Book Marketing and Publicity Countdown Checklist Part 1

bllue check mark on yellow backgound

Marketing and publicizing a book can be daunting when you begin to realize all the many different ways you can go about it. How do you know what to do and when to do it? Having a checklist to follow can be a life saver. Much like a checklist prior to taking off in a plane, or a recipe when you begin cooking a wonderful dish, a checklist gives you not only the tasks to do, but a feeling of being organized and in control. It makes things far easier.


I have a six-month book publication countdown checklist I often give to clients who want some help getting their platform ready for upcoming campaigns. I thought this week it would be fun to begin sharing it here. So, let’s begin with what you should be doing six months prior to publication. And remember, your publisher isn’t going to be doing these things for you, although they will encourage and often expect that you will do it. If you didn’t know by now, authors are expected to step up their game when it comes to promoting their books. Let’s begin:


Six months before publication:


  • Create a list of 10 keywords for SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Create Google alerts for your name, book title, and your key words
  • Create your email signature that includes information about your book and a picture of the cover (If you have it. Add it once you do.)
  • Begin building your email list
  • Create a newsletter
  • Create your Amazon author page
  • Become an online bookstore affiliate
  • Start creating your book trailer


Let’s talk about some of the items above.


Create a list of 10 keywords for SEO:

Think about the person who would be interested in your book and its topic. If they were searching online to learn more about it, what words would they enter into a search engine? Brainstorm all the possibilities. These are your key words. You want them on your website, and in all of your press materials.


Create Google Alerts for your name, book title, and your key words:

Simply enter “google alerts” into your browser and follow the directions as to how to set them up. When your name or book title is indexed by Google, you will get an email to the article or place where it is mentioned. This is a great way to keep tabs on who is covering and talking about you. One caveat though: Google in no way captures everything, so it isn’t good enough for creating a media report on the coverage you’re getting. Just keep this in mind.


Create your email signature that includes information about your book and a picture of the cover (If you have it. Add it once you do.):

Your email signature is that notification at the bottom of each email that says who you are and your contact information. This is a fabulous opportunity to promote your upcoming book. You can say something like, “Arriving in November of this year!” or whatever is appropriate for you. Remember though: Don’t get too carried away. I have seen email signatures that are so long it is really off-putting. Don’t be that persson.


Begin building your email list:

If you don’t know about email marketing by now, it’s really time to do some research. Basically, in this day and age you can gather your own friends and fans and continue to market to them through your own newsletter or whatever gift you give people via an opt in on your home page. We are long past the days of giving away one free chapter of your book, however. Readers and online users are more sophisticated, so make it something really exciting and compelling for your market. After all, someone’s email address is gold — at least at this point. Personally, I think eventually email is going to go away, but that’s a few years down the road yet, so we’re good for now.


Create a newsletter:

A newsletter is a way to stay in touch with those people who have signed up to stay in touch with you. Much like my Savvy Sunday News. Be sure to send relevant information and try to make it interesting and not too long. Also, only do this if you enjoy writing and it would be fun for you to do. It is NOT fun to try to force yourself to come up with something to write about once a month or once a week (depending on the frequency you choose.)


Create Your Amazon Author Page:

If you don’t know what this is, look up a book on Amazon, scroll down, and look for where it says “More about the author” and then “Visit Amazon’s _________ Author page.” The best way to get to know what something is about is to go look at it. This is prize territory where you get to talk about you and your book. Videos can be posted here too, and should be.


Become an Online Bookstore Affiliate:

Simply Google “How to become an online bookstore affiliate” for tons of information on what this is about.

Examples of large online bookstore sites include:

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Powell’s Books
  • Books-a-Million

Link directly to your book’s page, not the retailer’s homepage. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to buy your book. The fewer clicks, the better. Feel free to include other retailers, such as local bookstores in your area.


Start creating your book trailer:

A book trailer is a short video on what your book is about. It can be you speaking, it can be made up of graphics; there are tons of options. It can serve many, many purposes. Before you actually have interviews to post, this is something producers and hosts and watch and listen to and decide if they want to extend an invitation for you to be on the show. It’s also a way for you to talk directly to your readers and potential readers. Google will index it so it will come  up in a search (as long as you don’t mark it as private), and there are other reasons that this is a good thing to do. Start early. What are your key messages? What is the tone you want to deliver, and get to work on it.


So there you have it. A Countdown Checklist beginning six months prior to publication date. If you have anything to add, let me know at joanne (at) joannemccall (dot) com and maybe you’ll be in the next post.


To your success!



P.S. if you want some help determining your market, and positioning yourself in the best way possible, perhaps it’s time for a Media Strategy Session with yours truly.






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