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I had an interesting conversation with a veteran publicist yesterday who told me an interesting fact: a large percentage of authors that have come to her seeking book PR help over the years do so within the final one or two months before the book is published.

Big mistake.

Launching a book is a complex challenge (especially if it’s your first), and building the proper strategy, networks, and infrastructure require a lot of time. Here’s a rough list of the things you need to do before you’re ready to start:

  • Finish your manuscript
  • Design a compelling cover that will sell to your target audience
  • Develop outreach materials to seek endorsements for the book
  • Reach out and secure endorsements from individuals with clout in your genre
  • Hire a publicist or firm to help you get media attention
  • Build your online platform (blog, facebook, etc) for launch
  • Build a compelling website that effectively sells your book
  • Coordinate with your publisher to make sure that the book is being promoted to proper booksellers
  • Develop and implement a marketing and advertising strategy
  • Write marketing copy and distribute it to your promotional partners
  • Organize a book tour (virtual or actual)
  • Get media training so that your interviews are effective, clear, and compelling
  • Get out there and promote your book!

This is just a rough, list and there are hundreds of other “sub-tasks” that can make this list pretty daunting. And for most authors, you have to pull all of this off while continuing your “day job,” which means you have only a small amount of time each week to keep this process moving.

So how long in advance should you start? It’s hard to say exactly, but in my experience one year is not too early, and six months is definitely too late. The exact timing will depend on your resources (financial and personnel), your time, and your ambitions.

It’s human nature to procrastinate and underestimate how long things will actually take. So a good rule of thumb is that you will need to start your campaign at least 25% earlier than you think you should.

My friend and colleague, Jane Wesman, who is one of the most experienced and savvy book publicists I know, recently shared some great advice for authors who are gearing up for, or in the middle of, their book launches. It’s so helpful that I wanted to share it with my network as well. 

Here is her advice:

I had an interesting conversation with a veteran publicist yesterday who told me an interesting fact: a large percentage of authors that have come to her seeking book PR help over the years do so within the final one or two months before the book is published.

Big mistake.

Launching a book is a complex challenge (especially if it’s your first), and building the proper strategy, networks, and infrastructure require a lot of time. Here’s a rough list of the things you need to do before you’re ready to start:

  • Finish your manuscript
  • Design a compelling cover that will sell to your target audience
  • Develop outreach materials to seek endorsements for the book
  • Reach out and secure endorsements from individuals with clout in your genre
  • Hire a publicist or firm to help you get media attention
  • Build your online platform (blog, facebook, etc) for launch
  • Build a compelling website that effectively sells your book
  • Coordinate with your publisher to make sure that the book is being promoted to proper booksellers
  • Develop and implement a marketing and advertising strategy
  • Write marketing copy and distribute it to your promotional partners
  • Organize a book tour (virtual or actual)
  • Get media training so that your interviews are effective, clear, and compelling
  • Get out there and promote your book!

This is just a rough, list and there are hundreds of other “sub-tasks” that can make this list pretty daunting. And for most authors, you have to pull all of this off while continuing your “day job,” which means you have only a small amount of time each week to keep this process moving.

So how long in advance should you start? It’s hard to say exactly, but in my experience one year is not too early, and six months is definitely too late. The exact timing will depend on your resources (financial and personnel), your time, and your ambitions.

It’s human nature to procrastinate and underestimate how long things will actually take. So a good rule of thumb is that you will need to start your campaign at least 25% earlier than you think you should.

My friend and colleague, Jane Wesman, who is one of the most experienced and savvy book publicists I know, recently shared some great advice for authors who are gearing up for, or in the middle of, their book launches. It’s so helpful that I wanted to share it with my network as well. 

Here is her advice:

1

The Media Is Hungry For Relevant Stories

We are experiencing tremendous interest from the media for relevant stories and advice from authors and other experts. In addition to obtaining coverage for clients on dozens of websites, blogs, podcasts, radio, and television shows, we are helping with their social media, more than ever. 

2

Social Media And Video Chats Are Powerful

After asking for advice about how to begin, one author recently told us that she’s become “addicted” to posting on social media. She explained that researching, writing, and publishing a book is a three to five-year form of delayed gratification, while social media gratification is instantaneous.

What an interesting observation from a writer – and something we want to share with all authors. Social media is a fantastic way to promote your book, now that people are home and glued to their screens. We are also helping clients set up video book launches on Facebook Live and Zoom as well as finding other methods to spread the word about their work.

3

Tap Your Network To Amplify Your Message

In addition, we’ve found that tapping your network to amplify coverage is more effective than ever. Whether you’d like your alumni magazine to review your book; your friends to share your social media posts; or your business colleagues to write endorsements, people have become extremely generous with their time. So reach out to your network and ask for help.

4

Stay Healthy And Safe

In closing, please take good care of yourself and your family. If you have any questions about book marketing or simply want to catch up, I would love to hear from you.

 

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