Your book is written. It has been edited, gone through layout and is on its way to the printer. Your job as an author is done, right? Not exactly. When it comes to marketing and promoting your book, your job is just getting started.
For some authors, this is where panic kicks in. Writing a book was difficult enough, but now they (and their publisher) have to get people to actually read it. Where does an author begin?
This is perhaps the most common question I get from authors. At Tate Publishing, there is a three month time period between the time the book goes to print until its actual release date. Many authors aren't quite sure what they should do during that period of time.
Actually, this is a great time to "hit the ground running" and get things set up for the launch of your book! In fact, it's a great time to make sales and build word-of-mouth about the book before it's actually released.
Here are five things every author should do prior to the release date for their book:
1. Get a web site. I can't stress this one enough. Every author that wants to be taken seriously as an author should have their own web site. Your publisher may be able to build one for you, or you can hire someone to build one for you. It should look professional, have information about you, your book, your upcoming book signing events (if you have any yet) and a link where readers can place orders for your book. I recommend including a sample chapter of your book somewhere on your web site. This is also a good time to get some promo materials for your book, like bookmarks, business cards, posters, etc.
2. Get social. Now it's time to let your readers know about your web site and your book. You should have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, at a minimum. Update these at least two to three times per week.
3. Friends and family. You probably have dozens of email addresses for friends, family and acquaintances. These are people you want to invite to your book signing events, and you also want to shoot out a pre-release email letting them know your book is available, or will be available soon.
4. Pre-release events. If you are able to get pre-release copies of your book (not all publishers offer this), you can start generating sales right away. Although you haven't hit your book's release date yet, you can set up consignement events at local independent bookstores, libraries, coffee shops, church bookstores, book fairs and festivals, and during speaking engagements for local civic organizations and book clubs. The more events, the better. You're trying to get copies of your book out there to build some "buzz" before your book is released.
5. Review copies. You'll also want to send out some review copies to book review bloggers, your alumni newsletter, and some traditional media book reviewers. The reason you want to do this prior to the release date is it is competitive to get reviews, and it may take awhile to rack up a few. Also, the reviewers need time to read your book and write their review. Ask the reviewers if they will also post their reviews on your book's listing at Amazon after the book's release date. Most do.
And a few "Don'ts":
DON'T start trying to line up media interviews and articles about your book with your newspapers, TV, and radio. Your book hasn't been released yet, remember? If someone hears about your book from one of these sources before it's released, they won't find it at Amazon or be able to get it from any bookstore. Save this for the release date
DON'T call bookstores and ask them to stock your book. Again, your book hasn't been released yet, and the bookstore can't order your book from the distributor. This is why I suggested consignment sales at the local independent stores.
DON'T forget to keep in touch with your publisher about any events you have lined up for yourself. They can help by sending out press releases to help promote your events and they'll likely post them to their web site, too.