We get told to start promoting early--earlier the better! But in the age of Internet, attention spans are as fast and fleeting as the click of a mouse. When we're balancing work and home, family and writing, does it make time sense to put a lot of effort into promoting a book when you don't have the cover much less a purchase link?
Online, that pre-promotion is less important as well. You are not competing for shelf space, so you don't have to make big sales in those critical first few weeks. You also don't have the benefit of a bookstore reinforcing your promotion efforts or taking names of folks who want to buy your book before it comes out. So, while you could lose impulse readers who see something about your book a month before it comes out, then forget to buy it when it comes out, you have the luxury of taking a longer term approach and promoting months or even years after it's out.
Personally, I don't push a book online until I have at least a pre-order link. However, that doesn't mean I'm not promoting and marketing. Here's what you can do to be ready for the big day:
1. Gather your stuff! Prepare a promotional package with the following”
- Tag Lines
- 140 character summary
- short summary
- medium summary (200 words)
- Long summary (400 words)
- 140 character bio
- 30-word bio
- 75-word bio
- 300 word bio
- Short excerpt
- Medium excerpt
- Long excerpt (make this one that’s good for readings, too. No more than 5 minutes.)
- Video Trailer Codes
- List of where folks can find you—include all social media as well as blogs, etc.
- Links for purchase.
- Keep this file where you can fill it in as you get the stuff. Use it for book tours or whenever you need the information.
2. Build contact list.
3. Build relationships.
4. Sell yourself as a writer.
5. Sell your book in general terms: short stories, blogging about your writing adventures with that book
6. Build your marketing plan.
7. Make some teaser videos. I did that with Live and Let Fly. Short, snappy and of the “coming soon” variety, they got folks interested. Later, when I got the book cover and date, I redid them.
8. Pull out quotes you can use as tweets and excerpts for the blog tour, etc. This is a good thing to do in the editing process. Pick your favorite one-liners, esp those of 140 characters or less. Then when it comes out, you have a ready-made list of tweets you can post easily.
9. Get endorsements. Start finding a famous author or celebrity who will read and comment on your book. You might be able to make a blurb page in the book or back cover and if not, you’ll have them for the website.