Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Do Authors Plan Two Moves Ahead?

I used to enjoy playing chess. It is not a game of luck — there are no dice, get out of jail cards, or random events. It is all skill. The rules are clear. The battle area is contained. It is a one-on-one contest. Outsmart your opponent and you win. To be victorious you often have to think several moves in advance, using your current move to set things up. An author’s book marketing approach should be viewed the same way: plan ahead.

Think about it. Authors know certain things need to happen in order to succeed and can plan ahead. Athletes do this all of the time.

Marathoners plan their final meals before a big race and train based on how close they are to an upcoming one.

Boxers position themselves and throw several punches in a certain manner, knowing they are trying to angle in for a big hit.

Quarterbacks don’t really throw to a player; they throw to a spot on the field and the receiver times it to be somewhere at a certain moment.

Baseball pitchers seek to throw hitters off balance by moving the ball around, alternating locations, speeds, and release angles. They set them up so they can effectively throw the ball to a particular spot that surprises or handcuffs the batter.

So how can authors think ahead and plan accordingly?

Start with your intended book publication date and develop a timeline to work backwards. You will need to do some things several weeks and many months in advance in order to actualize your intended results.

For instance, if you want book reviews, you need to solicit them as much as four months in advance of your publication date. If you are late to the game, you automatically lose.

Looking to do book signings at a local bookstore or library? Once corona is kicked to the curb, setting up such opportunities will take at least two months, meaning if you hope to speak in June, reach out in March and confirm by April.

The same is true with social media. The time to build up your connection totals is now, tomorrow, and forever. Don’t delay. You may have a book out in six months. Fine. Get the website up now and log onto your social media accounts and increase your posting schedule and reach out to more people to get them to follow you. Now.

When pitching the media, work ahead. If you think you have a great story with a Mother’s Day angle, don’t wait until May 10 to pitch it. Know how far in advance a media outlet books guests and drafts content for publication. Create an editorial calendar that links your pitch with a holiday, honorary day, season, anniversary, etc — and then plan your outreach weeks and months ahead.

You can be a chess king, a champion athlete, or a successful author. Just plan ahead — and execute.


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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at  His insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are the product of his genius. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo.


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