When your book comes out, it's natural to want to shout it from the rooftops--and you should! So many people want to write a book, yet few actually do, so you should celebrate your hard work. It's fun to say "Hey, I wrote a book!"
If you want your book to sell, however, you need to do more than just announce that it's out there. And that takes a different kind of work, one that isn't as fun. Promoting a book involves continuous outreach to multiple audiences via multiple channels, each of which might require a significant amount of follow-up. If you don't keep a record of whom you contact and when, it's easy to lose track of your efforts--and your momentum might die on the vine.
For example, imagine the following scenario:
Gloria goes online to look up regional alumni groups of her alma mater, UCLA. She finds that dozens of them have websites, so she contacts a bunch to see if they have book clubs, and if so, how to reach the organizers.
If Gloria has a system for tracking this part of her marketing campaign in place (I recommend a spreadsheet), she will:
A) Know which alumni groups she has contacted--and when
B) Have the contact information for the alumni groups stored in one place, so she won't have to research them again in the future
C) Know which groups have book clubs, and which of those she has contacted
D) Know which groups said yes, no, or maybe so and be able to follow up accordingly
If Gloria doesn't have a system in place, the only record of her campaign will be the outbox of her email program. She may have some success with that approach, but given how much follow-up is necessary to make things happen in a world where the people you're contacting are busy with their own lives, chances are a lot of her efforts will be for naught.
Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.