Creating Your Sales Schedule

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So many publishers and authors call me wanting to get into stores right away. I get calls in March from hopeful authors wanting to get onto Mother’s Day table displays. I hate disappointing people, but I have to tell them that stores choose displayed titles 5-6 months before hand. Stores buy books with a set monthly budget that is used up many months before hand. If you want to successfully launch your books into the retail marketplace, let’s take a look at the items you will want to cover in the months leading up to your publication:

Eight months before your book’s pub date:
Send your book’s data to the wholesalers, retailers, Internet companies, and industry databases.
Hire publicity and marketing firms or create publicity and marketing plans on your own.

Seven months before your book’s pub date:
Contact all database departments and confirm that your book is in their systems correctly
Create sales packages containing sample chapters, table of contents, a color cover, sales information sheet, and a marketing plan.

Six months before your book’s pub date:
Send sales packets to the wholesale and retail buyers.
Write cover copy and marketing plan for back of the Advance Reader’s Copy
Design ARC.
Send ARC files to printer.
Send ARCs to buyers.
Call buyers to follow up and present book information. Request promotion and placement for your book.

Five months before your book’s pub date:
Research potential promotion and placement opportunities appropriate for your book (front-of-store tables, postcard mailings, Internet ads …).
Check again to see that all databases have your book information and have it correctly.

Four months before your book’s pub date:
Send ARCs to reviewers.

Three months before your book’s pub date:
Call reviewers to follow up on review packages.
Buy ads and initiate marketing for launch during pub month.

Two months before your book’s pub date:
Send finished books to buyers with request for orders and updates on your marketing buys.
Participate in a library outreach campaign through your distributor or find a service that allows publishers to announce books to librarians.
Send copies of your finished book to companies, corporations, and catalogs that you feel best represent your book’s audience.

One month before your book’s pub date:
Call all key buyers and confirm orders are in place

This is by no means a complete list, but it will give you an idea of what successful publishers plan for and the schedules they keep.

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