A Strategic Book Launch Timeline From the Pros


Have you ever released an indie book and thought, “I should have put some strategic effort into the launch,” or wished you could plan better for a strong opening sales rank? Click Read More to hear some thoughts from professionals that I wish I’d heeded with my last several books.

The experts over at Bookbub often publish a lot of great thoughts on being an indie-preneur. I’ve struggled time and again to get the perfect mix of reagents to brew a strong book launch. Ever since my very first book release party over a decade ago (which one person attended out of pity) to the book that hit the market two months ago, I feel like I’ve struck out with bases loaded.

It probably flies in the face of what most of us Indies do as we grasp at straws to carve out a foothold in our story’s niche market, but a marketing strategy has to include more than just about giving away free books, tweeting, making videos, or sending a press release. A book launch strategy is about getting the media’s attention and transforming yourself and your books into a brand to be followed.

Lead times for getting media coverage are getting longer and longer. PR firm Media Connect recommends starting to reach out to journalists 4-6 months before a book’s launch. Here was the timeline that they recommended for soliciting media coverage for a new book:

6 months prior to launch:

  • Create a website (or add a book page to your existing site)
  • Brainstorm ideas and craft a marketing plan

5 months prior to launch:

  • Develop a press kit/media pitches
  • Pull together your advanced review copy (ARC) media list
  • Start to solicit testimonials/blurbs

4 months prior to launch:

  • Compile a list of media connections you plan to approach
  • Send out your ARCs to long-lead media (those that need more advanced notice)
  • Select/schedule book signings and appearances

3 months prior to launch:

  • Follow up on ARC pitches to media
  • Continue to query bookstores and speaking opportunities

2 months prior to launch:

  • Contact non-book reviewer media (such as relevant talk shows or feature story reporters)
  • Approach online reviewers
  • Reach out to local media (or arrange a book tour)

1 month prior to launch:

  • Schedule radio and TV interviews
  • Finish ARC follow-up
  • Contact more online reviewers
  • Add on bloggers and websites for outreach
  • Hit daily newspapers, newswires, and weekly publications

In addition to promoting the fact that audiobook sales are on the rise (which I’ve written at length about,) the Bookbub crew cite a successful launch that started two years prior to the book’s launch date. Check out their marketing advice column here.

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