Saturday, February 20, 2010

Timeline and Checklist for YA or MG Book Release

I wrote this checklist up about 6 months ago, as I pondered all the things I needed to do to prepare for the release of my third YA, CHASING BROOKLYN. I'd been through a book release before, but realized I could make it easier on myself if I put the things that needed to be done in some kind of organized manner.

I was looking it over recently, thinking about my next upcoming book, my first middle-grade novel, IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES, and I thought, I bet others would find it helpful - I should share it on my blog! So, I added some helpful information, and I'm sharing!

Please note: do not feel like you have to do EVERYTHING on this list. Pick what you WANT to do, and what you think will work best for your book and do those things. I promise, you are not a failure if you don't want to do all of the things listed. I've included everything I could think of because that way, we have many opportunities from which to choose from.

If I've missed anything, please do let me know, and I'll add it!

And yes, you may print for your own use - enjoy!


Checklist for months leading up to book release
by Lisa Schroeder

Six months prior

o Look into speaking opportunities at conferences that will fall in the months after your book is released. They often have opportunities to sell and sign books, so it’s a great way to get out there, meet people and sell books. Once you find these opportunities, you often have to submit a proposal, and there are deadlines, so it’s good to start looking pretty far in advance.

o Get bookmarks and/or postcards made (once cover is finalized) and start handing them out as you can to let people know about your book(s). This is ongoing up through release date and beyond.

o If you don’t have a web site, now is the time to put the wheels in motion! Don’t have the skills yourself? You’ll want to spend time researching other authors’ web sites, and when you find one you like, take a look at the designer’s site and start making a list of designers to contact. If you already have a web site, how long has it been since you’ve updated the information? Fresh content is important!

o Does your book have an angle that would be good for a web site of its own? If so, that should also be created now.

o Line up a videographer and send manuscript or questionnaire for the making of a book trailer, if this is something you want to do.

Three - Four months prior

o Touch base with the in-house publicist. Ask what he/she plans to do and how you might assist with the efforts.

o Work on blog tour and get hosts lined up. Figure out when you want questions sent, how you want to handle prizes, if there will be prizes, and all the other necessary details.

o Schedule your book release party at a book store, or a fun location where a book store might be willing to come and sell books.

o Schedule book signings in nearby towns, if possible during the first month. Your publicist may want to help with this.

o Think about teaming with other authors for book events and approach them about your idea to do group events.

o Look into other swag you may want to do for your book – buttons, t-shirts, lip gloss, etc.

o Forward any ARC requests to the publicist

o Begin gathering addresses of nearby school librarians, language arts teachers, etc. for mailings the month before your signing.

o If your book would work well in schools, work on making a teacher’s guide or seek someone out who helps authors make these for a fee. Post to your web site when done.

Two months prior

o Put a call out for a street team. Send postcards, bookmarks, other swag to a certain number of people who are willing to talk up the book to their friends, teachers, librarians, etc. Make them feel special, perhaps give a little gift for helping!

o If you are willing to do Skype visits, join the skype author network.

o Create an on-line press kit, and get this uploaded to your site.

o Start preparing press releases and figure out where to send them.

o Make sure your web site has a good, up-to-date bio.

One month prior

o Do some informational blog posts that will hopefully drive people to your blog, but which have nothing to do with your book. Some of the best promotion is simply getting your name out there by offering up helpful information to other people.

o If you want to have contests to bring attention to your book, start planning them here.

o Send out postcards or letters to school librarians and teachers in your area letting them know about your book, school visit availability, and your scheduled book signings.

o Make sure to tweet and blog about any good reviews your book gets, especially from well-known publications.

o Look for volunteers to hand out bookmarks and postcards. Drop some by your local school libraries.

o Ask people who read and review the book to post the reviews on Amazon and goodreads for further exposure.

o If your book signing will include a talk, start preparing that now, and decide where in the book you’ll read. 5-10 minutes of reading is PLENTY. Anything more than that, and you lose people.

The month of the release

o Have fun! Enjoy this time! Go to your book signings and other events knowing you did everything could in the months preceding the release to help give your book a fabulous start!


  1. This is wonderful, Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Oh, thanks! This is so fabulously helpful!

  3. What a great idea! Thanks for posting.

  4. that is a lot of planning! wow. and here i thought all you had to do was write a book! and then sell it.

  5. Thank you for this! I'm printing this list out now in preparation for the next few months. :-)

  6. So cool! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us first-timers, Lisa.

  7. Hm. plan to sit back and stare at my book and dream of big sales numbers seems like it might need some work... :)

  8. Also, you said this was for YA and MG books only, but I didn't think it was that specific. There are definitely a few things I wrote down, and I'm doing ye ol adult fiction!

  9. This is fabulous, Lisa. Now I am terrified. O_o

  10. WOw, thanks for this list! It's so helpful -- and also thrilling and terrifying ... I can't wait to put this list into action myself :)

  11. Thanks for sharing, Lisa! So helpful.

  12. Holy crap is this awesome. Thank you so much! I'm bookmarking this for us to look at in a few months. It sort of hurts my head to look at it all, but how great to have it all in one place.

  13. This is so helpful - I'm printing out right now!

  14. I think I'm in love. Whatever made you decide to give this gift to debut authors...thank you!!

  15. You are welcome everyone!! Glad you find it helpful, really and truly!!

  16. Wow, Lisa! This is an incredible list. Thank you so much for sharing.

  17. Great ideas. I would add a 'Prior to six months' entry that would include; "Pick a marketing platform that can follow your book throughout the Internet and release through publication lifecycle".

    Doing this first will provide a mechanism for leveraging all future marketing efforts (i.e., videos, blogs, Tweets, etc.) by feeding the fresh content back to all distribution points (i.e., blog articles, retail points of sale, fan websites, etc.). Image that first pre-release blog article about your upcoming book always having fresh content (real-time Tweets, latest blog postings, new videos, etc.)!

    Chris Glennon

  18. What a helpful post! I'm going to save this for when I actually have a book to release :)

  19. Thanks for posting this Lisa. As a debut author, I often feel pretty overwhelmed and not sure what I need to do next. I appreciate you posting this to the teenlit authors group.

  20. Fantastic list! Visiting from teenlitauthors. I'll plan to blog about your blog in the near future & send readers to this wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your hard-earned knowledge!


  21. Lisa - thanks so much for this - not just posting it in the first place, but for bringing it back to our attention. My book comes out in less than 11 months (meep!) and this is exactly what I need!

  22. Lindsay Leavitt just referred to this post on her video at Write On Con. I'm glad I found it. If/when I get to publication, I'll have some idea of what to do.

  23. Thank you for the amazing tips, Lisa!

  24. I love this, Lisa. I'm going to be referring to it in the upcoming months so I don't let stuff fall through the cracks!

  25. I love this, Lisa! I'm going to be referring to it in the upcoming months so I don't let as much stuff fall through the cracks this time.

  26. Excellent checklist! :) I always have fun designing sites for authors. :)

  27. This is wonderful! And very timely for me. My book, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, is going to be published in June. This is just the information I needed! Thanks so much.

  28. Thanks so much for sharing this great information! It's just what I needed with my debut MG (FROM THE GRAVE) coming out in 2016. Thanks again!

  29. Hello Lisa...I'm coming late to this party...but your information is JUST what I needed right now. With my nonfiction pb launching in March 2017, this is the perfect time for me to set your tips in motion. Much appreciated! And all good wishes for the success of your books!