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Self Publishing - The Marketing Timeline

Image from by Photostock
With only 11 days to go until launch day the butterflies in my stomach are getting agitated and the anxiety is rising for many reasons:

  • Will anyone buy my book?
  • If so, will they love it or hate it or (even worse) be unmoved? 
  • OMG! How am I going to get everything done in time?

When I made the decision in late December to self-publish, March seemed a long way away. The upside was that I had already done huge amounts of research on self-publishing and chosen the path I would take and had a basic book marketing plan already hammered out from my last book, @Home in Dubai.

As I look back over the last couple of months I see a lot has been accomplished - final proofreading and edits done, ISBN and bar code secured, testimonials gathered, cover design created, interior page layout done, Kindle template prepared, upload to both Kindle and Create Space successfully performed, electronic and print proofs checked... and that's before even thinking about the marketing piece!

So, even though I had a skeleton marketing plan, there are always changes and adaptations that must be made specific to the book itself. The most time-consuming part of the plan is actually outlining and writing all the elements and doing the research and outreach.

The elements:
  • Website and/or blog
  • Facebook page
  • Author bio/photo
  • Book blurb/synopsis
  • Press release(s)
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Email announcements
  • Testimonial request
  • Endorsement pitch
  • Virtual Book tour pitch letter   
  • Virtual Book tour announcement
  • Guest posts (at least have some ideas in advance to adapt to requests as they come in)
Research and Outreach:
  • Developing the media list for press release distribution and/or identifying online distribution channels
  • Targeting and contacting bloggers and book reviewers. There are plenty of lists out there like the Indie Book Review, which is pretty extensive, but you'll have to visit each blog to determine whether or not it's appropriate for your book and follow each reviewer's submission guidelines, which means... no canned pitches blasted to hundreds of bloggers.
  • Targeting and contacting potential endorsers (I didn't start this early enough but I'm crossing my fingers that at some point I'll have a high profile expert willing to sing my book's praises.  And, since I have control, I can update the cover and other elements at any time with a new endorsement if it's really amazing).
  • Creating email database and choosing distribution method (Mail Chimp and Constant Contact are popular. I'm using Email Express through Go Daddy as that's where I have my website hosted).
  • Developing list of ebook distributors and online listings
  • Researching and submitting to contests and awards programs
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to make sure there's enough time to implement! The planning and preparation should take the bulk of your time but when creating the timeline for the plan, there needs to be lead time for others to do their part such as reviewers to read and review the book (many are months ahead in scheduling reviews and interviews). Or, if you're sending the press release to print magazines, their lead time is several months. I missed this window but hope there will be some interested in doing something post launch.

That's all for now.  I hope this is helpful. I'm off to write my blog tour announcement as I've had some amazing responses and several bloggers are already on board (having been sent advance review copies far enough ahead of time). For anyone who is interested, I'll be posting the schedule on my Mental Pause blog later today and will update as new bloggers join in!


Unknown said…
How exciting! I have flagged my email with this post. I am working on my cover photography this week actually and once the cover is designed I am ready to submit. Your information will prove invaluable for me.
Hi Kathryn,
I'm so glad you found it helpful! What's your book about?
Unknown said…
My book, "Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope" chronicles my journey through the mold induced illness I am now plagued with. I am self-publishing and hope if things work out with this photo shoot, I can get the cover designed soon and get things submitted.
Carol Kilgore said…
Great comprehensive list! Thanks for following my blog :)
Anonymous said…
This is very exciting! Can't wait to see and read the finished product. :)Sounds like an incredible amount of work - I greatly admire your tenacity and commitment!
Thanks for popping by Carol! If you can think of anything to add to the list, please feel free :)

Lynda, I can't wait until it's out too! You'll hear my sigh of relief all the way to Dubai.
I'm exhausted just reading your list, knowing it is accurate, inclusive and a whole lot of work! Very excited for you Anne, know how hard you've worked on Mental Pause AND the launch/promotion side. As I keep telling myself, 'it's a marathon, not a sprint.'

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