I am a fan of the old saying “the early bird gets the worm.” Corny, yes, but still very true and effective. It isn’t always possible to be out in front of the curve, but when you can plan accordingly it is a simple way to help ensure the success of your book’s publication. When hiring a book publicist, it is best to secure an expert four to six months ahead of publication–if you are publishing with a traditional publisher. Allow me to break this down.
Your book is in the final editing stages, or it’s about to go to press for bound galleys or ARCs (advanced reading copies)–now is the optimal time to have a publicist ready to start in on your campaign. Why? First of all your publicist needs to read your book, and work with you on a plan and strategy that focuses on the general target audience for the book as well as niche markets. When the galleys come in, you want to be able to send them out right away to the media.
Most publications, especially magazines, require a lead time of four months in order to prepare a review. The review copy has to be received, accepted, sent out for review, the review needs to come in, and space has to be allocated in that publication for the piece. Book review sections in newspapers these days are small and you want to give the editors a chance to take a good look at your book for consideration. If it comes in too close to publication and you aren’t John Irving, you may end up tossed to the side, just because of timing. Bloggers too will get “booked up” and won’t be able to give your book attention for the month of publication if you don’t get them the book with a good solid three to four months lead time.
Ideally you want reviews or articles about you and your book to appear when your book is available in stores and online, especially when there are special marketing programs in place that put your title front and center for consumers to see and buy.
As far as television and radio are concerned, there is a bit more leeway, but keep in mind that a national television show is going to need time to consider your topic and whether or not to have you as a guest. If you are not a recognized national “name” then it may take quite a while to get a break in a major broadcast venue, if ever, but you still want to have the time to give it a shot.
If you are hoping to set up events with booksellers, your will also need four months to book an event, and this chunk of time may be even longer if you are trying to get into a very competitive store during a busy month of book releases. Book festivals and conferences do their planning six months to a year in advance.
There is so much about marketing a book that is hard to quantify and qualify, but if you give yourself a head start, you will be able to get your book in front of the right people at the right time and if Plan A isn’t working, you will have enough time to shift strategy and still maximize the benefits of a publicity campaign.
Up next news and recommendations for self-published authors looking to hire a publicist…