Monday, July 14, 2008

Marketing Task Recap

Phew! Well, Mary's baby is launched! And what a successful launch it was, too! I bet if you bribed Mary with chocolate chip cookies, she'd even tell you just how successful it was. Of course, it's only the beginning of the 'launch period' for her new book, but it's off to a good start.

We thought that it might be helpful to post a checklist of all the marketing tasks we've refered to over the last few months in one place, so you wouldn't have to hunt and peck to produce a To Do List of your own.

9-12 Months Out

Open a marketing dialogue with your publisher
Purchase domain name, if you haven’t already
Begin website development
Take our Comfort Level Inventory
Begin blogging if you think that may be of interest to you
Begin developing Relationship with local Indie booksellers
Reach out and build relationships with online forums or listservs
Introduce yourself to your local children’s librarian

7-8 Months Out

Create Marketing Plan with publisher’s input and divvy up the To Do List
Consider creating a marketing co-op or pairing up with a marketing buddy
Brainstorm possible magazine articles that tie in to your books subject matter
Continue working on website – goal is to have it up 3 months before pub date
Put words out to friends who are teachers or librarians that you’d be willing to do a few ‘practice’ school visits gratis

5-6 Months Out

Get author photo taken
Create a wardrobe of author bios (50, 100, and 300 words in length)
Keep an eye out for upcoming literary festivals in your area that you can participate in
Begin planning book launch

4 Months Out

Put together author brochure for school visits or general info – can mirror what your website says about you
Coordinate with your publisher to set up booksignings, if they think this is a good way to go

2-3 Months Out

Website goes live
Post excerpt on website
When cover art is final, order postcards, bookmarks, and other print materials
Begin putting together a press kit with photo, bios, picture of book cover, press releases, FAQ’s, and an “interview”
Consider setting up a blog tour
Consider making a video book trailer, or having one made

6 Weeks Out

Mail invitations for launch
Finalize any details for appearances, signings, etc.
Host contests and other interactive activities on your website


Anonymous said...

I've just discovered your blog--my stars must be aligned, or something! I've got my first book coming out next summer and I have a question for you about websites: my understanding is that a new author should launch his or her website six months in advance because that's when booksellers make purchasing decisions. Your thoughts?

Yat-Yee said...

I too just discovered your blog. As one of many introvert writers, I thank you!

R.L. LaFevers said...

Anonymous, I think six months in advance would be ideal, but I also think three months is not the kiss of death. Part of this would depend on how big a marketing tool your website is for your book.

My hunch is that most booksellers make purchasing decisions based on the quality of the book and the publisher's support of that title. My sense of booksellers is that they are far too busy to have time to look at author's websites until the book has grabbed them or not.

However, if you website was to feature an extensive/interactive type platform for your book, and the sales rep planned to pitch that as part of the appeal, then I think the six months out is much more critical. Others here should feel free to weigh in...

And welcome, yat-yee! So glad you found us!

Rachael Ann Mare said...

Just came over to your blog from Nathan Bransford's . . . and what a fantastic blog it is. Thanks so much for sharing all this; it's invaluable to those of us still looking forward to the published stage of our careers.

(Plus, I loved the first Theodosia book.)

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Thanks, as always!
I've been following the timeline from the beginning, and I encourage people to go back and read those posts if they haven't seen them; there's a lot of info there!
But the checklist summary helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the breakdown. I've decided to push back the release date of my third book, but when it was being released next year, I was actually trying to find a timeline like this. I'll have to refer back to this when it comes out on April 2010.

I didn't see anything in the lineup about sending out prepub review copies. At what point should I be doing that?

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully helpful, as usual! Thanks and congratulations, Mary, on the launch!

R.L. LaFevers said...

Welcome, R. A.! Very fun to have a Theodosia fan here! ;-)

Celise, in answer to your question on when to send the arcs out...hmm. Usually the publisher does that, so I don't get too involved, but I know it happens very early on. Like five to six months before the pub date. For example, my publisher was giving away arcs for my November 2008 release at BEA and ALA in late May and early June. I imagine they send them out to the review publications around then too.