To market, to market: Better Late than Never
In the early stages of producing my novel, “Minerva’s Fox,” I had a half-hour conversation with a marketing person at Hillcrest Media, my publisher.
I’d been looking forward to our chat, certain he would offer many valuable suggestions I would use—eventually. There I sat, pen at the ready, prepared to listen and take notes.
After he introduced himself, he asked me to describe my marketing plan. Dumbfounded, I told him I didn’t have one—yet. He cleared his throat. “You might want to, um, think about that. Soon.”
Talk about misplaced expectations.
Of course it’s important to think about a sales and marketing plan before your book comes out. But if you don’t have the time or the bandwidth to nail down the details ahead of time, don’t throw in the towel. Instead, consider the following steps you can take just before and just after your title releases:
1. Get thyself a domain name. GoDaddy.com is one among many resources for this and other web-related information.
2. Tweet well; tweet often. Once “Minerva’s Fox” was out, my I began to tweet 140-character snippets from it, as well as dates and places for my reading, talk, and book group invitations. Also, I post related photos with captions, separately.
3. Visible web information. Once your website goes live—but only after the book has been released—sign every email, even the ones to family and friends, with your web coordinates.
4. Word-of-mouth. Make a list of people to whom you will give a book—all those named in your acknowledgments, for instance.
5. Advance Mailing. Send out postcards announcing your book release to friends, family members, and acquaintances. Follow up with an email. The front of my postcard featured the cover of “Minerva’s Fox”; the back, a brief synopsis of the book, all online information, and the release date.
6. Blog it. Start your blog with FAQ’s about how and why you wrote your book. I update my “Minerva’s Fox” website and blog regularly. Try to talk about a variety of topics related to your book—themes, character and/or plot development, etc.
7. Talk it up. Mention your book whenever you can. Share your excitement about it. In May, I gave three book-related-talks: at a bookshop in Hardwick, Vermont; at an assisted living facility in Hanover, New Hampshire; and at The Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, Rhode Island. People you tell about the book will help you get the word out.
8. Double your money. I printed enough postcards announcing the talks and readings to have extras to hand out. They double as a marketing message for the book and a bookmark.
9. Take advantage of local resources. Sign up for the Bookshop Santa Cruz local authors’ consignment program. There is information at the Bookshop Santa Cruz web site about how the five-month program works.
Most of all: Share your enthusiasm about your book freely and often. Your excitement is your best marketing tool.
Kristina Baer, author
Follow me on Twitter @ebaerk
This article appears in the 6/1/15 issue of Scribbles, published by the Central Coast Writers Club (www.centralcoastwriters.org)