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Why A Pre-Publication Marketing Plan is Important Part 1

You’ve slaved for hours, weeks, months and finally, your book is written. You’ve made it relatively unscathed through the editing process and made the decision to self-publish your book. You’ve done your research on all the options open to you, chosen a company, got the cover how you want it and the layout is up to scratch. It’s time to go to press, yes? No.

Some of the questions asked most frequently by authors include:

My book started off really well but, all of a sudden my sales have fallen. Why has this happened?

I got some fantastic reviews for my book but I’m not getting any new sales. Why does this happen?

I sent more than a hundred press kits out but I didn’t get a single sale as a result. Why?

There is one thing that each situation has in common, along with hundreds of other similar situations – they don’t have a pre-publication plan in place.

Books do not sell themselves, although some authors can’t seem to grasp this simple fact.

Sadly, the reality is that a high percentage of authors who self-publish don’t anticipate this fact until the damage is done. Their budget has been spent without a single glance at the big picture and that picture most definitely includes having a selling plan in place BEFORE your book goes to press. The effort you put in, or not as the case may be, can make you or break you.

How do you draw up a pre-publication plan? With these simple steps:

Step One – Target your audience

Find out where they go shopping, how much money they spend, what competition you are up against and how you can reach them.

Step Two – Draw up your objectives and goals

These usually fall into five categories:


Are you going to do any book signings, interviews, radio/tv shows or tours? You need enough press material and enough printed copies of your book for everything.

Pre-Publication Reviews:

Get your reviews lined up – these are the professional ones published in magazines and newspapers.

Make sure you know the submission guidelines and can stick to the schedules, policies, and deadlines. If the guidelines say that self-published work isn’t accepted, don’t waste time sending an ARC. Make sure you include the cost of the ARCs to your budget.


Do your research on distribution methods. Some stores, both physical and digital, will not stock a title that isn’t being carried by one of the large distribution centers. And don’t forget to add the costs in your budget.

Publicity and Marketing

Are you intending to hire someone to help you? Make sure it's before you put the book to press. You should figure on a campaign of about three to six months and don’t forget to put it in your budget! If you are planning to do it all yourself, you need to do some serious homework on how to do it successfully.

Post-Publication Reviews

Don’t forget; you want reviews after your book has been published. Consumers are fickle things in that they won’t necessarily buy a book loaded with all good reviews and don’t always turn a book away because it has unprofessional reviews. They will take both into account.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds