Before Your Book is Released
Gather your resources.
Holding a copy of your book for the first time is exciting! Celebrate this significant milestone and use the excitement surrounding the event to maintain momentum for the next phase of marketing your book.
Develop your book’s media hook.
Sometimes called the “elevator pitch,” this is the two minute speech you would give to get media outlets interested in featuring your book. Above all, make sure your pitch is brief, clear and unique. Don’t just talk about your book, but make sure you talk about the topic of your book in your pitch. Be sure to convey something about your book that would make a compelling article or feature for that media outlet.
Plan your book launch event.
One of the key elements of your marketing plan should be a book launch event. This is a way to generate interest and start the grassroots promotion of your book. Launch parties also provide an outlet for you to sell your book directly to people and meet potential readers. If done correctly, it may even be a way to gain valuable media attention.
Be creative in your planning and location. Tie it in to the theme or subject of your book. Consider whether an intimate, invitation-only event or a more public launch party is the right approach for you, your book and your target audience.
Perhaps most importantly: don’t forget to have fun. Publishing a book is an accomplishment. Take pride in your achievement and enjoy sharing the special moment with others. Plus, your upbeat attitude and excitement can be infectious, inspiring friends, family, members of the media and other attendees to spread the word about your book following the event.
“One of the key elements of your marketing plan should be a book launch event.”
Identify venues for book signings.
Most bookstores and libraries will welcome authors who are interested in speaking or holding book signings, but they will want to plan for them in advance. So even before your book is available, make contact with locations you think would host a book signing. However, do not set a date until your book is available for purchase.
Conventional locales such as libraries, bookstores and even coffee shops aren’t the only places an author can host events. A writer of historical fiction might consider a local museum; a spa might be a good fit for self-help authors; and many places of worship will welcome a variety of books with inspiring messages. Opportunities abound for those willing to think outside the box and ask the right people.
Build your mailing list.
When it comes time to invite people to your events, you will want to have a quick and easy list you can use to distribute announcements. Prepare that list now, and be sure to accommodate for both e-mail and regular mail. Do not share the list with others, and blind carbon copy (bcc) – rather than using the to field or the carbon copy (cc) field – all e-mail addresses when you send out a message to your entire list of e-mail contacts.
Remember to add to the list as you continue marketing. At events, provide a sign-up sheet so that people can provide their name, e-mail and mailing address if they like. Include the same opportunity on your website. Always give people a simple way to unsubscribe or opt out of print and digital communications too. While this may shorten your list, it will ensure you are speaking to the most engaged audience and using your time and money wisely.
Send your book launch invitations.
When you approve your galley copy at the end of the publishing production process, send out your book launch event invitations (print and electronic) and include local members of the media in your guest list. Be sure that your venue can accommodate the number of guests you have invited before you send out the invites.
On your invites, include a phone and e-mail address through which guests can RSVP. This will help you determine the amount of food and beverages to have available—it is a party, after all. Even if your venue doesn’t allow food and drinks to be served, you’ll still want to know how many people to expect at the event. That way you can be sure to have enough copies of your book and any promotional materials you want to distribute.
Refine your marketing plan, calendar and budget.
Sustained effort and constant evaluation are keys to an effective book marketing campaign. Based on the framework you created before, continue to polish your plan as you learn more and make strides in achieving your goals.