How to get your book ready for marketing

So, you’ve finished ‘the book’ and you are now ready to move on to the next stage that is generally called marketing. You may have published your book yourself or you may have a contract with a publisher, either way the vast majority of the work now lies before you rather than behind you – sorry if I’ve burst any bubbles with that little statement, but that’s the reality of an authors life.

In this post I’d like to explore how you get a book ready for marketing by sharing some of the things that I have done every time I’ve self published one of my own books. The fact that I’ve self published is neither here nor there, the principles are the same regardless of where you on the publishing ladder (oops there goes that bubble again!).

Let’s dive straight in and get going with the basics:

Get yourself an information sheet

Your information sheet is going to be an invaluable tool over the coming months and it will also be a constant companion to you as well, therefore you’d be well advised to keep it handy, either on the desktop of your computer or laptop or even printed out and stored in your notebook or diary.

Your information sheet contains some valuable information that you will be using on a regular basis so it makes sense to put some effort in to gathering as much of the detail as possible as soon as possible. The details you will need to include are:

  • Your ISBN number
  • Full title of the book plus any sub-titles
  • Blurbs from the back cover and a long and short version of a description
  • A copy of the front cover
  • The details of the BIC code/s for your book
  • Your publisher details together with their contact details if necessary
  • Full Publication date and launch date
  • Links to your author profile on any sites you happen to be present on such as Amazon or GoodReads
  • Links to your book on the various online bookshops
  • Short links to each of these links; ie a link for each one, these are for use on social networks such as Twitter
  • Full and short links to any video book trailers
  • Copies of any reviews you may have received

Over time you will add more content to this sheet and it’s purpose is to keep everything to hand that you may need every time you undertake some sort of marketing activity. Having it in a sheet like this means that you never have to scrabble around for some essential pieces of information that may be required in a hurry or when you are busy.

Understanding BIC Codes

I also wanted to clarify what some of the things on your information sheet are, for instance you may not be familiar with BIC codes. BIC codes are classification codes originally and primarily used for the purposes of ensuring that a book was placed in the correct place in a library. Increasingly though they can help to ensure that your book is catalogued in the correct category in online bookstores. You can determine your BIC code on the web at, just work your way through the list to find the most specific code for your book.

For instance, the BIC code for 101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomy is VFDW – that is Health and Personal Development (V), Family and Health (VF), Popular Medicine and Health (VFD), Women’s Health (VFDW); an alternative BIC Code for it could have been MNC – that is Medicine (M), Surgery (MN), General Surgery (MNC).  I think that the former though is the most appropriate as the book is not a medical tome but is ideal for women seeking information and support about their hysterectomy.

Your ISBN Number

It is possible that if your book has been out for a while (since before 2007) then you may well have a ten digit ISBN number as well as a thirteen digit number and it is possible that it is listed with both numbers, if this is the case then keeping both numbers to hand would be a good idea too.

Now, if you have also paid attention to thinking about a marketing plan for your book – taking into account the five honest serving men of Rudyard Kipling then we are almost ready to begin.

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