The best time to generate publicity and sales for your book is when it is first released, and you can also combine this with your book launch if you are having one.
As well as being a celebration, a launch is a great way to generate interest in your book. You can send out a media release promoting your launch. You can even turn it into an event: if you’ve written a cook book, do a cooking demonstration. If you’ve written a book about architecture, hold the launch in a heritage building and give people a tour.
Celebrities can be another great hook. If you don’t know any celebrities, nothing is stopping you contacting one to see if they’re interested – just send them a copy of your book and tell them about the launch. Your chances are probably slim but it’s worth a try. Or, you might be able to pay them to appear.
The launch is also a great chance to sell books. You can invite a bookshop to the launch to handle this side of things if you like, but keep in mind that you will be giving up a large percentage of your profit on each sale if you do this. For this reason, authors sometimes choose to organise book sales at the launch themselves.
You need to approach the media in advance as well. Daily media needs to be approached a few days to a week in advance, weekly media at least a few weeks in advance, and monthly media at least six or eight weeks – or even more – in advance of the release date of your book. This is true for traditional and online media, including blogs.
Of course, your priority might be simply to get your book out as quickly as you can, and that’s fine too. You can still use events and dates such as the above to promote your book when the time comes.
Getting pre-orders for your book before it is launched can be a great way to get sales, and it also helps you manage and pay for your print run.
I’ve already mentioned that having your ISBN and cover as early as you can is a good idea, and obtaining pre-orders is one of the reasons. Once you have the cover, price, ISBN and some comprehensive information about your book, you can start taking orders on your website.
Because people can’t actually see the book yet, it can be helpful to give them an incentive to pre-order. So, consider offering a discount or free postage, or give away one of your other products with each copy of the book.
If you have a bookshop distributor, they will also start taking pre-orders for you from bookshops before the release date.