Once you’ve completed the editing process for your manuscript to the mutual satisfaction of you and your editor, you’re probably eager to get started on promoting your book. And in the waiting period before active book promotion begins, there are several actions you can take to boost your presence and make for a seamless promotional process when the time comes!
The first thing you should do after turning in your manuscript? Celebrate! Take a breath and a break and recognize all the hard work you’ve put in so far. Once you’ve had a chance to regroup, you will find there is a lull between submitting your manuscript and beginning to collaborate with your marketing and publicity teams. While you wait out these few months, here are five ideas for strengthening your online presence so you and your team will be set up for success.
Mine your contacts
Start putting together a list of potential contacts that may be helpful in promoting your book. These could be contacts in the media, influencers, fellow authors, colleagues in your field (if applicable), and more. Your marketing team will want to take advantage of any potential opportunity when the time comes, so keeping track of your contacts and relationships is extremely helpful.
Build or restart a newsletter
Now might be time to dust off that underused email newsletter, or create a new one! This medium can be a great way to build a loyal audience who will be interested in your book. Email newsletters are also a good place to get creative and personal—some authors share their favorite baking recipes, television recommendations, and personal anecdotes as a way of building rapport with readers. Whether you’re beginning from scratch or restarting a newsletter that you haven’t used much lately, you can use it to drum up buzz about your upcoming title. It could take time to build up an email following, so the earlier you get started, the better.
You might consider a site like Substack, TinyLetter, or Constant Contact to host your newsletter (and there are many more to choose from). We’ll be going into further detail about how to start and maintain a newsletter in the coming months, but for now, take a look at one of our previous articles for more on how to effectively reach readers with your email newsletter.
Build up your social media platforms
A word to the wise: Stay active on your social accounts during the waiting period. Social media is a surefire way to keep in touch with your growing audience and remind them about your book. Keep an eye out for articles and content related to your genre or the topic of your book to share when appropriate. Participate in trends when you can and get in on the latest memes (more on that in this article about being reactive on social media). Post news about your book, talk about other great recent reads, or, really, post about any bookish thing that’s on your mind.
Note that you don’t need to get personal on social media. We know sharing details about yourself online is not for everyone, so if you would rather post only about your book or things in that vein, you should absolutely feel empowered to do so. To get extra bookish on social media, make sure you follow your imprint on all channels and tag it in your book posts.
Finally, consider not only engaging with your existing followers, but also following and engaging with people with whom you’d like to build relationships in advance of the book. The goal is not just to grow a following but to build genuine connections so that when you announce the book, you’ll have a whole group of people ready to come out in support.
Focus on your website
If your website could use updates or a design refresh, or if you don’t have a website at all but have been wanting to create one, now would be a perfect time to get started. Some things to add to your website, whether you’re refreshing it or creating it anew: the most up-to-date contact information for you and any members of your team, relevant news or press about your book, a bio that gives a quick summary of your credits and accomplishments, and links to your social media and/or email newsletter.
There are many user-friendly website builders out there—Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress are all great options, but there are plenty of others that may better suit your needs.
Experiment with new platforms
The waiting period could also be the right time to explore online communities you’ve been curious about. Platforms like TikTok and Clubhouse are still very new on the scene, so you might consider getting in on the ground floor and learning what they have to offer. Other relevant platforms might also be worth exploring—you could create Pinterest boards for your book or characters, or even put together a Spotify playlist that gets at the heart of your story.
For ideas on how to get started with TikTok specifically, check out our recent article on that exact subject!
We recognize that these tips involve a lot of time and energy, so if it makes sense to focus on just one or two action items, that’s great, too. No matter what you decide to do during the waiting period, remember that building your online presence now will set you up for success in the long haul. For more ideas on how to build momentum before promotion begins for your title, check out some of our other popular articles:
- Five Things Authors Can Do to Support Their Marketers
- How to Hone Your Virtual Speaking Skills
- How to Pitch Your Book to Anyone
Neda Dallal is Senior Associate, Author Development at Penguin Random House.