Should You Really Market Your Book 6 Months Before it's Published?


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Thread: Should You Really Market Your Book 6 Months Before it's Published?

  1. #1

    Should You Really Market Your Book 6 Months Before it's Published?

    I've been doing a lot of research on marketing books and one common recommendation is to begin marketing the book at least 6 months before it's published. I could understand this action for traditionally published books. But it sounds too soon for those who self-publish, like me, as the book may not be good enough yet and some content may need to changed, cut, or added. One suggestion a certain site said was to blog about topics related to your book during the 6+ month mark before you publish. If it's non-fiction, that would be easy. It would probably work for me, even though I write fiction. However, my current draft has not been edited yet as I am not done writing it.
    I've had critiques for my synopses of this project I'm working on and have asked the editors to focus on content and not appealing to an agent. While their overall impressions seemed satisfying, there were some elements they pointed out that they thought needed improvement. So, I made myself a separate sheet from my synopsis about what I'd change. That has not been shown to anyone.
    While I hope the editor who looks at my current draft is pleased and doesn't think it needs more major rewriting (I've been working on this story for 3 and 3/4 years, so I am getting a bit tired of it), I don't know what they'll say. I am aware of the flaws in the current WIP, but I'm hoping they can be fixed easily.
    Anyway, should I really believe people who say that marketing a book should begin at least 6 months in advance if I'm self-publishing? I get that it takes time to build a platform of fans of followers and marketing too late caused few to no sales. But if you're not sure when your book will be good enough, should you listen to that advice?
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  2. #2
    It makes logical sense. I mean marketing a product is critical to success. Remember companies to this all the time even though they lose a lot of money they profit still in the end. It's all about image. I personally don't drink coca cola, but the ads are aimed to the young crowd. They know the psychology of parents, children, and different age groups.

    But for writing this makes perfect sense because if you write stories in a niche magazine it helps. I.e. fantasy in the niche you've written. Magazines are free marketing as are contests. It's the least expensive form of marketing. That's my recommendation for you. Before releasing it into the wild, try to get published in a place that publishes stories similar to what you write.
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  3. #3
    Does anyone know who you are? For people on your mailing list, sure. Tell them you have a book in the pipeline. But for just general advertising, nobody is going to care or even remember something that's happening 6 months from now.

  4. #4
    I see, although I've had probably more than a thousand downloads with my first installment since getting it perma-free.
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    Purchase my book at Hidden Content

  5. #5
    Six months seems excessive. I suppose if you have money to burn there's no such thing as 'too early'.. but I would definitely say marketing anything before it is essentially completed seems like asking for trouble. I mean if you're not even sure the work is finished, how do you know it'll even be done in six months? What if you have to rewrite large portions, or the whole thing? That's a hell of a risk.

    Writing is already pressurized enough, there's no need to rush to marketing a product prematurely IMO. Consider how many people are likely to even pay attention to a book (or anything, really) that isn't out for six months. That's a long time to maintain a buzz. I'd say a month or two of well-targeted, well-funded advanced marketing would be better than dribs and drabs over a period of six months. But it depends on the budget.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Does anyone know who you are? For people on your mailing list, sure. Tell them you have a book in the pipeline. But for just general advertising, nobody is going to care or even remember something that's happening 6 months from now.
    But that's more promotion than marketing. Marketing ideally starts before you write your novel: finding out about your target audience, your genre, and interacting with readers in that genre; what's your budget, are you going self-pub, trade etc, which publishers to look at, decisions over joining Amazon affiliate program etv (a basic marketing plan).

    But yeah, when it comes to readers in your genre and if you're more established, they do care what happens in 6th months.

    With promotion, if you're dealing via mail order with hardcopies, or with a big reviewing company, then yeah, the wait list can be months. I can see a larger publisher needing that time. With smaller publishing companies, I always think three months is good, as it allows you time to get ARC packs ready and also respects the reviewer's time. With self-publishing, it should ideally be the same, but so many authors nowadays expect the ARC to be read and reviewed within a few weeks, which I think is really horrendous for reviewing companies. It shows some self-pub authors have no respect for the time it takes to read and review, or the fact that there are authors in the line before them.

    So yeah, three months for me. That allows for ARCs etc to be sorted.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    But that's more promotion than marketing. Marketing ideally starts before you write your novel: finding out about your target audience, your genre, and interacting with readers in that genre; what's your budget, are you going self-pub, trade etc, which publishers to look at, decisions over joining Amazon affiliate program etv (a basic marketing plan).

    But yeah, when it comes to readers in your genre and if you're more established, they do care what happens in 6th months.

    With promotion, if you're dealing via mail order with hardcopies, or with a big reviewing company, then yeah, the wait list can be months. I can see a larger publisher needing that time. With smaller publishing companies, I always think three months is good, as it allows you time to get ARC packs ready and also respects the reviewer's time. With self-publishing, it should ideally be the same, but so many authors nowadays expect the ARC to be read and reviewed within a few weeks, which I think is really horrendous for reviewing companies. It shows some self-pub authors have no respect for the time it takes to read and review, or the fact that there are authors in the line before them.

    So yeah, three months for me. That allows for ARCs etc to be sorted.
    But that's not the question that was asked. It's about marketing a specific book, not finding a hungry market. Not trying to sell yourself as a writer to a potential market. Marketing a specific book. It's why I asked if anyone knew who the OP was. First-time authors have no mailing list, they have nowhere to send ARCs, etc. Saying "you've never heard of me, but I have a book coming out in 6 months, buy it" will mean nothing, even to people who might be interested. Thousands of books are coming out in the next six months. Nobody is going to remember an unknown author on a forum saying "buy my book someday". Any advertising dollars you spend at that point is just money wasted. That doesn't mean you can't be out talking to people, but that wasn't what I was referring to.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunaynaprasad View Post
    I've been doing a lot of research on marketing books and one common recommendation is to begin marketing the book at least 6 months before it's published. I could understand this action for traditionally published books. But it sounds too soon for those who self-publish, like me, as the book may not be good enough yet and some content may need to changed, cut, or added. One suggestion a certain site said was to blog about topics related to your book during the 6+ month mark before you publish. If it's non-fiction, that would be easy. It would probably work for me, even though I write fiction. However, my current draft has not been edited yet as I am not done writing it.
    I've had critiques for my synopses of this project I'm working on and have asked the editors to focus on content and not appealing to an agent. While their overall impressions seemed satisfying, there were some elements they pointed out that they thought needed improvement. So, I made myself a separate sheet from my synopsis about what I'd change. That has not been shown to anyone.
    While I hope the editor who looks at my current draft is pleased and doesn't think it needs more major rewriting (I've been working on this story for 3 and 3/4 years, so I am getting a bit tired of it), I don't know what they'll say. I am aware of the flaws in the current WIP, but I'm hoping they can be fixed easily.
    Anyway, should I really believe people who say that marketing a book should begin at least 6 months in advance if I'm self-publishing? I get that it takes time to build a platform of fans of followers and marketing too late caused few to no sales. But if you're not sure when your book will be good enough, should you listen to that advice?
    Hola Sunaynaprasad:

    IMHO, I think have assessed the situation correctly. It is hard to know when your book will be complete while you are in the writing/draft stage.

    You made good observation, to blog about your current book project.

    Once you have your Book Cover, you should be about ready to post your novel as a pre-order. Your book does not have to be ready to publish in order to create a pre-order. But, you should be ready to publish within a month, is my guess.

    When you are near this stage, you can begin to promote your book. I think six months is too far away from the publication date. Generate some buzz just prior to the pre-order phase.

    What is more important, to my mind, is that you continue to promote your book for months and years after publication. Obviously, the big push is around the date of publication but depending on the topic, you can find ways to promote your book over time.
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