What are your writing and publishing goals for the summer months this year? At Easter I always find myself thinking forward to July and August, because these are always quiet times for book sales. Three months doesn’t seem like a long time – but you’d be surprised at what you could accomplish in that period if you really set your mind to it. Here are a couple of writer-situations, and my ideas about what you could manage in the next three months …

What is your story

Suppose you’re just finishing your first book right now, and you fancy launching it in July – the idea beach read, right? To be honest, you’ve already missed the boat for the beach read market – that ship sails around May – but that’s no reason to give up on your goals. July and August are arguably great times to launch a new book as there is less competition. Here is your three month schedule:

April – beta readers for book, line up proofreader, start blogging and platform-building, decide on marketing strategy, think about cover design after analyzing competition, approach key book bloggers.

May – final edit, send to proofreader, get cover designed, keep building that platform and buzz around new book, finalize review requests, typesetting and formatting.

June – ebook ready (and print files ready if going for paperback), send to reviewers, plan launch event, arrange key advertising e.g. Facebook, build buzz, organise blog tour.

July – Launch that book into the world!

It sounds like a lot of hard work because it is – but that’s the fun part. And if you feel you need a bit of help with any of the above, don’t forget about the Self-Publishing Success course I tutor for Writers’ Workshop – it’s not too late to sign up for April’s presentation. You can sign up here, or read a great testimonial here.

Or say you’ve already got a book published, or a couple of books, but sales have been lackluster lately and you need a bit of a boost. What could you achieve in three short months? Let’s see …

April – pick your best book and submit it to BookBub for an international promotion. Whether you get a yes or not, decide this is the book you are going to push as a summer read. Visit VistaPrint and have some fun merchandise made up – people love pens and notepads, fridge magnets, little bags, mugs. Set a date for your promotion in mid May and decide whether you’ll go free or reduced price. (Free is usually best.)

May – build up a buzz about the book by blogging on a few author-friends’ blogs in various unusual forms. ‘Day in the life of’ the main character work well, or the history and background of the location/storyline. Keep up a profile on social media, sharing interesting stuff – not just about your own books! When the promotion date arrives, push it like crazy. No, even crazier than that!!! Get it out there, everywhere, and then get it out some more.

June – on the back of the promotion success, ask for reviews from key book bloggers. Keep up the momentum by planning your next promotion. Offer the goodies as incentives, or use as prizes on your website or FB page. Consider taking out an advertising banner on a key website, like Kindle Nation Daily, or some Facebook sponsored posts, to keep your book high in the charts.

Oh my goodness, I have so many ideas! But I’d better stop now as I’ve got work to do – and a lot to pack into three short months.