If you’ve found yourself here from Rachelle Gardner’s blog—Welcome! I’m one of Rachelle’s many clients. She signed me on in 2009. And, to be quite honest, I’m her favorite.
Sure, she’s never said those words out loud, but I can tell by the subtle way she begins our phone calls, “Hi Joanne. How are you doing today?” The special way she ends her emails “Thanks, Joanne, I’ll get back to you later.” Or, Maybe it’s the sing-song way she says, “Good-bye.” Things like that, ya know? Yeah. I’m sure I’m her favorite.
When my first book contract arrived, that cliché about drinking water from a fire hose made complete sense. My nonfiction parenting book Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical (Beacon Hill Press, June 2011) was a joy to write. Seriously. I thought that would be the hard part. It wasn’t. The learning curve came when I realized marketing this book fell squarely on my shoulders.
My book was released a few weeks ago. Since then, my unnaturally patient husband has heard at least a trillion-bazillion times… “When my next book is published, I’m going to do things differently. Yesiree Bob. Lots differently next time!”
Not all marketing people are writers, but all writers must learn to be marketers. It’s not always a comfortable fit, but in a world where you Facebook your Tweets and Tweet your Facebook—it’s an area we must learn and grow in. I’ll be working on book number two later this summer. My personal next time will include working on my marketing plan right alongside my book proposal.
Have you lost your appetite yet? I hope not. You’re a writer. You have a gift. Once you find a publisher to wrap your words in a cover you need to find a way to launch it so it lands softly into the waiting hands of the very people who will benefit from it.
I thought I’d share a few things to help make your first time my next time:
Media Kits. The party favor of marketing. Also known as a press kit. If you don’t know what one is click here. I’ve emailed media kits, mailed media kits, and even packed up the kids in triple-digit heat to hand deliver media kits. I landed two call backs from the hand-delivered efforts—a radio interview and morning TV show gig. I consider that a success.
Next Time? Work on media kit six months before book release. Oh, and start saving. Each of my media kits handed or mailed out, cost at least $20.00 if I included a copy of my book.
Book Trailer. It’s nice bling to add to your media kit, but I wouldn’t waste my money on that again. It cost me close to $400.00 and I really wasn’t thrilled with the end result.
Next time? DIY or hire a teenager.
News Release. I write nonfiction. I had no idea how to write a news release. Thank God for Google and a girlfriend in my writers group (InspireWriters.com) who works in PR. She guided me to Pitch Engine—a media site where you can put up your own news releases. The media (social media especially!) will take your news release and help send it into cyberspace. It’s free for the first thirty days. Try it out and see what you think. After that, it’s about $40 a month.
Next Time? Write news releases months in advance, save them as Word docs in my media arsenal to grenade-launch weekly about three months before my release date. And, for the love of pete – don’t put out news releases the week before your book is published like I did.
Articles. Use chunks of your book and create articles that will appeal to your readership. A gifted author-girlfriend of mine wrote a book for pregnant moms. Her publishing house landed her an article with MOPS magazine the same month she’ll be selling her book at the MOPS convention. Brilliant.
Next Time? I’ll create and submit an article from each completed chapter.
Social Marketing. Facebook, Twitter, blog regularly. Do it.
Next Time? Do it sooner.
Follow-up & Follow through. If you leave here with nothing leave with this: Walk through every open door. Period. Reply, respond, call back, send letters, homing pigeons, smoke signals—whatever it takes to follow-up and follow- through.
Next time? This is my most powerful marketing strategy and the one thing that has brought the greatest marketing dividends. I do this pretty well.
Remember your manners. Please and thank you are still golden words to use no matter what your age. Make sure to send a thank you note to each reporter, blog reviewer, TV/radio producer, and anyone else who has helped you along the way.
Next time? Have more postage on hand!
Givers Gain. This is the motto of a business networking group my husband belongs to and it fits perfectly for this marketing piece. I’ve discovered that the best marketing tool ever is helping someone else succeed with their writing dreams. There are lots of authors/bloggers I’ve befriended over the years. I post their book reviews, interview them and use my social marketing finesse to help them get the word out. I lead a branch of Inspire Writer’s twice a month in my home, helping others navigate their way to publication is a joy to be a small part of.
Next time? I’ll hopefully have more of an online presence so I can help my writer-friends even more.
Lastly, if I could think of one special element outside of my faith in God as my ultimate marketing agent for my book, it would have to be the networking help I’ve received from my agent Rachelle Gardner , selfless author Kathi Lipp, author Erin Macpherson, AND my Wordserve family.
They’ve been incredible.