The #1 problem with your book promotion


The problem with your book promotionLast week at BookExpo America I got to talk with many authors and publishers about the challenges they face when sending their books into the world: professional design, creating a great book cover, book printing that is both affordable and top-quality, eBook conversion and distribution, reliable accounting and payments, etc.

Fortunately, companies like BookBaby are making it easy for authors to meet these challenges (and with BookBaby, all in one place). But book PROMOTION… that’s still (and probably always will be) the 10,000-lbs. dragon that each author or publisher must slay in their own unique way. Again, BookBaby can help, arming you with a suite of powerful tools known as BookPromo, but it’s still up to you to put those tools to good use.

And as you start to think about how you’re going to promote your next book, keep this in mind: the #1 promotion mistake that self-published authors make is to rush to publication without putting a solid promo plan together first. 

Big publishers often give themselves a whole year or more to promote a book BEFORE its official launch. Shouldn’t you at least give yourself enough time to send out galleys, get book experts buzzing (reviewers, bloggers, librarians, book-buyers, etc.), schedule your book tours or other author appearances, attract advance media coverage, set up giveaways through platforms like Goodreads, line up distribution, organize your online presence, gather together all your promotional materials, and more?

The time to start thinking about promotion is NOT when your book goes live on Amazon or iBooks. It’s too late at that point; you’ve lost out on a huge opportunity to build momentum before your book’s launch — because the book business (especially the media surrounding the book business) thrives on the newest thing. In the eyes of many reviewers and bloggers, by the time your book is up for sale, it’s old news.

So have some patience. Plan your promotion strategy in advance. THEN launch your book. After all it took to write it, your book deserves that kind of careful promo attention.


Have you made the mistake of publishing a book before you’d thought about promotion? What happened? Were you able to “catch up” and get some post-publication love from reviewers? Let me know in the comments section below.

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[Too Late image from Shutterstock.]

Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."



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