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When do you Start Marketing Your Book?

Get your book really ready by following these steps:

1) You need a distribution strategy (whether POD or off-set - just the logistics are different) - how sad is it to create great buzz - and you don’t have your book anyplace where the trade and consumers can get it for your anxious buyers. Big lost sales and a waste of $$ on the publicist.

2) To engage a trade distributor (assuming you are doing print runs) you must have a written marketing plan for them.

3) You have to make sure that your product is top notch - or a publicist won’t take it - their reputation is on the line with every book they recommend to their media contacts. that is what you are really paying for - who they know.

4) You have to make sure that your price is competitive with other books in your genre or no amount of publicity will create the sales that you expect.

5) You need a good media kit for the publicist to use as a basis for the publicity she/he will create for you - or you can pay the publicist to do that work for you.

When I can "have it my way" - which isn’t often (<: - I prefer to work on the book at least 6 months ahead of the pub date - you really need that much time to get the marketing/distribution/pricing plans together, apply to distributors, get their paperwork done, get their sales team representing your book to the chains, the chains place their advance orders, you know how many to print and ship to them, they have to get them in stores - all prior to your pub date.

A website is another activity that should be done as early as possible - you can use it to begin creating advance buzz for your book, have a media room where the media can learn about your book (cover art, pictures from the book, pub date, etc.) and a place to post your media coverage as it comes in. You can post your Table of contents, a sample chapter, do a blog, and so on - lots you can do to start building that platform waaayyy ahead of the book.

You also need your publicist in place with your media kit to do pre-pub reviewers 3-4 months minimum before pub date (required time), get early copies out to large magazines with long lead times, and then when the time gets closer, do newspapers, blogs, websites, and short cycle magazines.

WHEW!!! See why it takes 6 months? Oh - and YOU have to follow-up on all this to maximize the impact.

My motto: No follow-up = no results

Of course all of this is predicated on your goals for your project, the amount of resources (time & money) you can devote to your book and any constraints that your life situation imposes on you (don’t want to do live appearances or maybe radio terrifies you, etc.).

So give your book a chance – start early and plan your marketing just as carefully as you planned your words on the page.

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6 Responses to “When do you Start Marketing Your Book?”

  1. mary whitmore says:

    Hello, Carol. Thanks for input on Margie Boule’s site.

    I’m teaching English here in Korea (I retired from teaching 7/09 in Oregon) and this is my second contract in Korea (first was in 2000).

    I have a dream: I was trained in the Riggs explicit phonics technique and I became a believer–a believer that this system could save billions of hours of learning time for native speakers and foreign learners. is their webpage, but it is not convincing.

    You have to see it to believe me that this program is 1000% better than any phonics program currently used in public schools in America.

    Why, after having “been around” for 70 years, is this program only in private schools? Apparently many states have “Textbook Adoption Committees” that are vehicles for the powerful texbook publishing lobby to control billions of dollars worth of “the latest and greatest language arts education programs.”

    I do not casually spout “conspiracy theory” but can you check this out??

    I tried to get my home distsrict, the Forest Grove School District, to adopt Riggs and I was patted on the head by the school board: “Thanks for your input, Mary. Next!”

    All my documentation is on

    I am trying for a break here in Korea to introduce Riggs. Currently, Korea is in a dilemma with parents investion billions of won over decades with their children not learning English well enough to “get ahead.” Only when children go to an English-speaking country to live, (usually Canada or America) do they aquire enough literacy to meld with the English-speaking world. Many must come back to Korea, bbecause this country is making huge strides toward “westernization.”

    Please talk to me!

    Mary Whitmore

  2. mary whitmore says:

    I’m writing a book, too, but have no dreams of paper publication. e-book is ok and more practical.

    I would like to know how to communicate with members of the Oregon Education Association–can you help?

  3. admin says:

    Hi Mary - I know that changes in education need to happen on many levels - your area of passion is one of a whole list. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to move the Titanic with any speed. The problem is that you need to get “people with power” on your bandwagon - your senators, representatives, OEA officials. This doesn’t happen easily, but it is what must be done. I don’t have any magic bullets that you don’t have - write to them, lobby them, get face-to-face meetings with them.

    I don’t think the textbook people are conspiring against you - they just do what they’ve always done to make money as publishers. Publishing is in crisis - watch carefully what is happening and you may see an opportunity.

    Thanks for being a concerned citizen - I wish I had some good answers for you, but I just don’t.


  4. admin says:

    Hi again…

    Here is the email for the president and executive director of OEA - I would start there.


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"And I thought after 40 years of writing, I could write a sales letter... WRONG! Carol White's letter went beyond my imagination and into the sales stratosphere. Thanks, Carol! " -- AD Walker