Book Promotion: 10 Steps in the Time Line

The chartreuse book promotion binder, brought emails from people who noticed that I called yesterday’s blog “Organizing The Book Promotion: Low Tech Rules” and grumbled that I didn’t spell out the rules. Ah, modern language. “Rules” in this case wasn’t a noun–as in “Six Rules for Self Promotion,” but rather, a descriptor meaning “Low Tech is the best way to handle promotion.”   I could have said, “I’m rockin’ it old school,” but it makes for a long headline.

Hating to leave readers waiting, here are the first 10 steps I’m taking in promoting my book, Raw Art Journaing: Making Meaning, Making Art. First of all, North Light Books, the publisher, just sent me a big pdf spelling out some things that help.  So. . . .
1. Read the information from the publisher. (4-6 months out). They know how to do this. Choose items you want to do first. You are more likely to start.

2. This is your book. It is your responsibility to promote it. (Always). I was surprised to hear people say they thought the publisher was responsible for promotion. To me, that sounds too princess-and-the-pea. The book was my idea, and my work, and the person who can promote it best is the one whose idea it was and who wrote it.

2. Make a time line. (4-6 months out). I will need to promote the book for a long time. I’ll want to avoid both overwhelming myself and burn-out from doing nothing else except promotion.

3.  Over-promoting yourself bores your friends. I’ll want to stay interesting by being interested in other people’s lives, books, projects, and classes.

4. Reserve the name of your book as a url. (As soon as you are sure of the name of your book.) Then make a website. I reserved and created a website for RawArtJournaling when I started to write the book. There are reasons for keeping a book title site separate from your website–if your business is very different from your art; if your employer would frown on the distraction of your book from work; if your clients would run if they knew you had written a book. In that case, promoting your book secretly creates a new group of problems.

4. Create or unite your website if it makes sense. (3 months out). Luckily for me, I want to attract people who would enjoy the book to my business website,  People who hate the book will hate a lot of my core values, and may not find my coaching, training values, or writing to their liking, either.  That’s a concept I have to be OK with: not everyone will like my book, me, my photo, my age, race, religion, weight, height, logo, or my values, and they will say so in their blogs and reviews. Meanwhile, I want people who do like my values, training, writing, book, and ideas to find everything in one place. And that’s why I’m uniting my business site and RawArtJournaling.

5. Identify with your book. (5 months out.) That means creating a signature on your emails, getting a business card with the book name on it. Since I did art in the book, I will create a set of Moo Cards with art from the book. Once your book is on Amazon, go there and create an author’s page. Link your blog posts or Twitter, FB or other social media to the author’s page.

6. Line up book signings and events. (5 months out.) In the case of a how-to book, it doesn’t make much sense to do a reading–although there are sections that are great for reading out loud (you’ll see!).  I’m suggesting to the bookstores that I’d like to do a demo or project. That makes it more interesting, and perhaps draws people who are interested and persuades them that the book is worth buying while they are there. I think if you aren’t famous  (yet!) it’s a good way to go.

7. Line up classes about the book at art, craft, or paper stores. (4 months out.) Same rule applies–people are more likely to buy the book if they see how it works through a class. I’m making sure every class I do is new, fresh, and fun.

8. One book store doesn’t do it all. In Phoenix, people live in self-sufficient neighborhoods–so within a three-mile radius of my house I have three Home Depots, two Michael’s and a Hobby Lobby, and easily a dozen grocery stores. People won’t travel 10 miles to see a book signing, much less 30, so I’m planning a lot of different events. People who come to multiple ones are welcome!

9. Plan some press coverage. (3 months out.) The press won’t know about my book. There are 200,000 books published each year. Only 5 percent sell more than 5,000 copies. I want my book to be one of them, so I’m sending easy-to-love press releases to local press outlets. I have to focus on summer items for immediate release, and pitch magazines for items that happen three to six months for now. And yes, I have to send images for immediate use. Low-res images are fine. It’s good to be contacted if the news source needs more.

10. Plan a blog tour. (4 months out). A blog tour is a group of bloggers who agree to let you write a guest post about your book, or run an interview, podcast, or mini-class on their site. You “stop in” at each blog over a two-week (or longer) time period around the time the book comes out. The purpose of the tour is to make readers other than yours know about your book. I’m planning on asking a few people I don’t know as well as people I do know, letting them choose from available dates, and preparing Q&As as well as being available to their questions.