There’s this thing lurking in the author community. It’s a little bit of misinformation. Not the malicious or deviant kind. In fact, most of the time it’s given with the best of intentions. However, it’s still not accurate.
One the most common questions I get as a book marketer is “When should I start marketing?” and the normal answer, others like to give is “When the book is done.”. That makes a lot of sense and takes a load off the people who hate marketing anyway but if you want your first book to make a splash and reach a lot of readers, then that’s a huge mistake. Unless you’re comfortable sitting on it for a few years while you build up your platform.
If you’ve already waited until the book is out and now your starting to panic, please don’t. Just hop on over to my series Book Marketing 101 and start there. It’s never too late to start marketing, but your book will be a slower burn than if you started sooner.
So, when should you start marketing?
After launching my first book and getting only a handful of sales, I realized you need to start before the launch but I had no idea when. So, I asked the guy who’s been doing it for ten years. Tim Grahl, I know I talk about him a lot but it’s not everyday I get to learn from someone who literally launches books to the top of the bestseller lists for a living so I milked the experience for all it was worth and now I’m sharing.
His answer? In a perfect world, you would start marketing two years before the launch of the book. That means building your platform, not spending money on ads and wasting time on social media.
It means blogging or creating some kind of content, doing outreach, and building your email list so that when it’s time to launch your book, you have connections with influencers and fans. Two key elements to a successful launch.
Authors tend to lose their cool at this point in the conversation. How can you possible do all that and still write? Especially if you have a day job? The answer is the same every time. If you want this, you’ll find the time. I’m not a stranger to having a day job that’s draining. When I started this I worked insane shifts at Target and I used to get up at 2 AM to get my writing done. I’d work on school work in the evenings after I put the kids to bed and I’d clean the house on Saturdays. You need to look at your schedule and see how you can make this happen. Here’s what worked best for me (I say worked because I injured my foot and have had to make adjustments) I got up at 5 AM, did a thirty minute workout, took a quick shower and was dressed and drinking coffee by 6. I then wrote until my kids got up and then we did breakfast and got them ready for the day. In the afternoon when they had down time (this was when school was out but would have worked while I was homeschooling as well) I’d do my marketing and other administrative tasks and clean the house. Then it was time to get dinner on the table and bath the kids before bed. Then I got to sit down with a beer and watch some TV. I could also use this time to write if I wanted to but giving myself permission to not write or work has helped me avoid burnout. Don't forget to look for ways to avoid burnout.
OK, now that you’re thinking about when you can fit things into your day, let’s talk about what you should be doing during any given week. Now, I like to take entire tasks and fit them into one day. You can also break them up over a couple days do what works for you.
Are you looking for help with your platform and book marketing? Marissa is now scheduling free publishing consultations! Click here to learn more.