8) How will someone buy your book? You might say: Duh – in bookstores and on Amazon. Well, maybe and maybe not. As I mentioned in #4, bookstore shelf space is often occupied by books published through major houses, therefore getting space on these shelves can be difficult. Your local store or stores may stock you, but that’s never certain until the book comes out. I recommend that you offer your book on your website and if you aren’t interested in shipping and fulfillment then link to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or whatever online e-tailer you feel most comfortable with.
Additionally, consider other outlets for selling your book such as: associations, gift shops, catalogs, specialty stores, etc. Why do you need to know this information so far in advance? For planning first and foremost. You want to plan your sales strategy early. If you’re going after specialty shops, gift shops, or catalogs you’ll need to target them early enough so the book can run through their internal acquisitions process. How will you sell them a book that hasn’t been published yet? Print galleys (advanced review copies, also called, ARCs) that you can distribute. Even if the book is only 80% complete, meaning that it’s written but in the editing phase, as long as you have a near-final cover you are good to go. Galleys tend to be 80% close to the final book. They should be bound and look like the final book but should indicate on the cover (top or bottom) that it’s an advanced reading copy.
9) What’s the best time to launch? Timing is everything, especially in publishing. Fall is always a big time for book releases. Publishers tend to publish their biggest titles in the Fall, making this sometimes a rough time to launch. Rough, but not impossible. If you’re launching in the Fall you will need to start your efforts early. And speaking of that – when will you start marketing your book? As soon as you have the title and branding complete. Start early, often I recommend six to eight months prior to the book launch.
Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com