Publicity! (Day at Avon, Part Two )
Thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday! I hope you guys are enjoying this as much as I am. Congrats to Kelly Rardon, winner of the Caskie ARC, tote, and book of her choice! (Email me, Kelly, and I’ll let you know your choices.)
So after that fascinating introduction to cover art, I visited the Publicity department. Pam Spengler-Jaffee and Shari Newman invited me in, loaded me up with goodies, and gave me great tips about how an author should promote herself and her books. These bright (and yes, nice!) ladies might publicize 20-30 books a month, sending out press releases and review copies. So authors need to be on the ball to promote themselves and their releases, too.
A few highlights:
*A major theme was that authors need to nurture their own readership by reaching out to readers and keeping open lines of communication with them. Networking with other authors, reviewers, editors, and other people in publishing is also important.
*To that end, websites, blogs, and email lists are essential. And Pam says authors should keep them interesting and current. Run contests, review books, host forums or chat, send out e-newsletters, etc. Pam talked about how this helps keep readers interested in the gap between book release dates.
*Authors should cultivate close relationships with their local booksellers, especially any romance specialists, and offer to do events and booksignings.
*Authors should also be aware of their local media, especially human-interest columnists and book reviewers for the local paper. We might be aware of media outlets that would be beneath the NYC radar, but still reach lots of potential readers.
*Pam advised aspiring authors to attend conferences like RWA to network and attend workshops on promotion, especially those presented by bookstore marketing specialists. She also advised just hanging out in the bar and talking to people – she once ended up buying Nora Roberts pizza that way, and hearing all about her home remodeling projects!
*Lastly, authors should look for any unique “hook” that could give them or their book extra publicity – in print, online, or with special-interest groups. Does your book feature a knitting-store owner? Talk to knitting groups. Write an article for a crafters’ magazine. Perhaps you have an interesting personal story, career, or hobby that can get you noticed. Eloisa James has a million hooks – she’s a Shakespeare prof moonlighting as a romance author, married to a real-life Italian knight, who wrote and performed a country song in Nashville! Lots of story potential there. Suzanne Enoch was once featured in an E! special for her enormous collection of Star Wars memorabilia.
So here’s your challenge today – come up with a unique hook for yourself or your WIP that might get you exposure in an unexpected media outlet. Goddess of the Hunt has all sorts of potential. Perhaps I could get featured on one of those ESPN13 fly-fishing programs! I keep hearing Hugh Grant in Notting Hill … “The readers of Horse and Hound will be delighted.”
One lucky commenter will win an ARC of Cait London’s At The Edge, a leopard-print journal with the FanLit logo, and another new release of her choosing! Come back tomorrow to hear me dish about lunch at Saks with Tessa Woodward and Esi Sogah – from their pet peeves about queries to their favorite book title of the year.