How Early is Too Early for Book Promotion

My books and information are getting noticed. Some of you may have seen my article on getting testimonials for your book in the Book Promotion Newsletter today. It’s a newsletter I recommend for authors who have books to promote.

How many of you also received an ad from Amazon this morning with a list of recommended books? Catnapped, a Klepto Cat Mystery was at the top of the list. I heard from a few readers who received this. Let me know if you got it. In the meantime, you can order your Kindle copy of Catnapped—a cozy mystery involving cats (no talking cat). http://amzn.to/14OCk0W

I had a conversation with an author/friend last week about book promotion. She wondered how early one should start promoting his/her book. I told her that it is never too soon to start some promotional activities. She has been speaking on the topic of her upcoming book, she has a dynamite website up and running, she is handing out brochures…and she started all of this about a year ago. Only thing is, she still doesn’t have a book. People keep asking her, “When?” And all she can say in response is, “I don’t know. I’ll have to contact you.” Hopefully, she has their contact information.

This author has read my books, attended some of my lectures and even invited me to do a segment at her writers club meetings. And she’s heard me suggest that it is never too early to start promoting your book. However, I would further recommend some activities over others. Here’s what I suggest for authors in any genre/topic:
• Collect email addresses and amass a huge email list.
• Build a website and offer freebies related to your book. Have them sign up.
• Submit articles/stories in your theme/genre to appropriate publications.
• Join a Toastmasters club to hone your public speaking and conversation skills.
• Talk about your book everywhere you go. Ask for business cards.
• Arrange for a publicity photo to use at your website, on promo material, etc.
• Start designing your promo material.
• Get on social media sites—facebook, twitter…

Once you know your book will be published:
• Solicit pre-publication reviews for the library journals.
• Solicit pre-publication orders, but not until the book is just weeks from being published.
• Start setting up speaking engagements.
• Sign up for booths at book festivals.
• Start communicating with those on your email list.

For a nonfiction book, engage in the activities above plus:
• Conduct workshops related to the theme of your book, where appropriate.
• Do a little public speaking, but don’t cross any bridges. In other words, save the most impressive gigs where you have only one shot to speak until after the book is published.
• If your book is an informational book or how-to, consider establishing an enewsletter. Use it to announce the progress of your book as well as provide useful information and resources for your followers.

Yes, there is quite a bit that you can do before your book is a book, but try to be reasonable in your timeline. Make eager readers wait too long and they will forget all about you. And don’t use up the best opportunities—such as important speaking gigs with large audiences until you actually have a book to sell.

Purrrsonally Speaking

I’m revising my brochure to include Catnapped. I’m also rewriting some of my bios—such as the one going in the program for the Public Safety Writers Association (Police Writers) where I’ll be the keynote speaker at their conference in Las Vegas in a few weeks. Many of the members are mystery and crime writers/readers. Can’t wait to see how Catnapped is accepted among these professionals. News of a contest for animal writers just came across my desk. I may enter Catnapped. Busy, busy.

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