Ahhh! Book release! Time to do all the things and still somehow get a reasonable amount of sleep at night. Or during the day. No judgement, fellow vampires.
I don’t know about you, but book releases really sneak up on me. (It sure did this year. I, uh, have a book out tomorrow. Yay!) I always feel like no matter how much preparation I do, I’m always forgetting something. This year, I tried to be a bit smarter. I had help making a plan, and I kept to-do lists.
It’s really important to know what your publisher is doing in advance, that way you don’t cover the same ground. If your publisher is going to do a preorder campaign, for example, then you don’t need to worry about doing that work yourself and you can focus your efforts elsewhere.
Keep in mind that even if your publisher isn’t doing much in the way of promotion, you don’t need to do it all yourself. You can hire someone or find an enthusiastic friend to get you organized. For me, outside help was key this year. I ended up accomplishing a lot more than I would have otherwise. (I work with YourBookTravels, but there are lots of people out there who can help with a variety of things for a variety of prices.)
No matter how you go about it, make this as easy for yourself as possible. And remember: you don’t have to do everything. You can say no to requests. You can delegate. You can eat cookies until release and let the Bookscan numbers fall where they may. Do what works best for you.
So with that in mind . . .
Everyone’s release duties are unique, but here are a few things to consider putting on your to-do lists:
- Decide what you want (bookmarks, stickers, art cards, etc.) and set your budget
- Have it designed
- Order with enough time for mail delays and printing errors
- Preorder promotions
- If you decide to do one, set your budget and decide what to offer
- Give yourself at least a month of promoting your preorder campaign, two if you can
- Send your offerings as soon as possible; this works to advertise your campaign even more
- Social media, newsletters, and interviews
- Schedule your blog entries, social media posts, and newsletters in advance so you don’t have to do them all at the last minute
- Answer interview questions and write guest blogs as they come in, or choose a day to do a bunch of them
- Don’t be afraid to say no to requests that don’t benefit you
- Again, decide your budget and what you’re willing to ship
- Package everything in advance so you can address and ship it the moment the winners’ information comes in; I like to put sticky notes on the packages to remind myself what they are (“mitts for blog tour giveaway,” etc.)
- Give away something that isn’t your new book (you want people to buy that)
- Contact bookstores you’d like to visit (or ask your publicist to do it)
- Book tickets/hotels, map routes, and download airline/hotel apps.
- Have graphics designed to advertise events, and then advertise until no one can say “But I didn’t know you were coming here!” weeks later
- Update your website with information about your book (flap copy, cover, trade reviews, blurbs)
- Add your upcoming appearances
- Link to places readers can buy your book
Think of your to-do list like making notes about your book: when you remember something you want to do, write it down. Don’t assume you’ll remember it. This is a time when there’s a lot going on, and chances are you’re also writing or editing your next book, not to mention wrangling family and day job obligations. Write it down. Consult the list when you have time that could be filled with productivity.
I just covered some of the basics here, but what else would you add to the list?