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Why A Book Marketing Timeline Is Important!

by | Dec 8, 2020 | Book Marketing, Videos For Writers | 6 comments

book marketing timeline

You’ve likely found this page because you realize how much work it takes to have a successful book launch and want to do everything in your power to make sure your book is successful. Well in this blog post, I’ll share why a book marketing timeline is crucial to your book’s success.

Soon after releasing my first book, I attended a book festival. I listened intently as veteran authors shared their stories of selling 10,000 books in their first year of release. I don’t know if 10,000 is just a magic number, a number that resonates with people, a lie, the truth, or what…but it seemed like EVERYONE kept telling me how they sold 10,000 copies of their book in their first year.

At first, I felt incompetent. I mean how the hell had they sold that many copies so quickly? Granted my book had only been out a few months but at 10,000 copies in a twelve-month period, I needed to average 833 copies a month.

Meanwhile, I was selling ten or so copies a day or twenty to thirty copies at book signings. Yet these folks (according to what they were telling me), were selling that many copies in the blink of an eye.

Now that I’m a more veteran author, I have a different insight than I did as a newbie author. I understand now that by having a well-thought-out book marketing timeline any book can have success.

People will share their success stories (or horror stories) but won’t always share the amount of time and work involved (or lack thereof). It is not impossible to sell 10,000 copies or more, but the work begins well in advance of the release of the book and through having a carefully thought out book marketing timeline. Below I will share with you the components of a successful book marketing plan. By having a book marketing timeline that outlines your actions for your book over the course of a year, you will undoubtedly set your book up for success. Read below for what to include in your book marketing timeline.

Book Marketing Timeline


6-12 months before release

  • Create a website, author page, or blog and at least one social media account.
  • Begin engaging with your audience via your website, blog, or social media about your upcoming book.
  • Find out what your publisher plans to do as far as book marketing, so that you don’t duplicate each other’s efforts.
  • Determine your strengths. Are you comfortable doing interviews, book signings, and speaking engagements? Build upon your strengths by knowing your book. Being able to “sell” your book is crucial to your book’s success.
  • Research your target market. What websites would readers of your book visit? What groups do they belong to on Facebook? What magazines do they read?
  • Do research on book clubs, blogs, websites, and book review sites that could potentially feature you and your book.

4-6 months before release

  • Begin building your email list and communicating with your subscribers.
  • Contact relevant book clubs and provide copies of your book for review. Determine when your book reviews will be published and add those dates to your marketing calendar.
  • Research whether there are any upcoming book festivals or events relevant to your book’s topic. If there are, find out how you can get involved either by purchasing a vending table or by being a featured speaker.
  • Create a media list that includes potential radio/TV outlets and magazine/newspapers that would feature you and your book.
  • Create your book’s press release and media kit.
  • Set up Google alerts for your name. You will later use these alerts to further add positive press to your media kit.
  • Map out a promotional schedule for blogs you can write for, schools or businesses you can visit, and conferences you can attend that will further help you to market your book.
  • Create a marketing calendar. Your marketing calendar will include a day-to-day accounting of when and where your book will be featured  (i.e., websites, radio interviews, contest giveaways, etc.)
  • Plan book tours, events and signings (both physical and virtual).

1-3 months before release

  • Contact TV, newspaper and radio from your media list. Send media kits and review copies to interested media. Determine when your book will be featured and add it to your marketing calendar.
  • Contact blogs and websites that are going to feature your book. Send press release kits and review copies and determine when your book will be featured and add it to your marketing calendar.
  • Create and launch a book trailer.
  • Schedule your book launch event party.
  • Create a 30 second elevator pitch of your book.

At book release

  • Update social media accounts, websites, etc. about your book’s release and provide a link where the book can be purchased.
  • Send out a newsletter announcing your book’s release to your audience.
  • Run contests on various sites (including your own) giving away copies of your book.

After book release

  • Continue to use Google alerts to further add press to your media kit.
  • Continue to engage with your audience and encourage them to leave book reviews and share details of your book with their friends.
  • Be active on social media, making sure to thank anyone who has supported you.
  • Repeat any of the above steps as necessary.

When did you start the marketing for your title? Do you think a book marketing timeline is crucial to your book’s success? Please share in the comment section below.

NEXT: Book Guerrilla Marketing – Writers how hungry are YOU?

DOWNLOAD: Grab the PDF version of the timeline!


  1. swatibharteey

    Oh I'll be looking for that ebook!! thanks for giving us so much helpful info!

    • Stefanie

      Thank you Swati for your continued support!

  2. meaganfrank

    I started marketing during my research. I told people, "I am writing a book…will you answer these questions" That was seven years ago. The promotion has come in waves, and I anticipate plenty of work after the book is actually published. Your insight is valuable…you have a lot of great information! Thanks…

    • Stefanie

      Thanks Meagan! You definitely have the right idea, the best time to market is well in advance of release and seven years is a great head start 😉

  3. Lisa

    I am similar to Meagan. I am currently writing a book and every now and then I talk about it on my blog, facebook, twitter, and to friends and family. As of now everyone knows I am working a book. I guess I am dropping the teaser. Once the book is close to being completed, I plan on taking your advice and attending book events and conferences.

    • Stefanie

      That's the way to do it! It definitely peaks their interest and what you'll find is people will start asking you about your book more and more. What's your book about Lisa?


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