There is a lot of confusion about timing your book launch and the promotion that accompanies it.
A lot of authors think they need to start months in advance, and that may be true, up to a point.
On my book marketing podcast we will also be discussing whether or not your book is too old to market as is, which can sometimes be the case, but is also easily rectified!
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Every Outlet Works a Little Differently
Book publication timing that is often used now started mainly with trade publishers – because usually, they know the date a book will launch about 18 months before a book is out. But the reason they need so much time is that they operate on a different track than other smaller boutique or indie publishers.
If you’re selling into bookstores, or want placement in Target or Walmart, you have to get sales reps in there early. I used to know some sales reps who were selling Fall and Winter titles into bookstores in early March. Bookstores often work on a seasonal cycle, especially small local bookstores, and they buy in advance.
How Late is Too Late to Begin?
Some authors assume if they don’t start months in advance, then they’ve missed the window of opportunity. When in reality, the ONLY way to potentially get sales is through promotion and exposure, so it’s really never too late to support your book.
I also get authors who come to me super stressed, spinning in circles and worrying that they need to be doing tons of work months in advance. And often, even when I give them some direction, they can’t focus on taking it one step at a time. This is incredibly unproductive.
There is an organized way to give your book the best shot, sometimes you really need to just take a step back and get some professional advice, and trust it.
Be Early, but Not Too Early – Don’t Worry About Falling Behind
I often get asked about big-time review places like the New York Times for early review. But personally, I’ve never pitched them. Generally, this is because their review space is taken up with titles from bigger publishers.
So where does that leave the other 99.9% of authors who want early reviews? In fact, there are resources out there for early reviews and places we absolutely love like Foreword Magazine.
Many authors need to realize it’s more about the actions they need to take, the timing be damned. The goal is to figure out where you are in the promotional process based on your publication date, and see what fits into that schedule going forward, and get those things done.
Don’t Hold Back Your Release for “What Ifs”
A lot of authors, typically nonfiction authors, ask about blurbs and endorsements. We typically tell authors not to hold off their release or success for “what ifs” – if you know you have people lined up for this then by all means get it done ASAP!
Otherwise, put in the work and incorporate those endorsements on your book page, on your website, etc. as they come in. Online retail has also changed this a lot since fewer and fewer people are holding physical books in their hand before purchasing.
There’s nothing wrong with starting early and getting organized. In fact, I appreciate it when authors come to me well in advance of their release. But it’s more important to realize that a lot of the work has to be done is, in fact, much closer to the release date.
After the book is published, you aren’t off the hook, but there are some great early strategies. Either way, the early promotion won’t make or break you like neglecting your post-publication promotion will.
Once again, check out our book marketing podcast for the full episode of tips, considerations and recommendations!
Resources and Free Downloads
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How to Promote Your Book Before It’s Published on Amazon
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