Six Month Launch Promotion Timeline for Print and eBook
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
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]
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)
[Coordinate with AuthorBuzz: your time]
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
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
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
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
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]
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)
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]
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.
 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.
 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 :-).
 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.
Pamela 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.