Put Off Your Book Publishing Procrastination


1106 Design

July 22, 2013

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_dropcap]Y[/fusion_dropcap]es, it’s time for sunshine, warmth, and poolside BBQs. But if your goal is to give copies of your new book—hot off the press—as gifts to family and friends this holiday season, then it’s time to put away the flip flops and get to work on your book!

The following article by book marketing specialist Brian Jud provides you with a plan to get your book to publication. He helps you avoid the plague of procrastination by breaking all the steps down into smaller, more achievable tasks. Brian’s timeline is 26 weeks—half a year—but his goal is “Pub Date,” the date that you really begin to market your book to consumers. Keep in mind that, assuming your manuscript is complete, 1106 Design will need between six and eight weeks for cover design, copy editing, interior page design and typesetting, and proofing.

If you have any questions, Brian Jud provides his email address at the end of his article, or feel free to contact us at 1106 Design.

Have you ever thought,  “I have one major problem. I can’t keep a deadline. I don’t just miss deadlines by a few days or weeks, but by months! What am I doing wrong?” If so, you may have felt so overwhelmed that you didn’t do anything.

You can avoid this analysis paralysis and keep yourself moving productively toward the attainment of your goals. Creating a business plan is the best way to begin. But this can be a daunting task, one easy to put off. That can perpetuate one’s sense of futility and actually encourage procrastination.

Instead, try this simple technique. Make a list of all the things you have to do, organized in categories of similar actions, put a deadline on each, and start doing them one at a time. Use your pub date as the ending point, then work back to the present day. According to Eric Kampmann, president of Midpoint Trade Books, “Pub Date is not the same as Bound Book Date or Ship Date. Bound Book Date refers to the time when the book comes off the printer’s press. Ship Date refers to the time when your warehouse releases backorders and begins to ship your title to bookstore accounts, including wholesalers. Then finally comes Pub Date. This is the day when you really begin to market your title to the consumer. This is when you should begin media appearances, advertise or have display promotions in stores.”

Here is a list of actions to take, organized by similar action into five phases, and the approximate time it should be started so you reach your pub date, ready to sell.

1. The Planning Phase (26 weeks before your pub date)

It is highly recommended that you prepare a complete business plan. But if you don’t, at least set the general direction in which you intend to move and the basic steps you will take to get there.

  • Define your target reader, the typical person who is most likely to be interested enough in the content of your book to purchase it. How many of them are there? Where are they located? What are their buying habits?
  •  Decide on the price of your book, based upon the value your content brings to your target readers.
  •  What are your plans for your physical product? Will it be a book? If so, how many pages will it have, and what size should it be? What type of binding? Will you use illustrations or half tones?
  •  Evaluate distribution options. Will you distribute your books through the traditional distributor? Wholesaler? Retailer channels? What special markets—associations, government agencies, book clubs or schools—are suited to your title?

2. The Production Phase

The next month or two (four to five months before pub date) are devoted to the production process. Finish all re-writes and editing. Complete the front cover design and internal layout, which presupposes you have complied with all registration information (ISBN, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number, Bookland EAN bar code).

20 Weeks before Pub Date
  • Copyright your manuscript
  • Decide on title
  • Seek endorsements
16 Weeks before Pub Date
  • Manuscript to editor
  • Illustrations/photographs completed
  • Arrange for cover design
  • Arrange for text layout
  • Request for quotation (RFQ) to printers
12 Weeks before Pub Date
  • Obtain ISBN
  • Send for Library of Congress Catalog Number
  • Write rear cover copy
  • Complete bound galleys


3. The Promotion Phase

Promotion begins three to four months before publication date. List the general promotion strategies you intend to implement. Think in terms of the four parts of the promotion mix: publicity, advertising, sales promotion and personal selling. Create and place prepublication announcement advertisements (some magazines have 90-day deadlines). Produce sales-promotional items. Decide upon the trade shows at which you will exhibit. What direct-mail letters and sales literature must be written and printed?

16 Weeks before Pub Date
  • Contact book clubs
12 Weeks before Pub Date
  • Develop a list of appropriate publications/reviewers
  • Prepare and send media releases
  • Develop your brochure and literature
  • Prepare a press kit
  • Bound galleys to reviewers
  • Prepare and place prepublication announcement ads
8 Weeks before Pub Date (* denotes tasks that are ongoing)
  • Send announcements to key buyers
  • Take media training
  • Contact major television and radio shows
  • Send your press kit to interested shows
  • Phone call or email follow-up media*
  • Plan author tours, book signings
  • Final changes to printer
  • Participate in co-op niche mailings (PMA, etc.)*
  • Participate in book fairs and trade shows  (BEA, ALA, etc.)*
  • Contact magazines about periodical rights for excerpts
  • Contact magazines about serial rights


4. The Distribution Phase

During the two to three months prior to publication, your objective is to create distribution. Research and contact relevant wholesalers and distributors. Do not forget that separate channels may be required for marketing to libraries, bookstores and special markets. When you contact a prospective distribution partner, describe the comprehensive marketing plan you have in place and how your promotional efforts will support their sales efforts.

8 Weeks before Pub Date
  • Contact wholesalers and distributors for traditional and special channels (warehouse clubs, airport stores, libraries, supermarkets, drug stores)
  • Contact relevant associations, corporations, academic markets
  • Look into government buyers, military options, niche markets
6 Weeks before Pub Date
  • Send targeted mailing to specialized bookstores/outlets


5. The Introduction Phase

The final month before publication is devoted to following up and catching up. Follow up with your printer, editors, producers, buyers and reviewers to consummate your programs. Catch up by doing all the miscellaneous tasks that are required to meet your ultimate deadlines.

When your book is finally released, the real work of sustaining its momentum begins. However, the publishing process is more rewarding and productive if it begins well enough in advance, building steadily upon a strong foundation of strategic planning and effort.

  • Send review copies to reviewers and major media
  • Mail to catalog houses
  • Scan book cover for press kit/post cards
  • Target mailings to library/book trade publications
  • Research special editions of library review magazines
  • Send books to library review magazines
  • Send your press kits to general media
  • Sell books directly to appropriate niche markets, government agencies, academic buyers,  and others as appropriate to your title
  • Arrange local media promotion/autograph parties
  • Research/develop co-op promotion with bookstores

Is all of this still too much to do? Email Brian Jud at brianjud@bookmarketing.com and ask for his free automated timeline. This Excel file will allow you to insert your pub date, and all the steps and deadlines will be filled in for you. Or, just set up your own checklist, using the examples above as a guideline. Then take action and stop procrastinating.

Brian Jud is author of Beyond the Bookstore (a Publishers Weekly book) and The Marketing Planning CD-ROM describing how to sell more books profitably to special-sales buyers. Brian is the creator of the Special-Sales Profit Center, used by R. R. Bowker to sell publishers’ books. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT  06001; (800) 562-4357; brianjud@bookmarketing.com or visit http://www.bookmarketing.com.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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