I notice patterns when talking to authors about their book marketing plans. Most dread the idea of having to promote their work, “I just want to write!” What they don’t realize is they had been promoting their work throughout our conversation they just didn’t see it that way. Anytime you are sharing information about your book (book promotion), asking me about my work (networking), posting on social media (platform), and so on, you are marketing. To me the bigger issue isn’t that authors are uncomfortable with promotion, it’s that it’s overwhelming.


Let’s face it, once you get a book published that makes you a rock star because that’s very difficult to do. So, really, you can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Here’s the second pattern I see. It’s not the actual marketing that gives authors anxiety, it’s that they waited too long to start and are overwhelmed by what to do and when. Below are some timeline suggestions to help you get organized. In the Author Posse newsletter and discussion groups we go into depth on the topics that are musts for every author (websites or building email lists for example). After you’ve covered your “musts”, do what you can with the rest, and after that, relax. You are working on marketing simply by reading this post (marketing research). Go you!

1 to 2 Years Out From Publication

  • Launch a website
  • Start a newsletter
  • Order business cards
  • Start your launch team
  • Social Media
  • Promote fellow authors
  • Write reviews for fellow authors
  • Network with indie bookstores, librarians, and teachers
  • Join relevant associations (SCBWI)

1 Year Out

  • Set a budget
  • Make a monthly marketing calendar
  • Make lists of opportunities for reviews, awards, lists, and bloggers
  • Make lists for book festivals and guest speaking opportunities
  • What will your publisher be doing – start the dialogue now
  • Develop an educator’s/reading guide or downloadable activity kit
  • Join a debut group (if this is your first books)
  • Plan your cover reveal
  • Solicit endorsements
  • Create a book trailer
  • Hire an intern
  • Join Author Posse if you haven’t yet

6 Months From Release

  • Create a press kit
  • Make a SWAG plan
  • Design SWAG once you have your cover
  • Interview book publicists
  • Release your cover
  • Develop an ARC release strategy
  • Plot out your book release tour
  • Set up author pages on Amazon, ect.
  • Promote preorders
  • Contact local press
  • Guest post on blogs
  • Set up media interview

 3 Months From Release

  • Send out ARC copies
  • Plan your launch party
  • Confirm author appearances
  • Develop a contest and giveaway strategy
  • Keep your eyes open for reviews of your book

1 Month From Release

  • Reconfirm author appearances
  • Finalize launch party plans
  • Work with your launch team

Book Launch Week/Day

  • Launch contest and give aways
  • Toast your success at a launch party
  • Designate a friend as photographer
  • Share everything on SM
  • Enjoy!

3 Months to 1 Year Post Release

  • Send thank you notes to everyone!
  • In person and online school visits
  • Library author visits
  • Bookstore author visits
  • Continue to guest blog and set up speaking opportunities
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