This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Monday, August 22, 2011

Timeline for Book Launch Campaigns

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

So much goes into launching a book whether it is your first or one of many. Now that I'm about to embark on the release of my second novel, I have a few tips I'd like to share.

Most likely, you'll know the release date a year in advance. Some smaller publishers may give you six to nine months notice. This will give you plenty of time to save and plan for your book launch as you continue writing the next book and revising macro and copy edits on soon-to-be-released book. 

If you receive an advance, my advice is to keep your day job or let your spouse keep supporting you, and plan to use a good portion of it, perhaps all of it, on your promotion efforts. You can write the next great American or European classic, but if no one knows about it--your book will remain one of the world's best kept secrets. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your writing career is to invest in it--wisely.

6-9 Months
~ Create Marketing Plan for your book launch
~ Hopefully, you already have a website/blog, but if not, buy your domain. Set up your site or hire someone to develop it for you. 
~ Set up your social media sites and link them all to your website/blog. If you already have these sites set up, be sure to update them, check their links, upload your book cover as soon as it's available.
~ Create an online Media Kit. This is a place that will have a page for your bio, photo, book covers and purchasing info, sample chapter, video book trailer, a way to contact you, a calendar with your upcoming schedule and events, and blog tour info. Even if you don't have the info for these pages yet, create the pages and set them up so you can add info as it's available.

4-5 Months
~ Schedule book tours. You can either do this yourself or hire a company to do this for you. If you have the funds, I recommend more than one book tour. Determine ahead of time how many books you plan to give away for review and/or as giveways on blogs. Be sure to schedule a combination of reviews, interviews, and guest posts so readers aren't bombarded with the same info if they follow multiple blogs on your tour.
~ Determine if you will host a contest campaign with multiple giveaways beyond mere books. You need to know where you will host it, who will help, goals, and target audience.
~ If you need to provide books and giveaway items, try to purchase a few each week. Don't wait and try to buy everything all at once. Sometimes bulk isn't the best answer--especially if you're on a tight budget. A little at a time is more affordable when you don't have bulk cash. When I buy things this way, it helps my buy out of my paycheck rather than my book money, allowing me to save it for lean months or or big item purchases. 
~ Put out a call for Influencers who will read the book and post reviews on their blogs, Amazon, B&N, and other online locations. 

2-3 Months
~ Set up book signings. Check local schedules for events and festivals that might be taking place where you can bring your books. Piggy-back on their promotion of the event and utilize a location where people will already be gathering. Since I write Scottish historicals, a great venue for me has been the highland games held throughout the country. 
~ Start posting a few status updates regarding your book launch and what you're working on to start building excitement and anticipation on your social media sites. 
~ Start designing and ordering bookmarks, business cards, postcards, magnets, and the promotion items you plan to purchase.
~ Determine budget and schedule for any paid ads. 
~ Set up Google alerts for you author name and the title of your new book.

1 Month
~ Fill out questions for blog interviews and return as many as possible.
~ Write press release, including first book launch party dates and times and begin submitting it to local and online media.
~ Post scheduled events on local media calendars, including public community calendars at libraries, chamber of commerce, etc.
~ Send out personal invites to people for book launch party and online blog tours.

2-3 Weeks
~ If you have a regular newsletter, send out a new one or a special announcement regarding your book release and launch party event.
~ Start posting teasers for reviews with links on blog and social media.
~ Send out a reminder to Influencers.

1 Week
~ Post blog tour info with links on blog and social media.
~ Begin book launch contest and/or blog tour.

Book Release Day
~ Reminder announcement on website/blog and every social media channel with a link where to purchase.
~ First blog tour stop with link and keep up each day until blog tour is over.

This isn't meant as an exhaustive list, something to give you ideas on where to start your planning so you can customize it to fit your needs.


Thanks, Jennifer. This information is very helpful.

Lynn, I'm glad you found it helpful. Thank you for stopping by.

That's a well-broken-down list, Jennifer. Thanks!

You're welcome, Valerie! Hope all is going well.