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 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 in June. 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 very soon. 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:
Brainstorm Media Sources
Even before you receive your book contract, begin thinking of ways you can market this book to your readership. Everyone wants a good write up in their local paper. So, what are you going to do to put that information in the media’s hands?
My next time? Create a marketing plan that includes a detailed marketing calendar.
The party favor of marketing. If you don’t know what a media kit 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 in pretty packages to local radio/TV stations. I landed two call backs from the hand-delivered efforts—a radio interview and morning TV show gig. I consider that successful.
My next Time? Work on media kit six months before book release. Oh, and start saving. Each of my media kits that I handed or mailed out, cost at least $20.00 if I included a copy of my book.
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.
My next time? DIY or hire a teenager.
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.
My 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.
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.
My next Time? I’ll create and submit an article from each completed chapter.
Facebook, Twitter, blog regularly. Do it.
My 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.
My 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 to each reporter, blog reviewer, TV/radio producer.
My next time? Have more postage on hand!
And lastly, if I could think of one thing outside of my faith in God as my ultimate marketing agent for my book, it would have to be the networking and help I’ve received from Inspire Writers, my agent Rachelle Gardner and my Wordserve family.
They’ve been incredible.