Post by Author Arielle Haughee
A Step-by-Step Book Marketing Timeline
Often when writers hear marketing, they turn and run screaming. Well, maybe not literally, but the word definitely causes anxiety for many. Questions abound: What do I do? When? How do I do it? How much time will it all take? Do I have to? Here is a quick answer: You will get out of marketing what you put into it. No marketing, no sales. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking minute with a megaphone shouting on the street corner: “Buy my book!” (Please don’t.)
Just like one plotting method doesn’t work for all writers, one marketing plan won’t work for every author. The key is to think about what resources you have, including time, people, and money, and make them work the best for you. Marketing is like a science experiment. Test something out and see if it works. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won’t. The key is to learn as quickly as you can what does work for your particular book. And remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. If you stop marketing after your pub day, your sales will stop, too.
When do I start with book marketing?
As soon as you can! The longer you have to make people aware of your book, the more people you will be able to reach. If this is your first book and you don’t have a cover yet, don’t worry. Marketing starts with you making people aware of who you are and what you do. That’s it. My name is Arielle and I am a children’s author. Bam. I just started my marketing with you. Spread the word on social media, when you’re chatting with friends, when meeting new people…it’s something you bring up in conversation. You don’t have to be pushy or salesy, just be yourself and talk about what you do, sharing the joy it brings you.
A Loose Interpretation of the Word “Timeline”
It would be wonderful if all of us had the same amount of ample time to plan the perfect dates to do each task on the timeline below. But that’s not the real world. I see so many book marketing timelines that declare you “have” to release your cover image at exactly three months before you publish, then you “have” to set up preorders at exactly one month and so on. Even worse, there are writers out there who tell other writers that if their book is already out, it’s too late to start marketing. I am going to write this in shouty capitals: IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MARKET YOUR BOOK. Yes, it is ideal if you have a marketing plan in place months before your release, but sometimes people don’t learn this until after they’ve already gotten their book out.
So don’t worry. No matter where you are in the publishing process, you can start marketing. I’ve done a full year-long structured plan for a book release. I’ve also only had a few weeks. Last week I did a little experiment to see if I could format a book a bit differently and it ended up working. So this time I will be marketing after the book has already been up on Amazon. The point is: Start wherever you are.
Book Marketing Timeline
Usually I start by selecting a reasonable pub day, also known as your book birthday. Then I work backwards from there. Remember, jump in whenever you can. There are some things I recommend to do before pub day that you can do afterward. If you are being traditionally published, several of these steps will be completed for you. So, take a look and adjust as necessary to your situation.
There are a lot of things to do in there! Unfortunately, I couldn’t stop to explain the details of every single step because then I would be writing a book instead of a blog post. So here are some links to help you get more information about different steps:
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Arielle Haughee is the owner and founder of Orange Blossom Publishing.