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Welcome to our list of November observances and content ideas for your monthly author marketing plan!

Definitely scan this piece now, bookmark it, and come back later when you’re ready to write, because there are some really fantastic promotions that can be planned around a number of November observances and these are just too easy to risk missing.

And if you haven’t downloaded our Monthly Book Marketing Planner yet you can grab that here!

Remember, without regular connections to readers, you’re just another book on the shelf (literal or virtual) they have no vested interest in…so take the time to make yourself stand out by using our monthly observances and tips to create interesting content with your own unique twist.

Another great reason to bookmark this author marketing resource? Timely content that uses popular and trending search terms, is a great way to enhance your visibility and improve SEO in a very simple way.

Here’s a list of causes and interests associated with the month of October:

  • Aviation History Month
  • Child Safety Protection Month
  • National Adoption Awareness Month
  • National Caregivers Appreciation Month
  • National Diabetes Awareness Month
  • National Epilepsy Month
  • National Model Railroad Month
  • National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo2018)
  • Native American Heritage Month
  • Peanut Butter Lovers Month

Aside from National Novel Writing Month, which is kind of a no brainer for many of us, if any of the others are near and dear to your heart be sure to show your support or your humorous take!

These monthly observances (you can check out my posts from past months here) are a great way to plan a series of content too. A series not only gives you focus, the predictability is also something followers naturally gravitate toward.

Remember, content ideas don’t always have to stem from your genre or topic.

When it comes to author marketing and building a brand, ensuring fans and followers have ways to connect with you on a more personal level is equally as powerful.

And don’t forget, if you haven’t contacted me yet please consider it, if you’re serious about marketing your book and taking it to the next level, it never hurts to know what your options are.

How to Use My Content Ideas

Below are holidays and just plain wacky and fun November Observances in 2018.

I’ve also included a few content ideas and angles to help spark your creativity!

Remember, not all these are worth an entire blog post or article, but nearly all of them can be turned into a fun or thought provoking social media post or blurb in your newsletter (read why you need one here) – so it’s like getting triple the ideas!

Keep in mind, nearly all your posts should encourage your fans and followers to respond, chime in, share their stories, etc. so don’t forget to work in that angle. I mention it as part of my recommendations occasionally, but please know that encouraging engagement is always the goal – so never post “flat” content, always get creative with how you can pull others into the conversation, and easily.

Getting Started With Content Ideas

1 Men Make Dinner Day – I love this! Not that there aren’t plenty of men who take the reins in the kitchen but now we have an even better excuse to give them credit, post a photo of your fave male chef, home or professional.

2 Plan Your Epitaph Day – This is so fun, albeit a bit macabre. Give it a shot, share yours with fans.

3 Book Lovers Day – This is a great reason to reach out to your network and remind them of all the wonderful ways they can support their favorite authors. Most people mean well, but need a push!

8 Cook Something Bold Day – Cooking is cathartic and food is emotional, share a favorite recipe and give fans some insight into your personality.

9 Chaos Never Dies Day – Vent! What are you struggling with, talk it out with your fans.

10 Forget-Me-Not Day – If you have a touching story or dedication, share it. It can be tough to get personal in such a public way, but this is also what makes you endearing to followers.

Time to Get Creative with Your Author Marketing

11 Veteran’s Day – Honor a vet in your life or simply write a post of thanks.

13 World Kindness Day – We need more kindness, especially on social media, find a productive, fun, engaging way to promote kindness.

13 Young Readers Day – They are the next generation of book lovers, if you write children’s stories this is an easy one, but even if you don’t, as an author, find a way to get involved in children’s literacy and share opportunities to inspire your fans.

16 National Fast Food Day – This could also be called confession day? If you haven’t listened to Jim Gaffigan’s bit on McDonalds, check it out.

17 Homemade Bread Day – I love bread, share your recipes – and tag me!

17 Take A Hike Day – Get outside, be active, the weather is cooling down for most of us and it just plain feels good. It’s also a great time to take a selfie and share the beautiful outdoors that surrounds you.

Just Keep Writing Social Media Content

18 Occult Day – This seems like something you’d find in October but you know what, paranormal and horror books are sold and enjoyed year round, and if you fall into these categories – take advantage.

19 Have a Bad Day Day – This is another great reason to vent, and to encourage your fans to commiserate with you, a lot of people bottle things up and you’d be surprised what can inspire them to share, this is a great opportunity for engagement.

20 Absurdity Day – What do you find most absurd?

20 Beautiful Day – Ironic this occurs as the same day as Absurdity Day, but I think it’s fitting, also share what you find most beautiful.

21 National Tie One On Day – Hey now, the holidays are almost in full swing and I think most of us are ready for it. Now is a great time to share a fun selfie or a recipe for your fave cooler weather cocktail.

November Has Almost Wrapped

22 Thanksgiving – Please plan ahead to step away from the computer and just take it all in, whatever that means to you. Planning ahead for your book promotion activities and content allows you to take important time off without sacrificing your chance at success.

23 Black Friday – I have so many tips on how authors can take advantage of Black Friday and holiday shopping in general. Check out my holiday marketing book now, it’s not too late!

26 Shopping Reminder Day – So this is odd, I don’t know how many people forget to shop, but there are a lot of authors who forget to market the right way for holiday sales, so I’ll shamelessly repeat myself, check out my book, it’s less than $5, and hey, even if you only sell a couple books you’ll make your money back this year and you’ll be more than ready to hit the ground running next fall!

30 Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day – This is one I can get behind because I personally feel we take our good health for granted far too often. Use this as another day to share what you’re thankful for, and specifically what you do to take care of yourself. Action inspires action!

The Takeaway

Remember, being an author demands creativity, and it also demands authenticity.

Coming up with unique content ideas as part of your author marketing plan is a great way to take your success seriously, without taking yourself too seriously! And these November observances should really help.

Have plans for a fun take on any of these ideas? Share below in the comments!

Love this post? I’ve made it easy for you to share with these tweets below!

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Maybe you’ve done events in the past – whether these are book shows specifically, or book signings in bookstores, libraries, or even craft fairs. If you came up short on book sales, you’re probably not alone. So often we decide to do these events, without any kind of real insight into what it takes to make them successful. And that’s not your fault per se, because doing successful events takes time. People who do a lot of trade shows know this – it can be a lot of work, but also a lot of payoff if it’s done correctly.

As authors, we spend a lot of time online, or locked behind our computers. And while this has merit, there is nothing quite like an in-person event. And while getting a book event booked seems like half the battle (and it is) now it’s time to figure out how to start selling more books at events, regardless of the event you’re doing.

Some years back, I was promoting a fiction book I wrote, The Cliffhanger. The book was set in Oregon and I traveled up there to do some events. But you know, factoring in the travel and the time it takes to do these, I really needed this to pay off in terms of book sales. As luck would have it, a major storm hit the area on the day of the signing. Though I had gotten some press for the event, the heavy storm kept the majority of people away.

I had also sent the bookstore a ton of swag to use, including a sign for the window, which they had never unboxed. So other than the article in a local paper, no real promotion had happened.
With the store all but empty, I started to panic and then I remembered my own guidance to authors: marketing is about message and movement. So instead of just sitting in a chair, I got up and walked around. People, seeing refuge from the storm were browsing the shelves and I politely introduced myself.

Several of them said: “Oh I read you were going to be here.” And I sold a book to each of them! I stayed way past my signing time and wound up selling out of the books I brought with me, which admittedly wasn’t a lot. I think I brought 20 in a box. But it was better than I’d initially expected to sell, which was zero. This signing taught me a lot about connecting with consumers in stores and selling more books at events. If you have an event coming up, consider these ideas before you head out:

1. Marketing

First and foremost is the marketing of your event. But I’m not talking about the marketing you do the media (though that is great too). I’m speaking of in-store marketing. This is what most folks seem to overlook. Because if you’re going to sell more books at events, it’s got to start with your marketing – which often starts well-ahead of the event. So supply things to the bookstore or venue (if possible) to help them promote your event. Make it easy for them to drive attention to your book signing. Here are a few thoughts:

Do bag stuffers. If you want to start with something simple, do fliers. Ask first if the store minds if you offer this, though most stores or events will be on board with this. If the event is a local craft fair, be sure to target any local businesses that are promoting the craft fair.

Bookmarks: While many in the industry see these as passé, readers still love them. You can do bookmarks as bag stuffers or fliers with bookmarks. I’d suggest that you have a series of bookmarks printed up with the event date and time, if you can. This helps become a handy reminder to anyone who gets handed one. If you have the store give them out with a flier, the flier will probably get discarded and they’ll keep the bookmark, so make sure it’s customized somehow. If you don’t have it in the budget to print up more of these – and you already have some handy, you could always print up a small sticker that you adhere to it. Regardless, bookmarks can be a fun way to bring more people to your event, and sell more books.

And, keep in mind, you can keep track of not just freebies, but everything you need to focus on for your book events using my free monthly book marketing planner.

2. Book signings are boring

Regardless of where you do the event, plan to do a talk instead of a signing. Sometimes, like with book fairs, this may not be possible. People are drawn into a discussion and are often turned off by an author just sitting at a table. A table often comes across as a boundary between you and the reader. Again, marketing is about message and movement so stand up and speak. And if speaking isn’t something that the venue allows, plan on standing a majority of the time. Sitting in a chair and checking your phone won’t help you start selling more books at events – engaging people will. If speaking in public is intimidating to you, Patricia Fry, author of 72 books, suggests going to Toastmasters or some other local networking/speaking group and see what you can learn: “Toastmasters, in particular, is especially helpful in giving an impromptu speech (or communication), such as is required at a book festival or signing.”

3. Unique places

If you want to get more attention for your event (and sell more books!), consider doing events in unique places. We’ve done them in Hallmark stores, electronics stores, gyms, and even restaurants (on slow nights). Doing outside-the-bookstore events is a great way to gain more interest for your talk. Why? Because you aren’t competing with everyone else at the bookstore. When you do an event at a local venue that doesn’t normally do events, you’ll gather more people just because it’s considered “unique.”

4. Show up early and talk it up

OK so let’s say you’re in the store and there are a ton of people in there shopping (a book event dream, yes?). I suggest that you take your extra bag stuffers or custom bookmarks and just hand them to the people in the store. Let me know you are doing an event at such and such time and you’d love it if they can sit in. You’ll be surprised how many new people you might pull in this way and, because of this – sell more books.

5. Customize

Regardless of what your talk is about, poll the audience first to see a) what brought them there, or b) what they hope to learn if your talk is educational. I suggest this because the more you can customize your discussion, the more likely you are to sell more books at your event. If you can solve problems (and this is often done during the Q&A) all the better. You’ll look like the answer machine you are and readers love that. If you have the answers they’ll want to buy from you. I promise. Here’s another clue: listen closely to questions you get during your Q&A, these questions can offer some great insight into future books you may want to write or maybe spike some ideas around blog posts or future talks you could do!

6. Make friends

Get to know the bookstore or venue people, but not just on the day of the event. Go in prior and make a connection – if at all possible, tell them who you are and maybe even hand them your flier or bookmark (or a stack if you can). Often stores (and libraries) have Information Centers, so see if you can leave some fliers there instead of just at the register. Getting to know the people who are selling your book is a great way to help gather more people into your event. If your event isn’t in a bookstore but attached to a shopping area or mall, go around to the stores (and perhaps you did this when you passed out the bookmarks) and let them know you have an event and ask what can you do to help them promote it. If you can rally the troops to help you market your talk, you could triple the numbers of people at your event – and sell more books at this event. No kidding.

7. Remember the bigger picture

Sometimes events aren’t always about selling more books. Sometimes they are about relationships. Get newsletter sign ups, make connections, talk to folks who came by your table or booth, etc. Building these connections can be as important as an immediate book sale.

8. Take names

While you may not always sell more books at events – or hit your book sales goal for each event, you may sell a lot of them post-event. That is, if you have a way to get in touch with people once the book event is over. This is why I always, always recommend that you get names and (email) addresses from the folks who attended. Signing them up for your mailing list is a great way to stay in touch with them and stay on your reader’s radar screen. If you have a giveaway or drawing, great! This will help you to collect names.

9. Remember your elevator pitch

What’s your book about? I mean, really about? What’s your elevator pitch? If you’re at a trade show, or big book fair or even a local craft fair and someone asks you what your book is about, what will you say? Kathleen Kaiser who heads up SPAWN a fabulous group dedicated to authors and publishers and based in Southern California says that elevator pitches can often be key to selling more books at events. Pitches should be short and sweet, 2-3 sentences and really motivate a potential reader to buy your book. Take some time to practice this before event day!

10. Pricing

Make sure your book is easy to buy. If you are doing this outside of a bookstore, this is easy to do and will help your sales. I find that a rounded number like $10 or $20 makes for a quick and easy sale. If you can round up or down without adding or losing too much to the price, by all means do it.

11. Book pairing

One way you might be able to sell more books at events is to pair your book with a freebie. When I paired Red Hot Internet Publicity with a second, but smaller, marketing book I took the awkward pricing of $18.95, bumped it up to $20 (so 2 books for $20) and quadrupled my book sales during the event. I called it an event special – so new readers felt like they were getting a deal! Now the pairing doesn’t have to be a book, it can be a special report or even an eBook that you send to them after the event.

12. Product and placement

As you’re doing your talk (especially if it’s in a non-bookstore venue), make sure that you have a copy of the book propped up in front of you so attendees can see it the entire time you are speaking. Hold up the book when appropriate and use it as an example when you can. This will help to direct the consumers eye to the book – and making eye contact with the product is a good way to make sure it stays on their radar screen throughout your talk. If you’re doing a book fair or trade show, Kathleen Kaiser of SPAWN recommends putting a cover of the book on an 11 x 17 foam core board: “Add reviews to the board, maybe your logline (elevator pitch) and whatever else will entice a new reader to buy.”

13. Ease of purchase

While pricing is a great way to incentivize people and sell more books at events, so is the ease of purchase. Nowadays you’ve got a lot of options with Square, PayPal, and other remote devices that can allow you to take credit cards. But also make sure that you’re ready with some change in case folks want to pay with cash, because that happens at a lot of book events I do! Whatever you do, make it easy to buy your book!

14. Dressing up

If your book is about a time period, or a particular character – like a pirate. Why not dress up? A fun and really engaging way to bring in more readers and sell more books at events is to become the character. Sandy Murphy, author of From Hay to Eternity offered the following advice: “One author wrote a kid’s book that had pirates. She wore an eye patch, had a toy parrot on her shoulder, and a gold painted treasure chest for kids to dig through and choose a small toy.” This is the kind of thing that can really help engage readers and push more book sales.

15. Post event wrap up

So the event is over, what now? Well, if you got attendees to sign up for your newsletter (you did do that, right?), now it’s time to send a thank you note for attending. Be sure to offer them the opportunity (if they missed the chance at the event to buy a copy of your book at the “special event price”) to still get the same deal post-event. You could find that you’re still making book sales, and selling more books – though now more post-event.

Also, don’t forget to thank whoever hosted the event, too. A well-placed thank you goes a long way towards securing future events, not just at that venue, but also others. Saying it in person is fantastic, but don’t forget the power of a handwritten note and sharing the love on social media. People talk and you want them to remember you favorably.

Speaking and book events are great ways to build your platform, sell more books, and build your connections. For many of us, our book is our business card and thus, if we can sell our “business card,” we can keep consumers in our funnel. If your book isn’t your business card you still want readers, right? So the marketing both post and during an event is crucial to building your readership. While it’s easy to say that all events sell books, they often don’t. You have to work them to make this happen. But one thing I’ve learned both from personal experience and from authors we’ve worked with is that the more you do, the better you get, and you start selling more books at events and beyond. Seek the opportunities when they are made available to you and then maximize them. You’ll be glad you did!

Do you have a book event success story you’d love to share? Whether it’s about tips you learned for selling more books at events or another type of event success, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you! Please share in the comments!

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It seems like it never stops, does it? There’s always news and that’s a fact, but book marketing has become incrementally more challenging in the last few years. I’ve even had reporters and producers at major shows tell me this news cycle is more chaotic than anything they’ve seen in recent years. So what’s an author to do? Well first off, know that your book promotion can succeed in all of this noise, or even in spite of it.

A lot of authors feel like they can’t make any headway, and I 100% get how that feels. But here’s the thing: you can absolutely make strides in your book marketing. You just have to get creative.

In fact, when the news cycle is as chaotic as this, with stories changing on a dime, this creates some vast opportunity for many of you who have written non-fiction books. If you can’t see what your tie-ins might be, it could be worth your time working with a professional to help you brainstorm some topics and conversation tethers you can speak to.

1. Fiction authors need to stay focused:

Fiction authors, in particular, feel a little lost right now. You open Facebook and get slammed with a bunch of stories about politics and you think: is anyone going to see my stuff? The short answer is: it depends on how you’re using social media. The longer answer is: maybe social media isn’t the answer for you. But what is important are the things that will drive readers to you. There’s a lot of escapism going on right now. Regardless of what side of the political fence you are on, escapism is at an all-time high. And what’s the first thing to get a boost when escapism soars? Things to escape into. Movies, books, TV. Fiction actually isn’t on a downtrend, not at all. In fact, fiction is bigger than ever. So instead of getting sidelined by the media, or feeling like you need to sit this one out till things calm down, here’s a spoiler for you: they won’t. In fact, if this is the new norm, you’ll need to find a way to work within this new, seemingly endless breaking news cycle.

My recommendation is to not let yourself get lazy. Keep pushing your book in the right ways. Now that we’re in a key window to holiday sales, why not start planning your strategies NOW? Don’t wait on this. Because while it’s easy to get distracted, it’s also a key time to get out there.

Want to know more about holiday book marketing? Read this post to get started. Also, I have a new book out that will help boost your holiday sales: you can get it here.

2. Jump on the media spin:

One of the things I’ve learned in the work I’ve done with authors is that the media is always looking for a new way to spin an old story, or a spin a breaking news story. So if you can speak to something, speak up. With all of this breaking news, there’s probably a story you can speak to, or comment on, or offer your insight. If you’re an expert in a particular category or market, speak to that market. A good book marketing person knows to always be ready with a story, or spin of some sort.

For example, during the Kavanaugh hearings there was a story about how mothers are speaking to their young sons about this. Are you a parenting expert who could speak to this? If you’d rather stay away from something that’s terribly volatile, what about speaking to all of these “emotional support” animals and in a few unfortunate cases, rodents, people are trying to smuggle on planes. Are people really that much more anxious or is this just a ridiculous trend with people dragging squirrels and peacocks on board (or trying to)?

When I set out to plan a book marketing campaign, I look to the author’s history in terms of their resume. And this isn’t always isolated to non-fiction. An example of this is a New Adult author we worked with who wrote a book about a young girl who was forced into marriage at a very early age.

In fact, we have a few authors who have worked in, or become an expert in a particular area they are now writing in – even those authors who have written genre fiction.

Remember Tom Clancy? He was often called upon as a military expert, because of all of the exhaustive research he did for his books.

The media is always in need of an expert. Why not you?

3. Non-fiction authors need to remain vigilant:

You may have gotten this far into this piece and are thinking: I hadn’t thought of this as a book marketing strategy! And if you’re ready to add it to the list of book promotion ideas that you want to start working on, then I recommend that you remain vigilant on where these conversations are coming from. Is this a more liberal media spin, or is your argument better had in the conservative media? Can you speak to both? If so, I recommend identifying the key topics you feel you can speak to and then always be on the alert for these stories. Be aware of what’s happening in your specific market and be ready to pounce when a story erupts that you can speak to.

4. Understand the media timing:

If a story hits the news and you have something to say, you’ll need to pounce immediately. We had an author who wrote about dealing with a troubled kid. A week after a school shooting he came to us wanting to tackle his book marketing and push him to that message, which is fine in theory, but the firestorm of media that develops after a school shooting, or any big breaking news event, evaporates quickly. This means you need to be ready with your pitch and with your media contacts, as we’ll discuss in a bit. How long do you have to pitch someone? Not long. If a national situation happens that you can speak to, you’ll need to begin pitching the media on this right away. Read this article on how early you should start marketing your book for more info on how to do this.

5. Be blogging:

One thing I can tell you is this, blogging for non-fiction authors, in particular, is really important. Especially if you’re an author who feels they have a topic they’d like to use to get some national media attention. If you’ve pitched the media for a topic, they are going to check your website and blog, maybe even your social media presence, but they’re going to Google you, for sure. So having a voice out there, even if it’s just via your blog, is a solid book marketing strategy. How much should you be blogging? Once a week if possible, more if it’s reasonable. And the posts don’t need to be long. In fact, concise blogging in 500 words is fine, as long as you get your post across.

6. Speak locally to a national issue:

We’ve talked a lot about slanting your book marketing to national issues, but what about local media? A lot of authors overlook local media because they feel it’s not big enough, or sexy enough or whatever. But here’s the thing: local media loves local authors. So if you haven’t started pitching yourself to these markets, it’s time to sit down and flex your book promotion muscle in that direction.

The key will be, really asking yourself how a national issue could affect your local market – and creating a unique spin on that message.

7. Start building your media list:

Being ready to hit the ground running is often 90% of your book marketing battle, so start researching now to build a solid list of the media you might want to target. For example, if your topic is health-related, you’re going to want to find journalists or producers who cover a health beat. And often you can find these by reading the publication masthead or just watching the show and looking for the producers to target. Building your list now will save you a lot of time when breaking news hits the wire.

8. Remember the HUH factor:

So what does HUH mean? It means Hip, Unique and Helpful. Your story or media pitch should fall somewhere in that area. It doesn’t have to be all three, but it should be whenever possible. So if one of your book marketing goals is to pitch yourself to the media and you want to get more attention for your story, make sure it passes the HUH test. This is something the media will look for as well.

Finally, remember that despite whatever else is going on in the world, we are entering a season where people are craving fluff pieces, or feel-good stories. An example of this is one we did several years ago, around a book that talked about why humor is so good for kids. The book marketing pitch we led with was: Give Your Kids the Gift of Laughter this Holiday Season, which got tons of buzz online and off. It was fun, helpful and really resonated with the time of year when we tend to want to turn our attention to things that make us feel better.

By the same token, as December moves into January, we’ll also be looking at New Year, New You stories, too. Keep in mind, that unique will be very key, especially in the new year, because there are no shortage of these pieces, so whatever you do it should have a different spin on whatever else is out there.

What are some ways that you’ve found to break into the breaking news cycle with your book promotion? Please share in the comments.

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The book marketing strategies I’m covering in this piece are predominantly geared toward spiritual advisors, in honor of Increase Your Psychic Powers Day on October 31, but there’s a lot in here for any author looking to compete in numerous spirituality categories on Amazon, and multiple self-help subgenres, so keep an open mind about what you can take away from my tips below!

Why These Book Marketing Strategies Work for Other Genres

I’ve worked with a number of spiritual advisors turned authors over the years, and whether you resonate as a Psychic, Intuitive, Empath, Channel or Medium…you all have different experiences and unique perspectives to share with the world.

And my approach to aligning the right book marketing strategies for spiritual advisors is very similar to what I consider for a wide variety of self-help authors on a broader scale – because believe it or not, while your brand should be very unique, the way you’ll connect with, and find, readers is often very similar.

Why is this? Because buyer psychology is very consistent across multiple genres, so the book marketing strategies are often consistent as well, with special tweaks for the right angles to use with media, considerations for the time of year you’re marketing your book, and how your brand is set up to support you long term.

#1: Think Big With Intention

Spiritual advisors who write books, like most non-fiction authors, generally start with a very specific idea for their book and why they’re writing it. Even if it’s as simple as, “This is what I know and I want to share it with the world.” Granted, that makes for a very broad marketing goal, but it’s something.

So that’s your intention. You wrote a book for a reason.

What I want you to do is practice pushing that intention out to as many specific buyer markets as you can.

So while you might have had a very specific goal for your book, or a very specific reader in mind, don’t close yourself off to other people who might benefit from what you have to say.

I have this talk with many of my authors because they’ve been dead set on a specific reader since they started chapter one, but it just doesn’t make sense to set limits on your success.

Figure out how to reach those people by tweaking your core book marketing strategies to speak to them on a personal level, and you’ll be amazed at how much your potential buyer market will grow.

If you haven’t done an extensive reader profile yet please download my free worksheet.

#2: Provide a Multi-Faceted Support Network

What I mean by this is, you can’t just sell your book.

Books age, new titles trying to compete with yours are released, there are a lot of variables here, but the best way to ensure your book stays relevant, and more importantly, you and your brand stay top of mind, is by providing more than just your book.

Book marketing strategies that support your brand on a broader level and give you staying power include a really strategically written blog, social media with high engagement, and a service that supports what you do, whether it’s readings, coaching, assessments, or a super useful, action-oriented, motivational newsletter.

Spiritual advisors, along with self-help thought leaders, need to be in it for the long haul if you want to sell books, because people want to invest in a person that has more to offer when they’re done reading – keep this in mind.

#3: Build Your Mailing List with a Great Loss Leader

Building off being in it for the long haul, you’ll also want to keep building your mailing list, and create an opportunity for regular communication with the people most interested in what you have to offer.

Loss leaders are powerful book marketing strategies because they give readers and followers more for their investment, and they also serve to further support your position as a thought leader or expert in your field.

Think free downloads, perhaps worksheets, branded journaling pages with thought provoking questions, chapters of another book you have releasing in the near future. And don’t forget to change it up every once in awhile!

Other great loss leaders are discounts or special access to your services.

You can’t expect people to sign up for your newsletter simply because you wrote a book, give them something to really sink their teeth into as a thank you for taking their interest to the next level.

#4: Be Sure You’re Solving Multiple Problems

It’s important to remember that most people buy books by spiritual advisors, or again, self-help, to solve a problem or address a need.

Yes, that may seem quite elementary, but most authors forget to recognize that their different buyer markets likely have variations of similar problems, or sometimes totally different problems!

Don’t limit your reach and sales potential by pigeonholing your book as the answer to a single, broad problem.

This is especially important when pitching yourself to media or crafting your social media content.

Effective book marketing strategies need to be massaged and manipulated for different kinds of buyers.

And by recognizing that the stay at home mom of 5 kids under age 10 has very different needs and goals than the jet setting, single, 50-something female executive, and ensuring they both feel you know how to speak to them, is when the magic happens and books start selling.

#5:  Stay Current on What’s Happening in Society

This builds off of #4 in many ways, but basically I want to remind you that there’s no easier way to make a personal connection with your current followers and potential buyers than by connecting with them on something important happening in the world.

We are assaulted by media messages and news on multiple channels throughout the day, and it gets to us, sometimes very deeply.

And if you can provide help, relief or guidance to those struggling through current issues, you need to be sure they know that.

So don’t just repeat your same sales pitch over and over again, be sure you’re making yourself relevant by tying your work and your book’s message into what’s important in the moment, and I assure you you’ll get more people interested in what you have to say and what you have to offer.

At the end of the day all books are personal, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that books by spiritual advisors and other self-help authors are an entirely different level of personal, so your book marketing strategies need to take this into consideration.

Everything you do needs to make your current followers, and potential buyers, feel understood.

And for a bit of fun, if you’re a spiritual advisor and have a wonderful tip to share with us for how to celebrate Increase Your Psychic Powers Day on October 31, please share it in the comments or tag me on social media!

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I just returned an eBook to Amazon. I don’t normally do this. In fact being in the industry I hate returning books – period, but I did in this case and I’ll tell you why: the book was over $15. And when it comes to eBook pricing, if you’re going to charge that much, the author better deliver the goods.

I heard about this book on a popular podcast: the interview was great, the author sounded awesome. I literally never spend more than $10 on an eBook; that’s my limit, but I made an exception in this case and it taught me an important eBook pricing lesson that I thought would be good to share.

First off, it’s no secret that Amazon lets you return eBooks within 7 days of buying them. In this case, I hadn’t read the book right away – I had bought it almost a month ago, but I wrote them and stated my case. I said that, flat out, the book did not live up to the expectation of the book description. Maybe it would at some point. There’s a chance that if I had “stuck with it” it might have. The problem is, most readers don’t “stick with it” – we get bored, we get upset that we spent our money, and, in some cases, we ask for a refund.

Book pricing, and in particular, eBook pricing has become somewhat of a challenge for most authors. We want to “make back our investment” in the book. I get that. But it’s a faulty book marketing tactic to price a book too high for the market. In some cases, in can’t be helped. In this case, the author was at the mercy of her publisher – who often overprice their eBooks. But in many situations, authors do this just because they can. Or because someone told them that pricing an eBook over $10 was a solid book marketing strategy for bigger book sales.

In some situations, this is true. But in the majority of cases, it’s not. The difference between a solid eBook pricing strategy and one that’s going to get you clicks, and not buys, is dependent on just three things. Let’s explore them:

  1. Quality of the book: Consumers are price sensitive, there’s no doubt about it. Even in a robust economy, we still like a good deal. So if you’re asking for $15 of my hard earned dollars (or whatever your eBook pricing is above $9.99) this book had better be the best book in its market. The best. Period. End of story. (no pun intended) The reason is because the competition is fierce out there, very fierce and pricing can often make or break the success of a book. So if you’re going to do this, you’d better get the reader hooked on the book right away. Hit them in the face with your smarts and your content. And while I never suggest that you publish a bad, poorly edited book, in the case of an ebook priced above $9.99, you absolutely can not wave a subpar book at a reader, ask top dollar for the eBook, and not expect to upset someone, or get a bunch of returns. Sometimes, in really unfortunate cases, you wind up with a lot of both.
  2. Know Your Audience: The other piece of this is the reader you are trying to target. (See this article on reader profiles to learn more, and download my free reader profile worksheet.) In this case, the book I returned was a business book. Studies have shown that business book readers rarely finish the books they buy, often getting through “enough” content, or just flat out get bored by the time they hit chapter three. Ingram/Spark did a great study on this for IBPA’s conference last year. They found that readers of fiction tend to finish books faster – some in a week, but business readers take their time, they are a harder sell. They require more from their books. Not that fiction authors want to read bad books, but different markets have different requirements. Your eBook pricing should be in accordance with market demands. While it’s fun to be an outlier and do things “different,” it’s hard to do this if you’re a new author, have little to no platform, or are weak on book marketing, which we’ll talk about in this article, too.
  3. You have other books: I would never, ever recommend an eBook pricing strategy of over $9.99 if this is your first book. In fact, I was teaching a class this past year at a writers conference and when I got to pricing strategy someone in the audience popped up and said she had just paid $15 for a fiction eBook – the caveat being that this was the fifth book in a series, she’d waited a long time to get it, the author had tons of credibility, lots of fan love. If this is you, then feel free to price your eBook higher. You’ve earned the ability to do so. But for most of us, with smaller fan bases, or in some cases none at all, it becomes increasingly more difficult. I’m not saying that your book isn’t worth being priced higher, it probably is. The question is, do your readers know this?

Finally, and this is sort of a bonus point that’s a bit twofold. First off, the higher you price your book, the harder you need to promote it. There are a number of factoids out there in the marketplace on this. The higher the book price, the more marketing it requires to get it out there. So price your book according to the market it serves – meaning, find what seems to be a happy medium in your market and situate your eBook pricing somewhere in that space.

If your goal is to be able to price your eBook higher, over $9.99 and that fits well within your market, keep in mind that this goal may take a bit of time. I’m not discouraging it, by any means. But remember that once you burn through a reader’s trust, it’s hard to get it back. In this case, I got through two long chapters (1&2) out of a book that was only 7 chapters long and decided it wasn’t worth it to continue – and I wasn’t wasting my money to keep it. But moreover, what an author loses in this case, is a fan. And a fan, as I’ve talked about a few times, can be book marketing gold and the key to selling more books to more readers.

I wouldn’t blast the author with a negative review, because I feel like maybe it’s just my experience with this book. I read a ton of books in this particular business genre, so maybe my take on it isn’t the same as someone else’s. I also don’t like leaving bad reviews, just for the sake of leaving a bad review. It’s a lot harder for the author to recover from that. But not everyone feels this way. Readers are vocal. They’ll tell you either with their voice or pocketbook where they stand. The key is: do your best to please both and keep the readers coming and sharing your work.

Tell me some of your eBook pricing successes as it relates to your book marketing in the comments! I’d really love to hear your experiences!

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In honor of National Cookbook Launch day on October 12, I wanted to highlight some important book discovery strategies specifically for our cookbook authors to use on their cookbook marketing journey.

Book discovery is challenging across genres, but cookbook marketing and branding is a whole other ballgame.

You have to be unique. You have to have a strong brand. You have to be relevant.

So ideally, before you even release your book, you’ve sorted out what your brand is, and what you need to do to stay true to that brand, and what kinds of cookbook marketing strategies are going to support that brand long term.

While this list could go on and on, my goal is to highlight 5 key areas I want all cookbook authors to focus on when they’re preparing for their launch and supporting their ongoing book discovery.

You Must Have An Audience in Mind

Saying your buyer market is people who love good food is like saying, “Anyone who can read will love my novel!” It’s too broad. It’s impossible to draw inspiration for your cookbook marketing when you’re trying to juggle so many different factors.

If you haven’t done a reader profile yet, please download my free worksheet. It will help you immensely when it comes to figuring out who to target with your book discovery strategies.

What if your cookbook is already out?

No need to worry! Even if your cookbook wasn’t produced with a specific buyer market in mind, you can still create more focus going forward.

This is where your website, your blog and your social media come to the rescue. Perhaps your book wasn’t focused enough. That’s in the past now. What you can do now is realign the rest of your brand to ensure you’re attracting the right people – and by the right people I mean the people most likely to buy your book.

You Must Have Amazing Imagery

Food photography is not something everyone is capable of doing despite the fun and sometimes desperate attempts you see on social media.

Be sure you’re setting aside a reasonable budget to get really high quality, professional images of your food taken, and use those same images to inspire your cover.

Books are 100% judged by their covers and when it comes to cookbook marketing, this really will make or break your success.

And when it comes to supporting your brand, think about how your imagery can play into this as well. Maybe that means images of kids and families enjoying your food. Or maybe that means setting up a cocktail party. If your presentation is something you want to highlight, consider having images taken of the process you go through to create your dishes. Step by step images aren’t necessary for every recipe by any means, but get creative with how you can take it beyond just the finished meal on a plate.

You Must Have Engaging Online Content

Publishing your cookbook is just the first step. Your cookbook marketing makes up the next 1,000 steps, and a big part of this is your online content.

You already invested in all this amazing imagery, so you better be using it on your website. But it goes even further than that.

Book discovery happens in a lot of different ways, and social media is definitely one of them. Food, cuisine, recipes and entertaining make up such a massive percentage of social media content it’s hard to even wrap your mind around.

So you can’t possibly stay off social media and expect to have a successful career as a cookbook author.

But this doesn’t mean you have to quit your job to leave bread crumbs of brilliance all over the internet. Use your reader profile to determine the best places for you to be, and this has a lot to do with the demographics of your readers.

People who use Instagram aren’t all the same people who use Twitter, who aren’t all the same people who use Pinterest, and so on.

Once you figure out which platforms your target reader markets prefer, that’s where you should spend your time – it’s not about being everywhere, it’s about being everywhere that matters.

Then you need to plan your content! And I suggest planning it to avoid rushing to come up with smart things to say and post.

Remember, the goal with cookbook marketing on social media is engagement. Think of social media as free market research, so you want to always think of ways to get your followers to keep the conversation going with you.

Maybe it’s your style to host a weekly Q&A for readers about their struggles. Or maybe it’s tips for shortening the prep work required for daily meals. The options are endless really, and I love a series, a theme, because it gives you focus and it’s something your followers can learn to rely on and come back for.

You Must Get Outside Support

Cookbook marketing is just like every other genre when I preach that you need to keep in mind that people like what other people like.

Think how many restaurants you’ve tried because someone recommended it? Or how many recipes you’ve asked for after trying something at someone’s house?

You have to take that connection people have with food and translate it to book discovery.

A natural way to do this is by pitching bloggers. Blogger pitching is a cornerstone cookbook marketing strategy because it gets thought leaders on your side, promoting your book for you.

Again, your reader profile comes into play, who do these people go to for inspiration, advice and entertainment? Those are the people you want to approach about featuring your book and hopefully doing an interview with you.

This is also another opportunity to highlight your uniqueness. You need to add value to the blog owner’s site, this is not a one-way street. Can you offer books for a giveaway? Can you create a special recipes just for their followers? Dig deep and make them a special offer and you’re more likely to get a yes.

You Must Get Reviews – Now

Generating reviews is a standard part of your book discovery strategy, of course, but it’s even more crucial for cookbook marketing because you’re asking for a much bigger commitment from potential buyers.

Think about it, you’re telling people you have answers to their food and dietary needs, you’re asking them to commit a good amount of time, energy, and money in purchasing ingredients and preparing food according to your instructions – it’s a big ask. Much bigger than giving a new romance author a shot.

So reviews are critical for convincing new potential buyers that you’re a sure thing.

Putting your cookbook up for pre-order is a great way to start establishing reviews. Get it up on Amazon so people know you’re serious, and then start offering free copies of your books in exchange for honest reviews.

Bloggers can play a huge role in this as well, send copies to bloggers in your market and request a blurb for your Amazon page and website.

Speaking of your website, create a page dedicated to reviews and positive feedback. Yes, reviews on Amazon are super important, but it’s not the only place to track accolades.

You can also ask people to post images of the meals they create and tag you on social media as a really fantastic way to expand your reach.

And if you really want to be a cookbook marketing superstar, have a fun freebie you can offer people for posting reviews or tagging you on social. Maybe it’s a special bonus recipe that’s updated for the time of year, whether it’s a Thanksgiving side dish, a new Christmas cookie recipe, an irresistible appetizer for a New Year’s party – keep it current, keep it special, and always make it about your readers.

You Must Be Different

The takeaway here is that when you start to plan your cookbook marketing you have to be different. I hope you’re ready for that challenge, because it’s rewarding as hell once it starts paying off.

Click to Tweet: Cookbook authors: don’t be average! Stand out with these 5 cookbook marketing tips. via @bookgal #cookbooks #bookmarketing https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6OR

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Welcome to our list of October observances and content ideas for your monthly author marketing plan!

Please read this NOW, because there are some really fantastic promotions that can be planned around a number of October observances.

And if you haven’t downloaded our Monthly Book Marketing Planner yet you can grab that here!

Remember, without regular connections to readers, you’re just another book on the shelf (literal or virtual) they have no vested interest in…so take the time to make yourself stand out by using our monthly observances and tips to create timely, interesting content with your own unique twist.

Here’s a list of causes and interests associated with the month of October:

  • Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Clergy Appreciation Month
  • Computer Learning Month
  • Cookie Month
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • International Drum Month
  • National Diabetes Month
  • National Pizza Month
  • National Vegetarian Month
  • National Popcorn Popping Month
  • Sarcastic Month
  • Seafood Month

If any of the above are near and dear to your heart be sure to show your support or your humorous bend!

These monthly observances are a great way to plan a series of content too. It can be as simple as sharing a family cookie recipe once or twice a week, to as impactful as dedicating posts to breast cancer fighters who have touched your life. A series of content not only gives you focus, the predictability is also something followers naturally gravitate toward.

Remember, content ideas don’t always have to stem from your genre or topic.

When it comes to author marketing and building a brand, ensuring fans and followers have ways to connect with you on a more personal level is equally as powerful.

How to Use My Content Ideas

Below are holidays and just plain wacky and fun October Observances in 2018.

We’ve also included a few content ideas and angles to help spark your creativity!

Remember, not all these are worth an entire blog post or article, but nearly all of them can be turned into a fun or thought provoking social media post or blurb in your newsletter – so it’s like getting triple the ideas!

Keep in mind, nearly all your posts should encourage your fans and followers to respond, chime in, share their stories, etc. so don’t forget to work in that angle. I mention it as part of my recommendations occasionally, but please know that encouraging engagement is always the goal – so never post “flat” content, always get creative with how you can pull others into the conversation, and easily.

Getting Started With Content Ideas

5 Do Something Nice Day – I love this so much, social media in particular can get so negative, let’s use these opportunities to share what we’re doing that’s positive, and encourage others to do the same.

5 World Teacher’s Day – Recognize your kids’ teachers, or call out a teacher from your past that really changed your life.

6 International Frugal Fun Day – Share your favorite frugal fun activity and why it means so much to you, inspire your followers to share their ideas as well.

6 World Card Making Day – Such a lost art! Take a moment to send cards to people you care about and remind your followers to do the same.

9 Curious Events Day – This is really fun and a great way to show your personality, find something that’s happened in the past and do a little research, share what you’ve learned, and shake up your usual content.

10 International Newspaper Carrier Day – If you enjoy your daily paper remind your followers to do something special for their mail carrier, someone you’d surely miss if they weren’t there!

Time to Get Creative with Your Author Marketing

11 It’s My Party Day – Share a win you’ve experienced lately, spreading positivity is just as important as venting, and you’ll have plenty of time for that this month as well.

12 Cookbook Launch Day – Celebrating all our cookbook authors! Sure, you may not be launching your book, but don’t miss the opportunity to shine a light on what you do and how the magic happens.

12 Moment of Frustration Day – Let it out! Connect with your followers, this is something we can all relate to and should be an easy opportunity to come up with some content that shows the blood, sweat and tears that go into creating the books they love.

13 International Skeptics Day – What are you skeptical about? This is another great time to let your personality shine.

16 Dictionary Day – What’s your favorite uncommon word and why?

17 Wear Something Gaudy Day – And take so many pictures to share on social!

Just Keep Writing Social Media Content

19 Evaluate Your Life Day – Oh wow, this can go a lot of ways, but I encourage you to use it as an opportunity to give your followers some additional insight to you as a person, not just as an author.

21 National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day – Have a double serving, and consider sharing your favorite fall-themed dessert recipe.

27 Make a Difference Day – What have you been doing to make a difference beyond your household? Share and inspire those who follow you and encourage them to go out and do something they’re also proud to share.

28  Mother-In-Law Day – This could be humorous or touching, or both.

29 National Frankenstein Day – Which version of the movie is your favorite?

30 National Candy Corn Day – Love it? Hate it? Post a poll on your social, people are in a festive mood.

30 Mischief Night – This is just a fun, opened ended opportunity you should capitalize on!

Halloween Has Arrived

31 Carve a Pumpkin Day – If you’re like me this was done DAYS ago, but it’s a fun time to show off your creations and encourage fans and followers to do the same.

31 Halloween – Share your traditions, pics of your kiddos if you’re open to doing that, some funny memes about binging on candy, your favorite horror flick, get in the spirit.

31 Increase Your Psychic Powers Day – I’ve worked with a number of intuitives over the years on some amazingly eye opening books, so if you fall into this category plan a really fun, engaging post or even a series of posts this month that lead up to this day.

The Takeaway

Remember, being an author demands creativity, and it also demands authenticity.

Coming up with unique content ideas as part of your author marketing plan is a great way to take your success seriously, without taking yourself too seriously! And these October observances should really help.

Have plans for a fun take on any of these ideas? Share below in the comments!

Love this post? I’ve made it easy for you to share with these tweets below!

Click to Tweet: Take your October marketing to the next level with these killer content ideas from @bookgal #contentmarketing #contentideas

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I’ve written a lot about reader profiles for your own work, I even have a free worksheet you can download, but it’s been awhile since I’ve addressed reader demographics as they pertain to media, blogs, and other reader-centric platforms where your potential buyers are hanging out.

Book discovery depends on not just getting your book out there, but getting it in front of the right people.

So reader demographics for magazines, newsletters and book review blogs are critical details to have on hand and should be referenced on a regular basis when mapping out your ongoing book marketing efforts.

Why Reader Demographics Are Important

I’m sure I haven’t informed you of anything groundbreaking yet, so let’s move on to the real point of this post – reader demographics change, and our assumptions can definitely work against us.

There are a lot of us who feel relatively media savvy, we read magazines, watch the news, click through to relevant blog posts we see shared on social.

So it makes sense for us to have assumptions about reader demographics and who reads what.

But we can be so wrong!

I was even caught off guard recently, and to be honest it changed how I promote my books and how I promote my clients’ books.

So if this can happen to me, I would guess you’re not immune to it either.

Important Insights from Bookbub’s Reader Demographics

The biggest example I have of this in recent memory is for Bookbub.

Because Bookbub is a discount eBook promotion newsletter and platform, I just made some general assumptions about who the subscribers were. Granted I didn’t have these written down in stone, but my general perception was that, sure, mostly women, predominantly in their 30s, so skewing younger, on their devices all the time, big time readers of mass market genre fiction.

But I leaned so much by doing some updated reader demographics research lately!

And to be honest, that’s what it takes. It takes consistent research to stay on top of your book marketing to truly understand how to spend your time and investment in book discovery.

Check it out, I give Bookbub a lot of credit for representing fiction readers in today’s market because they’ve amassed such a fantastic following. Sure, they don’t represent all readers, but it’s still great insight.

The Numbers Can Change Our Approach

Here are some exciting reader demographics from Bookbub that may have you changing some of your book discovery strategies!

Over 60% read a book per week.

Over 75% are women. But that’s down from 85% women in 2014, so their male reader demographics are growing a lot.

38% read mysteries and thrillers, only 9% read non-fiction.

36% are retired. This shocked me! I had no clue there were so many tech savvy, book loving retirees on board with this platform and I love it.

Over 70% are empty nesters, so people who have children, but they don’t live at home. Another shocker for me!

Over 75% are married or living with a partner.

Over 75% are 45+.

Over 75% purchase full price and discount books, so book discovery is not ruled predominantly by discounts, which is fantastic news for most authors still struggling to make enough money to warrant continuing this often crazy way of life!

Over 30% read both eBook and print books regularly.

Over 60% bought additional books by an author they discovered on Bookbub.

These reader demographics are really eye opening in general, but especially for what I thought Bookbub was all about, and it’s likely a decent glimpse at other online book discovery platforms.

As a book marketer, staying on top of these reader demographics means I’m opening doors to other authors and books that may not have realized these opportunities were out there, not just on Bookbub, but for online book discovery as a whole.

Even Women’s Magazines Change

Another recent example of surprising reader demographics research involved women’s magazines geared toward women with families. I wasn’t quite as surprised as my client, but it was an eye open call, and she learned a lot about her own book discovery and expanding her potential buyer market.

There are assumptions about a lot of women’s magazines skewing younger, so women in their 30s and 40s, either without kids yet or with younger children still in grade school.

It’s kind of ironic because the women I know personally in the broad group have very little free time at all, let alone to read magazines, but I digress…

FIRST for Women’s media age is 54. Family Circle’s biggest group is 25-54. Parents biggest group is 25 to 54.

Basically these all skew a bit older than most would assume, which again, I love. It confirms the diversity we know exists for mothers in today’s society.

It’s About Who’s Buying and Who’s Reading

Some of you may wonder why I’m focusing so much on reader demographics for women, and the reality is, women are the buyers in general, and that includes books, even titles that skew more masculine are often bought by women, even if men are the primary target readers.

That’s a discussion I have with a lot of my clients that write in genres traditionally read by more men, they’re often caught off guard when I include media that’s generally followed by women – and it’s because women are the buyers.

Book discovery requires both research and creativity.

You really need to understand not just who reads your books, but the avenues you have to reach readers, and how those resources are connected to your potential readers.

Reader demographics help you fill in those holes, they’re the clues and insight you need for getting your foot in the door with media and bloggers, and how to use reader-centric platforms like Bookbub and Goodreads to your benefit, to really connect with the people most likely to buy your books.

What You Can Do Right Now

So my homework for you is this, add reader demographics research into your next round of book discovery planning.

This isn’t something you have to do every month, that’s silly, but a couple times a year be sure you’re staying on top of who’s reading and using the media you’re pitching, the bloggers you’re pitching, the reader-centric platforms you participate on.

This definitely includes social media! The reader demographics (user demographics) on social media are constantly evolving and changing, Instagram is a great example because it’s seeing a surge in users due to all the issues Facebook has been having lately, and new users mean updated demographics.

Don’t get stuck wasting your time using angles, pitching media, or posting on sites that don’t get you results, do research on your reader demographics so you can feel confident in the choices you’re making to expand on your book discovery.

What are some surprising reader demographics you’ve learned about recently? Please share in the comments.

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One of the most overlooked book marketing strategies is adequately preparing for your book launch.

I know it’s tempting to give yourself some time to breath after the blood, sweat and tears you put in to getting the book ready for publication, but you really have to plan out your book marketing as well if you want the book to take off – and you want to avoid wasting precious time and losing out on those new release sales.

So first, download our free book marketing planner if you haven’t already. It’s really a great way to stay organized.

Then I want you to review the book launch cheat sheet I’ve outlined below.

For those of you who are thinking you’ll hold off because your book is already out – don’t fall into that trap of delaying your authorship education!

Having this knowledge and keeping these details on your radar for your next book will be invaluable, so start preparing yourself for a successful book launch today, whether your next release is next month, or next year. (If you’d like to know more about the best time to launch your book, read this.)

5-6 Months Out from Your Book Launch
  • What’s your launch plan? Don’t wait till the last minute to create a solid launch plan to work from. (To learn more, read this article about when to start your book marketing.)
  • Decide which magazines, media, bloggers or publications you’ll target and do that early! Get your list ready and begin your research.
  • Want endorsements? While they aren’t mandatory, if you’re interested in seeking blurbs from others in the industry, start on this early. Of all of the things I do when it comes to a campaign, this is often the trickiest because people get busy, or misplace the books I sent them. It’s a long process. Accept that, and you’ll be fine.
  • Interested in doing speaking? Pitch yourself as early as you can and mention you have a book coming out. It’s often more effective to pitch a speaker with a book because it’s an easy way to prove you have content people need.
  • Finish up your cover design. Ensure it aligns with what’s topping the charts for the genre(s) you want to compete it – if the look is way off (even if you love it) – I suggest working with a designer to come up with something commercially sound. Covers sell.
  • Don’t have any social media set up? Now is the time! And start peppering them with teasers, special announcements, and help them get to know you.
3-4 Months Out from Your Book Launch
  • Make sure your website is ready to go and you’re creating blog content in advance.
  • Pitching national magazines begins now, so do some smart research on which angles to use based on what’s happening in your industry, in our country as a whole, if you can align yourself with current events people care about you’re more likely to get picked up.
  • Order your bookmarks, business cards, or any other collateral book marketing pieces you plan to use.
  • Now might be a good time to refresh any branding on your social media sites, including header graphics, pinned posts, your about section, etc.
  • If you want to do author events in bookstores, now would be a good time to start pitching them. If they’re local, walk in and introduce yourself.
  • What about local groups and associations that tie into your topic or are popular with your reader market? Pitch them in this window as well.
2 Months Out from Your Book Launch
  • Your website is live and active!
  • National broadcast media is being pitched.
  • Newspapers around the country are being pitched.
  • Indie bookstores are being pitched.
  • Library pitching happens now too so walk in and introduce yourself and get involved in events, spending time around people who work with books can be key.
  • Distribution should be confirmed by now or started ASAP.
  • If you have an email list, now is a good time to warm it up.
  • If you don’t have one, create a basic landing page with a great giveaway offer or freebie to start collecting emails. A sample of the first few chapters, or a free worksheet, is perfect!
  • Set up a giveaway on Goodreads for print copies.
  • Claim your Bookbub profile and start making recommendations.
    If your book is up for pre-order on Amazon, make sure you fine-tune your Amazon Author Central options.
1 Month Out from Your Book Launch
  • Local media pitching begins.
  • Planning a contest or special giveaway? If you are, it’s good to get this out there early.
  • If you’re doing a cover reveal, this is a great time to share it with your networks.
  • Blogger pitching starts now.
  • How about that newsletter? Maybe it’s time for another update to check in with people who have signed up.
  • Consider scheduling a Facebook Live event on launch day.
  • Do your Amazon keyword and category research and get those included with your book.
  • Here are 13 solid pre-order strategies for selling more books.
Ideas For Book Launch Week
  • Social, social, social, focus on engagement, teasers, giveaways.
  • Try out a BOGO offer, and a few other ways to keep engagement up.
  • Post comments on any positive reviews that start coming in, let readers know you appreciate their feedback.
  • Get active in your Goodreads groups to gain some name recognition within your target markets.
  • Run some Bookbub ads that let you target popular authors in your genre.
  • Check in with any media or bloggers you sent books to, stay on their radar.
  • Schedule a discount eBook promotion to happen in a couple weeks to rev up hits to your Amazon.
  • Start filling out the next couple months of our free book marketing planner so you feel confident you’re not leaving any opportunities on the table!

The ideas for your book launch week and that first month really are extensive.

We have so many great blog posts with free ideas, resources and tips for how to maximize on your DIY book promotion.

And of course I’m always happy to do coaching with you if you want to brainstorm some really unique and fantastic pre-book launch strategies or book marketing approaches that really dial in to your unique needs as a fiction author or business building goals as a non-fiction author.

And if you have a word of warning for new authors, please post in the comments the ONE thing you wish you would have been different with your last book launch, it’s amazing what we can learn from each other!

Love this post? I’ve made it easy for you to share with these tweets below!

Click to Tweet: Here’s a pre-publication cheat sheet with everything you’ll need for your book launch via @bookgal #authortips #bookmarketing https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6OB

Click to Tweet: Looking for ideas in the months leading up to your next book launch? Here’s what you need to know! via @bookgal #authortips #bookmarketing https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6OB

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I get this question a lot, about the timing of a campaign and when to actually start marketing your book. It’s a valid question, because most, if not all book marketing advice blogs and books will tell you to start early. Which is good advice, but early can be relative in certain circumstances.

But in order to understand where this information came from, and how it’s changed, let’s take a look at how publishing timelines have evolved.

Most of the “start marketing your book early” warnings are ones you’ll get from folks who are involved in traditional publishing, because they have other markers that they need to consider. For example, if you’re with, let’s say, Simon & Schuster and you have a Fall release for your book, they’ll probably need to pitch you to bookstores in March. Meaning that you’ll have ARC’s (advanced review copies) early in the year. Bookstores and other retailers like WalMart and Costco need to determine what books they’ll stock, or won’t, pretty early on in the game, especially for a season as busy as Fall tends to be.

The next piece of this is magazines. In the past, magazines closed issues 6-8 months out, a magazine can only close an issue once all the advertising is sold for that issue. However, with advertising getting harder to sell, sometimes these issues don’t close until 3 months prior to their actual “on sale” dates and in some situations, they close 2 months out. But to be safe, I’d use 3-4 as a solid marker for pitching magazines for a review.

Exceptions to these lead times are big calendar events. Like Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and magazines that cover this topic will need their content sometimes 6 months out. A magazine’s Christmas issue is another one I’d pitch early, mostly because competition for space there is pretty heavy. If targeting magazines for the holiday shopping season is something you aspire to, you’ll need to start marketing your book to them early. I’d put this in the 6-month lead time window, too. Keep in mind any big anniversaries coming up such as the 20-year anniversary of XYX or whatever, will see a huge surge of attention and these magazines will need the information very early on, too. (Are you ready for big media coverage? Find out how you fare!)

Magazine Editorial Calendars

If part of marketing your book is targeting magazines, then editorial calendars may be your best friend. These editorial calendars, which are readily available, can be a great resource for you, too. They show the magazine focus for the entire year, as well as when issues are closing. Which should offer you some great insight if you’re pitching them. I’ll list a few below, but a quick search of the name of the magazine and “editorial calendar” on Google will pull up pretty much anything you’ll need.

Along with the editorial calendar, it also pulls up magazine demographics which is a good thing to check if you’re not sure. Demographics can change, so be sure you’re going after the right publications.

Redbook is by far one of my favorites, because it shows not only the “theme” of the issue, but what the various departments are covering. Check out: http://www.redbookmediakit.com/r5/showkiosk.asp?listing_id=4925437&category_id=18968

O Magazine shows their demographics, which I think is important for a magazine like this, since many folks say “I want to be in O Magazine!” Make sure it’s the right target, before you pitch them: http://www.omediakit.com/r5/home.asp#rates

First for Women, another personal pitching favorite has a separate segment for demographics and ads, which again will show you when a magazine is closing.

http://www.bauerpromotions.com/bauerpublishing/mediakits/FFW-2018dates.pdf
http://bauerpublishing.com/womens-group/first-for-women/media-kit/

To go into a completely different market, Popular Mechanics also puts a lot of work into issue planning and magazine themes throughout the year. Have a look: http://www.popularmechanicsmediakit.com/hotdata/publishers/popularme2610043/popularmecha7335/pdfs/media-kit-2018.pdf

Newspapers, Dailies, and Freelancers

So what about newspapers and freelancers who write for a variety of newspapers across the country? Well, you should plan on pitching these folks 1-2 months out, 2 months being ideal. They don’t have as much flexibility as a magazine might, but they do like to get stuff ahead of the publication date so they can slot it in accordingly. However, keep in mind that the bigger the newspaper or daily, the farther out you’ll want to target.

Here is a list of the top ten national newspapers, keeping mind that some of these, like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, are considered national and will have long lead times, much like magazines do:

  1. Wall Street Journal
  2. New York Times
  3. Chicago Tribune
  4. New York Post
  5. Los Angeles Times
  6. Washington Post
  7. Newsday (New York)
  8. The Mercury News (Bay Area, California)
  9. East Bay Times (Bay Area, California)
  10. Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
National vs. Local Media

There’s also a difference when you’re pitching local media, vs. national. Meaning that you’re pitching media in your hometown vs. let’s say The Chicago Tribune (which as I mentioned, needs a longer lead time).

Local media, in general, is fine with a 30-day lead time. And I’d recommend including them in pre-publication pitching, and post publication pitching, too because local media loves their local authors.

The other element of local media that I love is local, but not necessarily in your area. So, for example, if I have a great retirement topic, I might pitch local publications in high retirement areas.

National Broadcast Media and Radio

Ahead of publication date, I’d pitch these folks 2-3 months out, though 2 months is generally more than enough. The caveat to this is again: big calendar dates or big anniversaries of something historic.

Bloggers and Online Media

I’d put them on the 1-month notification list, but start marketing your book to them 2 months if you’re going for a very big blogger.

ARCs vs. Final Books: What’s Better for Marketing Your Book?

ARC’s (also referred to as book galleys) are early copies of a book, often they aren’t fully edited and the covers may or may not be done yet. Most of the time, if I’m pitching a book for pre-publication and I don’t have a cover, it’s fine. But I’ll be sure and go back and fill in the pitch with the final cover – not in an attachment – but a link to it from the author’s media room on their website.

If you’re pitching really early for, let’s say a December/holiday issue and your book isn’t done consider making your cover a priority in this case. Why? Because while a cover needs to always be good, often holiday issues are especially “pretty” and your book cover should tie into the holiday it’s geared to.

You can and should also use electronic copies, which can be a great way to deliver a book quickly and easily. We use BookFunnel for this, but BookSprout is also a great place to consider, too.

Should you Pitch Magazines for Review if You’re an Indie Author?

The answer is yes and the caveat is: your book had better be fabulous. We’ve had indie authors in most major magazines, TV shows, and newspapers. But their books were fabulous and perfectly suited to that market.

Libraries, Bookstores, and Distribution

This is another area that will require an early pitch. But let me stay up front that even in the best of circumstances, bookstore stocking in national stores is tricky, at best. Consider pitching indie stores in your area and check their websites to see how early you can pitch them. Most will go 2 months out. The same holds true for libraries and distributors.

Your Website

At the 2-month mark (but ideally 3), your website should be up and running and ready for business. Even if you aren’t marketing your book in advance including doing any advance pitching, you shouldn’t wait on this till the last minute.

Your Email List

If you have an email list going already, start to warm them up 2 months out. Just letting them know your book is coming out soon. If you have any special offers, start to whet their appetite for those as well. If you don’t have an email list, now might be a good time to figure out how you’ll start one!

The Long Runway of Book Promotion

It’s true that the long runway of book promotion has shrunk a bit. Where some places may tell you you should plan a year out, the reality is quite different. But regardless, planning is important. If you can’t hit all of these targets, then go after the ones you can and vow to start earlier the next time.

I often compare a book launch to the runway of an airport. The bigger the plane, the more room it needs to take off. The same is true for your book. The bigger you want your campaign to be, the earlier you’ll need to start marketing your book and get your jet on the runway.

What are some successes you’ve had with marketing your book early? Let me know in the comments.

Love this post? I’ve made it easy for you to share with these tweets below!

Click to Tweet: How early should you start marketing your book? Early is relative, but here’s what you should know! via @bookgal #authortips #bookmarketing https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6Oo

Click to Tweet: Marketing your book early is a great strategy. Learn how to do it right. via @bookgal #bookpromotion #marketingtips https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6Oo

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