Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Marketing 101

Sending a submission off into the ether known as “The Internet” (imagine sepulchral tone and organ music in the background) is like letting my child spend an overnight at a stranger’s house.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve met the other child (agent/editor). It doesn’t matter that I’ve been to the house (read the submission guidelines). Actually allowing my child (manuscript) to be in that strange place for many hours (months) without me around is scary. What will happen to him (it) there? Will they treat him (it) with respect? Will they be kind? Probably better not to be there.

As a way to finish off my writing year, I submitted Streetwalker, my erotic novel, to Eternal Press. Just one publisher. For now.

I made the decision of which publisher to submit to based upon a divine sign. Kris Tualla, a member of Valley of the Sun Romance Writers, notified our group that she had another book coming out in her trilogy and that she wanted to do a blog tour to celebrate and announce its “birth” simultaneously.

I volunteered to be one of those blogs. I e-mailed my critique partners in two groups to tell them this is a great idea for us to do when we have a book to announce. After a few days, probably from some stewing going on in a part of my brain, I thought, “Hmm. Who publishes Kris?” I re-read her note and found the name, Eternal Press. Something heavenly about that. Sort of a sign.

I looked them up: They take un-agented submissions. Good. Click on submission guidelines. And that was where the shock was. With the first three chapters, the last chapter, and the synopsis, I had to submit “Your marketing plan should we accept your manuscript for publication.”

There it was. Staring me right in the face. At my workshops, conferences, and on-line classes all the talk was about building your platform and that you were expected to do major promotion for your own work. This was proof those guys knew what they were telling us.

Frantic e-mail to my critique partners: “HELP! I need a book marketing plan.” I sent along the scanty list I had come up with on my own. They came through, of course. So, with their input and my own list, I put the following together. I hope it will help any of you who are in a similar situation. Who knew that the plan would be considered along with the initial read of the manuscript?

[Disclaimer: I have absolutely no idea whether or not this is a good plan, but it is what I submitted. Leave additional suggestions for marketing in the comments below. I will be grateful for your assistance.]

Book Marketing Plan for Streetwalker

Use an entrepreneurial approach as a long-term marketing strategy across the various genres of my writing. I will cross-fertilize by informing different social media (two Twitter accounts, fan page on Facebook, online group memberships, two blogs, and one website) and local in-person groups I connect with that I have a book in press.

Announcements of the release of Streetwalker will appear on all my social media sites, with an excerpt from Streetwalker on the writing blog and website. My Twitter account, @RomanceRighter, was created to promote this book.

Approach local bookstores for signing opportunities. Provide them with a poster, flyers, and an announcement of my appearance they can submit to the newspaper.

Distribute a media kit (press release, pitch letter with author bio, promo brochure, and bookmarks) to the Arizona Republic as well neighborhood newspapers and magazines.

Target local radio and TV stations with the media kit and an offer to be interviewed.

Submit a request to Barnes & Noble (using their B&N marketing plan form) to carry Streetwalker.

Announce to my on-line member groups that I am available to do a blog tour of their sites to celebrate the release of Streetwalker.

Announce to local in-person groups that I am available as a speaker.

Submit an advance copy to the Kirkus Review and request they print a review.

Contact book clubs (such as Book-of-the-Month Club, Doubleday, Quality Paperback Book Club, and The Literary Guild) and request they select Streetwalker.


  1. I'm sooo impressed with your professional looking marketing plan. Let's see, where are my cut & paste tools? If I replace your book title for mine and ...

  2. Thanks, but I am looking for ways to make it better. Some people are really talented at marketing. Hope they drop by here!

  3. This a great-looking marketing plan! I'm also signed up to give a workshop with Savvy and with a couple of RWA online chapters, which I hope will add exposure, and am assembling a list of writing- and book-related conferences in driving distance that I can hound into including me on panels or signings closer to my release date.

  4. Suzanne, Thanks so much for adding to my repertoire. Great ideas, and ones that will expose you to a much wider audience. Do you have pre-set topics you are offering or are you soliciting needs they have?

  5. How fun to find me referenced!

    I do need to correct one thing: I am independently published, using Amazon's CreateSpace for print copies on demand. All my e-books I uploaded myself: Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords (for Kobo & Sony).

    My label is Goodnight Publishing - which I created. I am linking arms with other indie-pubbed authors to present a traditional-looking front to the consumer, but we all did it ourselves - for free.

    I am not connected with Eternal Press, and never was.

    Kris <--who loves Google alerts!