I need to know how to promote my book before it’s published! It’s a problem a lot of authors feel they’re faced with when they come to me for coaching.
And my answer is this: Working on your author brand and message should start as soon as possible, and I’ll explain why.
Early marketing is about setting up an ecosystem to aid your readers in getting to know you, to build some momentum, and to garner followers, before your book comes out. It’s also about working on your brand, growing it, trying it on, and making adjustments as needed so you aren’t doing that post book launch.
You want to give readers time to get to know you, to follow you, to look forward to your posts. Connection takes time.
The difference is book marketing vs. brand marketing and setting up your marketing machine, before the book is actually launched.
So how much time do you need?
Well, that’s entirely up to you! You may be reading this with a week to go before your book launch, in which case it’s time to get to work.
But what if you have other books out, does this still matter to you? It does, actually, because with each book launch it’s a good time to polish your brand.
So if you’re one of the smart authors who’s asking how to promote my book before it’s published, let’s look at some things you can be doing to get yourself ready for launch day!
Brand Marketing Versus Book Marketing
There’s a lot of overlap on this topic, specifically. A newsletter, for example, is a branding tool but it’s also a marketing tool. Social media is branding but also book marketing. The difference is that you only push your book to your newsletter subscribers, or social media followers, when the book is out. Before the book is out, it’s all about branding.
Tools You’ll Need To Succeed
This kind of goes without saying that you’ll need a website, but if you’re just starting out you shouldn’t focus on something too extravagant. Meaning don’t worry about all the bells and whistles just yet. Get a solid website up and running the explains who you are and who you’re writing for, that’s all you need to get started.
Your Mailing List
Even if you feel like you have nothing to say, start a mailing list now. Put that sign up on your website and focus on building subscribers. Why? Because even if you have social media followers, for example, you don’t “own” their attention, you’re borrowing their attention, if someone signs up for your mailing list you know they’re a top tier fan.
Your Logo and Your Look
When you start asking about how to promote my book before it’s published, your branding and your look play a huge role in that success. Your look is something that will carry you from book to book. If you aren’t sure, you can always modify this as you progress through your pre-publication work but it’s helpful to do some of this research early, because the sooner you figure out how you want to show up in the world, the quicker you can roll out the rest of your strategies.
Keep in mind that a “look” may just be your color scheme, dark and foreboding if you’re written a thriller, light and bright if your market is children. Understanding colors and the importance of colors is important, too. As is the market research you would do, identifying other authors in your market and seeing what they are doing to push their brand out into the world.
Your Social Media
It’s good to claim your social media handles early, even if you aren’t using all of these platforms (yet). But grab them anyway. You really want to make sure that you own all digital real estate with your name, or your pen name.
Once you do that, it’s time to decide where you belong. As I always say it’s not about being everywhere, but everywhere that matters. So your pre-publication work can really help you to navigate these platforms and decide where your message best resonates.
Experimentation can take time, so get a feel for what works best with your message. My recommendation is to find two that you like and focus your efforts there. Whatever two you pick, make sure they’re represented on your website. Even though you own the other digital real estate, don’t draw attention to it if you’re not posting there.
Next Steps for Early Book Marketing
Ping Your Mailing List
You have a mailing list with maybe only 4 subscribers, I get it, it seems like a waste of time. But still it’s good to get into the habit of putting together a newsletter. Once a month is fine to start and invite your readers to share the newsletter and give them a reason why.
If you’re sending your newsletter during your pre-launch work, maybe offer early readers access to the book, before it’s out on Amazon. Or maybe you offer some other incentive like a prize. Start engaging with readers in fun ways and if you’re not sure where to start, start following authors in your genre that you love and get see if any of their newsletters sparks some ideas!
Calendar your Promotion
Wondering how to promote my book before it’s published is normal, and yes, there is some marketing involved, but it’s more about planning for marketing!
You may not know the exact date your book will be on Amazon – lots of mitigating factors like timing of edits, final cover, etc. But you probably have a general idea. So start planning out how you’ll approach the launch. Plan ahead to grab eBook promotion spots and your Goodreads giveaway – whatever it is, now is a good time to get this onto a calendar so you have a general idea of what’s happening and when.
This also means you can plan when you’ll send review copies and to who you’ll send them. And this is the time to plan for blogger pitching, etc.
I assure you you’ll feel so much more in control once you start seeing your marketing efforts populating on a calendar!
Tease your Cover
If you have a book cover done, or you have one in process, maybe tease it to your followers on social media or in your newsletter. Sharing it is always fun and you might be surprised about the feedback you get, especially if you’ve been warming up your audience with other content and they’re already starting to pay attention.
Blogger Pitching & Early Reviews
It’s time to consider whether this is something you want to do, or hire out. But the sooner you can get to bloggers, the better. Most of the bigger blogs fill up quickly and sometimes, months in advance. So planning this out as early in the process as you can, is always a good idea.
There’s a lot more you can do for early promotion, getting endorsements is another piece of this puzzle, but idea here is that starting early, when done well, can really help to boost your overall book marketing campaign and get you out into the world early.
Build your audience, engage with potential readers, and introduce yourself to the world as a brand for a solid approach to navigating the often nerve-wracking idea that, “I need to know how to promote my book before it’s published!”
What creative things have you done before your book is out? Share them in the comments!