A while back I presented an editorial/production timeline as for what happens to a book when.  After reading a great piece over at the Book Publicity Blog about the importance of an author having a website built prior to publication, I realized it might be a good time to post a marketing timeline as well. 

Most authors know that these days, they’ll be responsible for helping with promotion.  But what should you do?  And when? 

12 months prior to publication:

At this point, you should already be brainstorming ideas for your marketing campaign. Do you have any useful contacts in the media? Whom might you feel comfortable approaching to ask for a cover quote? What are you willing to personally invest to make your book a success?

9-10 months prior to publication:

Discuss your marketing plan with your editor. Editors present upcoming titles to our promotions/sales staff nine months prior to your book’s publication, and it is at this point that your editor should be able to relay what you have planned and what you’re willing to do to promote your title. This way, we will know how to support you and complement your efforts with ours and can plan accordingly.


7 months prior to publication:

Any sizable promotion, book signings and advertising should be finalized.

In addition, your editor and our PR department should be fully aware of those plans so that our sales staff has the tools necessary to present your book to their accounts. If you intend to send advance galleys to booksellers, you should do so now.

3-4 months prior to publication:

Send bound galleys to reviewers not being covered by the publisher. Please note that industry publications such as Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist etc. strongly prefer advance copies from the publisher.  It’s incredibly important to check with the publicist handling your book to avoid duplication.  The package should include a copy of the galley plus a cover flat and a short letter.

1-2 month prior to publication or sooner:

Finalize plans for guest blogging, online contests and follow up with booksellers regarding signings.  Get contact information for any local publications and pitch/send info to publicist to pitch your book for an article timed to run at release. 

Oh, and back to that website.  It’s not on our general timeline–though it certainly should be.  I’m a firm believer in getting a web presence around the time you’re starting to submit.  I like to be able to find out a little about an author before I make an offer.  Plus, it helps me see the level of commitment. 

As you can see above, we start marketing plans in earnest about nine months before pub.  So there are going to be in-house sales people trying to dig out as much info as possible for the booksellers.  We’re not talking racy pics or anything <g>, but awards, any quotes, interesting highlights from your bio, previous publications, that kind of thing.  As much as I love the marketing end of things, I have to admit that I don’t always think to ask because I’m usually too busy gushing over the book itself.

And by seven months before pub, the books are being presented to the booksellers and the promo kits have gone out.  Think about the number of previews I’ve featured here.  When I seen interesting cover in another publisher’s kit, I jot it down and then when ready to do a preview post go back and look up the author’s site.  If the author doesn’t have any info, it’s likely I won’t post about the book.

As mentioned above, the most important thing is to keep in touch with your editor and publicist about all your efforts so we can coordinate as much as possible.  Don’t ever worry about sending too much information.