Thursday, October 8, 2009

Book Marketing 101 from an Amateur

I keep thinking it will all stop spinning soon. All of it. Life.

I think I have motion sickness.

Some weeks are like that, you know? It's the whole, when it rains, it pours thing. I thought when the blog was changed, when the trailer was done, when the website was up, things would get simpler. Who was I kidding? It's never like that!

I got big news from my publisher this week... news that involves quickly writing up a convincing and thorough marketing plan by tomorrow.

Can you say panic?

It's not because I have a small publisher that I have to do this, either. I mean, I don't know - those of you being published by big powerhouses, please chime in!! But today I felt really relieved when I read this excellent post over at BookEnds. Everything Jessica says a publisher should do, mine does.

But there are limits to what a publisher can do. A publisher doesn't know the ten little newspapers in my area that would love to print an article about a local author. They don't know the 20 blogs I follow that would gladly do interviews or reviews of my book. They don't know a list of exactly the right people - who I actually have real relationships with - that can blurb my book.

So in the end, they'll send out books and press kits and one-sheets and arrange signings, but I have to do the leg work. Honestly, I can't imagine how it could be any different.

But man, it's a lot of work.

So here is how I have it broken down:

  • Possible Interviews
  • Social Networking (blog, website, Twitter, Facebook)
  • Book Review Possibilities (including bloggers)
  • Organizations that might be interested in plugging it
  • Contacts who might blurb or help promote
  • Bookstores or other signing opportunities
  • Local Newspapers, radio, and TV

Hopefully this is enough to get started.  The greatest part of all of the research is that I've discovered a bunch of very, very cool review blogs, which I'll try to share later. Even if they don't review my book, I'll find some great reading material from them!

So, what did I miss? Any other suggestions?


  1. You forgot about Oprah. ;) Just kiddin'

    Your plan looks great, and I'm sure you have it under control. The only thing I would suggest (and I'm sure you already know) is to carry around copies of your book like it's your anchor in life. :)

    I read somewhere that Madonna always had a demo tape on her, no matter where she went. Clubs, restaraunts, the bank...even the strangest places can show a fan. I was at the dr's office last week with my princesses and I struck up a conversation with another lady waiting to be seen. Her husband is a writer, she informed me and I told her I write too. "Do you have a book out? Do you have any sample writing?" I'm thinkin-lady, this is the dr office! But she's right, once I'm published-those things will be carried with me everywhere!!

  2. Kristi - so funny! I know!! My publisher actually wrote in his instructions, "And don't say Oprah. Let's keep this realistic."

    Ha! I'm still writing Oprah. You can't get her endorsement if you don't ask, right?

    You are totally right about carrying books around in the trunk of your car! I planned on doing that but never thought of adding that into my marketing plan. Hmmm...

    Keep doling out suggestions! I could use them!!

  3. Have you made up business cards. A lot of authors I've seen have done it, that way you can have something small and handy to give people when they ask.

    You can count me on the list of people who will mention your book on my blog, even though I don't have a huge following every little bit helps.

  4. patti - I'll definitely take you up on that offer!

    And business cards! *head smack* I knew that at one time, and I didn't write that one down either!! Great suggestion!!

    Okay everyone - keep em coming!!

  5. I think that's an excellent list to start. Further down the road, you'll be able to consider things like bookmarks and flyers to pass out a certain functions. Maybe even a book launching party--I've heard those are fun and a good way to get the initial news about your book out.

  6. Hi cindy! Welcome!!

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'd forgotten bookmarks, too, so I put them on my list just now!

    So many things I've forgotten...

    A book launch sounds like so much fun! I'm already worrying about what if no one shows up, though...

  7. You've done an amazing job. And don't forget to add me to the list!!!!

  8. List looks good so far, Heidi. I would add school visits and alumni associations. Also, any local book clubs?

    I have business cards that list the award I won, my blog, and my phone number. I hand them out to anyone and everyone. It's never too early to put your name in circulation.

  9. I can't think of anything to add, except maybe letting me read it and blog about it. I have 31 followers, you know. I'm very popular. I like the idea of a book launching party.

  10. jessie - you're there! You're under the reviewers. :)

    kathryn - great idea with the cards.Good for you for getting ahead in the game! I'm looking into book clubs at the library. I put them down on my plan, but I'm not sure if that will be something that pans out or not. They are the kind of thing that has to find you first!