Book Launch Calendar, Part 1

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by Laurie McAndish King

“Your book is really coming along,” my mentor Linda Watanabe McFerrin said. “How’s your launch calendar?”

My launch calendar? I don’t even know what I need to do in order to launch my book, let alone how long it will take or when to get started. How can I put together a launch calendar? “Um, I’m just starting it,” I managed. What should I include?”

LindaWMcF Linda Watanabe McFerrin

“It’s simple,” Linda said. Linda always makes things sound simple. “Just write down everything you’re going to do, and the calendar will take shape.”

After a couple of days of panic, I decided it couldn’t be all that hard, especially if I broke the plan down into small, manageable parts. Here’s what I came up with:

Way Pre-Launch, as in Start Today:

  • Write a marketing plan. My background is in marketing, so I know a few things about this:
    • A marketing plan will help me determine what goes onto my launch calendar. It will get me organized and provide a benchmark against which to measure results.
    • It isn’t rocket science.
    • I’ll need to allow plenty of time. Most things take longer than I expect them to.
    • This will require some thinking-through. Watch for a separate post.
  • Create a launch calendar. OK; I didn’t get this item figured out, but at least I got it onto a list. For me, that’s a good start.
  • Develop my platform. Platform—the word authors love to hate. This will also require some thinking through; watch for another separate post.
  • Get started on anything that has a long lead time. (What does this even mean? I need to do some research.)

Three Months Out:

  • Schedule readings and other author appearances.
  • Get blurbs and reviews.
  • Finalize manuscript and cover design (including blurbs);
    get book printed.
  • Plan PR.
  • Set up sales channels.
  • Plan launch party.
  • Create buzz. (How?)


  • Celebrate!
  • What else?
  • What. does. a. launch. consist. of?


  • If I’m going to appear on Oprah, now’s the time. If not…
  • Change-maker-belt Vintage change-making machine like the parking attendant guys used to wear at the county fair.

    Read at bookstores, libraries, friends’ homes, trade events, salons, on the radio, anywhere I can, and as often as I can.

  • Be sure I have several copies of my book with me at all times.
  • Have enough cash with me at all times so I can sell my book and make change.
  • Book tour?
    (Do I have to?)
  • Sell books.

I think that’s pretty good list.

Update: It is a pretty good list. And here’s a revision: Book Launch Calendar, part 2.

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