, your time]

[Cadillac: Mailout as waiting room copies at local doctor’s offices (requires research): $10/package, your time]

Nonfiction Considerations:

Harder to find book bloggers. Start earlier.

Harder to secure effective online promotions.

Author platform is key, which is your expertise and acclaim in your field. Measured by enewsletter subscribers, website traffic, speaking, publications, etc.

Build as much public speaking, conference appearances, and article writing into your plan as you can. Do it free. (Sell books at seminars and workshops).

Cultivate an “expert” relationship with media.

Provide review copies to professionals in the field you’ve written on.

[1] If you are concurrently doing an audiobook, you’ll want to select a narrator (probably through http://acx.com) six months before, leaving three months for recording, one month for proofing and corrections, and one month for ACX processing. They send you coupon codes for giveaways to help you promote/get reviews.

[2] For later releases in your career, consider releasing pre-orders at some point one to three months before launch, using Smashwords for Kobo, Apple, Google Play and Barnes and Noble and moving promotion activities up one month. The advantage of pre-orders is they all “drop” on launch day, which has a positive effect on your initial sales rank. Or not :-).

[3] I’ve assumed debut books, which I think do best exclusive to Kindle, but for later books, I choose wide distribution and thus would not do KDP Select Free Days but instead would, as soon as I had 30+ 4.0-star rated reviews or better, try for BookBub, which is currently the best place to promote online sales, bar none, and the only place I’ve found that drives Nook and iBook sales, too.

 

10006025_10152294921092604_1598429323_oPamela Fagan Hutchins, President of Houston Writers Guild, is an employment attorney and workplace investigator by day who by night writes award-winning and bestselling romantic mysteries (Saving Grace, Leaving Annalise, Finding Harmony) and hilarious nonfiction (How to Screw Up Your Kids, What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes?, and others). She is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start. Visit her website http://pamelahutchins.com, or follow her on Facebook http://facebook.com/pamela.fagan.hutchins.author.

 

 

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