Lately I have been reading the book “Publicize Your Book: An insiders Guide To Getting Your Book The Attention It Deserves” by Jacqueline Deval.
This book would appeal to anyone who is either submitting manuscripts to publishers or else planning on doing so. The time to think about marketing is very early on in the process, and this books makes that more than clear with its numerous examples. It applies somewhat more to non-fiction authors, but it has numerous examples related to fiction, so don’t let that prevent you from reading it.
Right now I am about half-way through it, and so this review #1 only includes chapters 1 through 8.
Before I begin a chapter by chapter review of the book, I want to state that this book is written from the perspective of the ABA (secular American Book Association) rather than the CBA (the Christian Book Association). As such, not all of its suggestions make sense. If you target market is Christians, then you have to read between the lines sometimes. If, however, you are targeting your book toward the ABA, then this is an eye-opener as to what other authors in the ABA are doing.
Prologue: A Common Midlist Scenario To Avoid At All Costs
This was a grabber of an introduction to the book and shows exactly why publishing houses don’t spend as much time advertising a book as author’s think they should. It also show the promise of what can be accomplished if the author takes the publicity of their book as a personal responsibility.
Chapter 1: Book Marketing Basics
Covers how to think like a marketer and why you need a written marketing plan. This area has always been a bit of a mystery to me, so the next chapter explained a lot in terms of what actually goes into a marketing plan.
Chapter 2: How To Write A Marketing Plan
The most surprising thing that came out of this chapter was the encouragement to add a “Top Ten Publicity Goals” for your book. This is your “wish list” of major media outlets that you want to cover your book.
Huh? That hadn’t even occurred to me as something “I” needed to think about. But it makes sense if you are going for the jugular of book promotion. A book being promoted to the CBA will have trouble getting a lot of the secular media outlets to give it attention, but that does not mean that there are not equivalents in the Christian community. This just require more thinking.
Chapter 3: You’ve Submitted Your Manuscript. Now What?
This chapter contains probably the most detailed view of what goes on inside a publishing house regarding the marketing of your book. It is an eye-opener, and I think a critical process to understand for a pre-published author. If you are caught clueless when your manuscript gets accepted, your are liable to lose the promotion battle. Having a strong sense of direction and ideas on how to promote your book will not only aid it’s publicity tremendously, but may help your manuscript get accepted in the first place.
Chapter 4: Hire Your Own Publicist
This is not for the thin of wallet, but it makes sense in certain situations. It was interesting to me how sometimes your own freelance publicist can work with your publisher hand in hand.
Chapter 5: Press Materials
Good overview of what goes into a press kits. This is something all aspiring authors can get started on right away by putting together an online press kit. Remember, any publisher considering your book will review your website and blog and the more ready you are for publication the more you will impress them.
One of the things I am missing is a good photograph, but that will come in due time.
Chapter 6: The Print Publicity Campaign
This covers getting reviews of your book into print to coincide with the books publication date. One of the eye-openers here was how important the timing of everything was. There is a long lead time to get printed reviews of your book, and if you don’t start this way early then you are shooting yourself in the foot.
Part of this chapter also covers word of mouth advertising, and gave an interesting example of someone who wrote a business book getting a high-powered restaurant to put free copies of his book at all of the tables during lunch. That restaurant was frequented by all of the power-lunch crowd in entertainment, law, media, and finance, and the book generated a lot of buzz. Targeting the “sneezers” (ala Seth Godin’s viral marketing) I think is a very important factor in any marketing campaign and I’ve been thinking a lot about this area.
Chapter 7: The Publicity Tour
This helped me understand how the Fantasy Fiction Tour of Wayne Thomas Batson, Bryan Davis, Christopher Hopper, and Sharon Hinck worked. Very informative chapter on how to do this and what happens on a tour.
Chapter 8: Get on the Oprah Winfrey Show
Let’s just say that I skipped this chapter. Nothing against Oprah—I just know that there is probably zero chance that my books would fit in with her show format.
I have finished my review of chapters 9 through 13, and you can read it here.