Six to nine months before publication, you’ll meet your marketing and publicity team to start strategizing your book’s promotion. Here are five things you can do in advance to help your team optimize your campaigns.
Once you’ve turned in your manuscript and squared away edits, it’s time to put on a new hat—promotion! Your marketer and publicist are key members of your publishing team, so coming prepared to help them get your book into as many hands as possible is strongly encouraged. (If you need a refresher, here’s a detailed breakdown on the differences between your publicity and marketing teams).
While you definitely don’t need an exhaustive list of names right away, it certainly can’t hurt to start thinking about your professional contacts, whether they are colleagues in your industry, friends with large platforms, brands or organizations you’ve partnered with in the past, or anyone else your team can explore for potential promotion.
Your team will usually ask you to start gathering names first thing, so if you brainstorm beforehand, you’ll have a great head start. It can also help to brainstorm influencers and brands that you don’t necessarily have relationships with but whose overall message and tone align with your work. This information can help your publicist and marketer think about how to position you during influencer and media outreach, and it gives them great creative direction for your campaign!
Think about previous media appearances
Speaking of lists, here’s another one you can start putting together ahead of meeting your team. A list of past media appearances is particularly helpful for publicists, who will use it to plan media engagements in the months leading up to on-sale. If you’ve been interviewed on podcasts, written articles for journals or magazines, or spoken at any events, be sure to include those.
If you don’t have any previous media appearances, don’t fret! It’s certainly not a prerequisite. You can let your team know that if media is planned for the campaign, you’d love any tips or best practices they can share. (Here’s one to get you started: How to Pitch Your Book to Anyone.)
Audit your platforms
Your marketing team is ready to help you grow your platforms to put you in the best possible position to promote. It’s incredibly helpful if you’ve thought about your online presence on social media and any websites you maintain. So perform an audit of your accounts and think about where you might need support.
Do you need recommendations for a freelance web designer to set up or update your website? Would you like growth recommendations for specific social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter? Be honest with yourself about your strongest platforms and your weakest ones, and come ready to talk through how you might like to grow in various corners of the web. Platform growth takes time, so to maximize impact, it’s better to get this information to your team as soon as possible.
Assess your bandwidth
The months before your book goes on sale are incredibly exciting, but they will also require work on both your and your team’s part. Think through your bandwidth and be ready to communicate what you are and are not able to do during the promotion process.
Do you have any scheduling conflicts that might hinder you from taking media requests? Will you need your team’s support to design graphics for social media and your website, or will you (or your own personal connections) handle that? How comfortable are you with posting on social media, and how regularly are you willing to do so? Your team will never make you do anything you’re not comfortable with, so it’s important to think about these questions and share openly with your team about what is feasible for you and what is not.
Keep an open mind
You are obviously the person who is closest to your material, and you will likely have thoughts on how you’d like your promotional campaign to look. Your team fully supports that and will want to hear your ideas—this is a collective effort, after all!
Keep in mind that your team will also have put some thought into your campaign before they meet you, and they might suggest some ideas you hadn’t thought of or that seem unusual to you. While you can of course say no to ideas that make you uncomfortable or don’t interest you, do try to stay open-minded and hear out your team. Rest assured that your team’s marketing and publicity expertise, plus your experience and knowledge of your work, will make for a great creative mind-meld and a promotional campaign that’s perfect for you and your book.
Your team is eager to meet you and get started! Following these suggestions will give them a valuable boost to get the word out and reach the right audience for your book, so start preparing—and get ready for an exciting time leading up to publication.
Neda Dallal is Associate Marketing Manager at Avery & TarcherPerigee.