The Ultimate Book Marketing 15-Tab Master Spreadsheet
The Problem: Thousands of books are published every year, and yet many authors feel like they have to figure out the road to promotion alone. Authors (together with their publicists and agents) work tirelessly to reinvent the promotion wheel every single time. There is no one size fits all approach, but there can be a more streamlined way to get organized. Enter the master spreadsheet…
The solution: As a self-proclaimed organization freak who thinks in spreadsheets (and has worked at Google for 5+ years, the land of collaboration and online documents), I knew I needed a way to track the hundreds of book promotion action items and ideas floating around in my head — everything from website development to book tour planning to advance copy recipient lists. I created this spreadsheet as a way of organizing the hundreds of things an author thinks about on the road to book launch.
Click here to check out the spreadsheet.
I’m sure I have more here than you need — and at the same time, I am probably missing plenty too. Please feel free to reach out with ideas and feedback! Let’s make life easier for as many authors as we possibly can. I also offer 1:1 consulting — please feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for customized support.
There are 15 tabs in this spreadsheet: online promotion, offline promotion, business development, partnerships, final launch countdown, personal development, questions for the publisher, gantt chart with major milestones, book tour tasks, book tour cities, book tour people, advance copy distribution, regular distribution, budget, and corporate to-dos.
The Story Behind the Spreadsheet
It was early 2009. My manuscript for Life After College was complete but I was paralyzed.
I almost didn’t pitch my book to publishers because I was afraid that even if I got a book deal, I wouldn’t know how to sell it. I worried that I would only sell two copies — one for each parent — then be laughed into obscurity by the general public and branded a colossal failure and disappointment by the publisher who made the great mistake of signing me.
Very dramatic, I know. Thankfully, I gave myself permission to “cross the marketing bridge when I got to it.” I would be lucky to have that problem, I told myself.
After I landed a contract with Running Press in 2010 and turned in my final draft in November of that year, I started tackling my intimidation the only way I knew how — by getting organized.
I scoured every book, blog and resource I could find on book marketing and promotion. I started categorizing what I was learning and the action items I needed to take in a spreadsheet that I called my “Book Marketing Master Plan of Greatness.” Fake it until you make it, right?
That spreadsheet kept me sane throughout the five months leading up to my book launch. Although my book did not skyrocket to instant bestseller, I credit the spreadsheet with everything that I was able to accomplish — and with keeping my sanity in tact.
Click here to check out the spreadsheet.
Enter Seth Godin and The Domino Project
Against today’s conventional book marketing advice, I decided to self-fund a 14-city ACTUAL book tour (in person! not virtual!). I got approved for a 3.5 month leave from Google (after working there 5+ years), and set out to meet readers, attend conferences, make connections and have fun.
I had 15 minutes to present something related to my experience as an author. With a bit of nervous excitement, I decided to share the book marketing spreadsheet, which also felt very vulnerable.
I was sure that sharing my spreadsheet with Seth and his team would brand me as a Type-A obsessive compulsive freak. But there was also a small chance that they would like what I had done — and that my crazy template brain could be put to use to make other author’s lives easier too.
Long story short, everyone loved it. Willie remarked that my spreadsheet “glows in the dark,” and Seth’s literary agent Lisa wanted to recommend it to every single one of her clients as a way to get organized.
So here we are! I’m thrilled and a little nervous to share the “Ultimate Book Marketing Master Plan” with you. Click here to check out the spreadsheet.