TO-DO List

One of my authors recently asked for a short To-Do List to help market his book. I’m including it in this Newsletter as it may have some valuable tips for you, too.

Book Marketing To-Do List

  1. Work on your platform.
  2. Emails: contact all of your friends once a week and ASK FOR FRIENDS.
  3. Facebook Author Page: add anyone you can; send out a message every Tuesday or Wednesday morning with a cool photo and a short message.
  4. Instagram: Be an Insta-Guru and post something every day if possible or at least twice a week with a photo and a short, short message like, “Did you know why brushing your hair is not just good for it, but it is RELAXING? It’s way old-school. My mother always said 50 strokes before bedtime. Why? She didn’t know but she was relaxing her body, enabling her to go to sleep faster and sleep better!” Use a nice photo borrowed from the Internet (or buy one legitimately) of a woman brushing her hair, or even one of your family members (from behind–don’t show their face).
  5. All of these mean you need to check your email, your Facebook personal and Business pages, your Instagram, and your website (make sure it’s up and running).
  6. Website: what are you lacking and where do you excel? Have a page/section listing your upcoming and past events which means PLAN events.
  7. Add an excerpt from your book: choose one. Offer the first (or even three) chapters free if they email you. This way you capture their email and put it in your organic list.
  8. Revise your bio frequently with a “blast from your past” to spice it up.
  9. Get more reviews and endorsements.
  10. Create a reader’s guide with discussion questions for teachers and book clubs.
  11. Keep writing your blogs. Post every Tuesday or Wednesday morning; perhaps a spiritual one on Sunday.
  12. Check out author websites to see what you like and make a note of why. You may like one author’s “About” page and another’s “Publications” page; keep notes so that you can incorporate them into your website.
  13. Business cards are especially helpful if you do a lot of events and workshops and want to offer such information as your e-mail address and phone number. If possible, choose a card that allows you to have book art on one side; some business cards are designed to fold out and look almost like mini-books. We can even create a mini version of a chapter and sell it for 99 cents on Amazon to actually advertise the real books.
  14. Use 4 x 6 postcards: one for handing out with or without a book; one for people to list their first. A postcard allows you to use the book cover image on one side and book information on the other.
  15. Create bookmarks to hand out with a photo and a short message and the website/Amazon. Create materials to carry with you everywhere. Bookmarks are useful in other ways; while you can’t fit nearly as much information on them, readers tend to hold onto them and share them, and many bookstores and libraries like to offer them to their customers and patrons.
  16. Carry around these items (bookmarks, postcards, and stickers) to hand out to anyone who may be interested in your book.
  17. As you go about your regularly scheduled life, take note of the visuals and products that are all around you like fliers at cafes and restaurants, bulletin boards, brochures, and rack cards at local businesses. Pay attention to which ones appeal to you and why. Collect the samples you like and keep them in a file so that when you’re ready to design your own materials, you’ll already have an idea of what you want in terms of color, font, size, etc.
  18. Think both inside and outside the bookstore. Booksellers are an author’s best friends, but don’t let this rule out other venues and other literary advocates. Libraries, universities, museums and galleries, and myriad other places can be just as fruitful as bookstores when it comes to connecting with your readers.


  1. Libraries are particularly open to author events, especially if the author is local and there’s an educational component to your book or presentation. Also, look for community or literary events.
  2. Seek out organizations that embrace your subject matter and see how you can help one another.
  3. Research book festivals and conferences around the country and see which ones you might attend as a reader, presenter, or instructor. Book festivals and conferences all have built-in literary audiences, and it’s also a great way to connect with fellow authors.
  4. Keep in mind that most festivals and conferences are scheduled up to a year in advance, so be sure to do your research early.
  5. When you do plan events, here are a few things to consider . . .
  6. Go where your friends are. Choose venues where you know at least a few people who will show up, bring friends, and otherwise make sure you’ll have a nice showing.
  7. Team up with a fellow writer. This will allow you to share the workload as well as the fun, and to broaden your audience.
  8. Try a virtual book tour. Whether you don’t have the time or budget to do a traditional book tour, or whether you want to supplement your in-person book tour, you can do many of the same things you’d do on a live tour in a virtual one: create buzz for your book, connect with readers, answer questions. But with a virtual book tour, you’re doing it all online with blogs, in interviews, podcasts, in a virtual book club or classroom visits, or via guest posts, instead of in person.
  9. The important thing to remember about events is that it’s not about sales but about readers. Often the true rewards of book events are not immediately evident.


  1. Offer a giveaway online with your blog, on Facebook, on the website, by email, etc.
  2. Try creating a book trailer.
  3. Everyday marketing tip: always be thinking of articles and ideas for possible guest blog proposals or op-ed pieces. You’ll want to offer something relevant to your book as well as unique in its own way. Jot down ideas for the top ten lists, for example, or take photos that will add interesting visuals.
  4. Use apps so you can log in to your social networks for quick updates while you’re otherwise engaged but not exactly “busy,”  such as standing in line at the grocery or waiting for a train. Always make the most of these moments of “wasted time,” which can really add up when it comes to getting word of your book out there