I recently received an email from someone asking me to mention a contest here on the blog. Since I hold contests myself, and think they can be valuable for writers, I hopped over to their site to check it out, ready to copy the link and post it here.
When I got to the site, there was no mention of the contest.
I returned to the email.
Sure enough: contest doesn't start till next week.
I see this a LOT with authors promoting all sorts of things: books, blog posts, contests.
Here's what you need to know: a certain percentage of your email list (and it's not high, it's probably 10% or so) is going to read your email and ACT NOW.
You'll lose them if you send your email before there's actually a live link, or a book to sell, or a contest to promote.
Another (larger) percentage will open, read, and act within a week or so.
How do you balance that?
First, you're aware of this response pattern.
Second, you plan your emails based on it.
The first email you send is the heads up: this is coming on Date X. Think of it as a Save The Date for a wedding or party announcement. It's short, it's sweet, it's got details but not a lot else.
The second email you send is when the link is active, the contest is open, the book is available for sale. This has more details (it's akin to the actual wedding invitation: date, time, location, attire etc.)
It drives me crazy to get emails that say "my blog post tomorrow is going to be about you." It means I have to save the email, and remember to go to your blog tomorrow. You have my attention RIGHT NOW. Chances are if I can't see the post while you've got my attention, I won't see it at all.
One of my most effective tools for staying ahead of the email deluge is to handle things ONCE. Read, act, done. If your email doesn't allow me to do that, and it's not something I care about passionately (ie my clients) your chances of getting what you want from me are reduced substantially.
It's the same with promoting your books. People are interested in your book but not to the point that it's something they'll prioritize for later action. If you have their eyeballs NOW, make sure you have something to show them.
That means: don't post reviews until people can pre-order or buy the book. Don't talk about events until there's a link for people to get information about it.
If you're sending an email that starts out "next week there will be a..." you should plan the second email that says "TODAY there is a ...."