By Pamela Britton

Things to do before you sell

  • Get a PO Box.
  • Order business cards.
  • Order stationary.
  • Get your hands on a list of booksellers and wholesalers.
  • Have your publicity photo taken.
  • Ask your favorite author if they’ll give you a cover quote. If they agree, send them the manuscript as soon as it’s sold.
  • Start getting a list together of on-line sites you’d like to eventually send your book out to for review.

Six months ahead

  • Request extra cover flats from your Publisher.
  • Send out copy edited manuscript, in galley format (bound), to Romantic Times, Affaire de Coeur etc., Publisher’s Weekly (Do not wait for galleys from publisher…they come too late).
  • Send out advance notices of your books release to trade magazines, etc.
  • Arrange for an advertisement in Romantic Times. This is a must!
  • Join your publisher’s author’s loop. This is an invaluable source of info.

Five months

  • Whatever promotional piece you decide to use, send it out now. Flyers work the best as they should reach booksellers, wholesalers in time for them to order extra copies of your book.
  • Follow up to make sure Romantic Times, etc. has received your galley.
  • Contact local wholesalers (not booksellers) and ask to do an autographing. Chances are they would love to hear from you. Be prepared to sign a lot of books!
  • Write your Romantic Times ad and send it in.
  • Order “Autographed Copy” and “Local Author” stickers. Check with your publishers. Some of them will give these to you for free. Some publishers also offer other “freebies”, too. Check with your PR contact to find out.

Four months (If you haven’t already, better get on the ball!)

  • Set up your, Barnes &, Borders, etc. information page. Make sure they receive a copy of your cover. Fill out author profiles, advance reviews, etc.
  • Send your homemade galleys to on-line reviewers.

Three months ahead

  • Set up your book signings.
  • This is also the time to follow up with to ensure your book will be featured in their New Release listing. Use any advance reviews you may have to get their attention.
  • Join on-line e-mail loops such as READ or PARANORMAL at Start your self promotion now…It works! If necessary, send a few galleys out to readers to start a ‘buzz’ about your book.

Two months ahead

  • Put together a Press Kit to take to conferences with you.
  • Get together book signing material ie: book cover posters (ask your publisher if they’ll do this for you, if not, make your own), sign boards, flyers, etc.
  • Send press releases to local newspapers.
  • Follow up with on-line reviewers to ensure they received and/or are reviewing your book.

One month ahead

  • Send out one last flyer to booksellers and wholesalers. Announce the release of your first book. Use your review quotes to help sell books.
  • Do final tweaking on your Amazon/Barnes & Noble etc. page. Make sure to use those review quotes.
  • Really start to self-promote yourself on-line. Don’t be pushy, just share all your good news.


  • Remember to call a week ahead to verify date and time.
  • Bring goodies, cookies, chocolate, etc.
  • Don’t forget your posters, decorations, etc. You might also want to bring your own tablecloth.
  • Bring autograph stickers. Some bookstores will have these for you, but it’s best to bring your own.
  • Arrange autographing area.
  • Be as friendly as possible. People are intimidated by authors, so encourage strangers to stop by and chat for a second by using a big smile.


  • Don’t forget to send thank you notes to the bookseller.
  • Also send out your author copies of books to your favorite bookseller, friends, etc.
  • Keep tabs on your Amazon, etc. page. If a bad review appears, have a friend who’s read your book and loved it post a glowing review.
  • Keep track of fan mail and start your own database. Don’t forget to write back to those fans. And, no, publishers don’t want a copy of your fan letters, at least Avon/Harper doesn’t.
  • Send out copies of your books to conferences, etc.

Get out there and self-promote!!

Copyright © 2000 Pamela Britton