by Janet Fogg
Last week I mentioned some of the basics you need in your book marketing inventory, including social networking, your bio, photo, and a one-page book summary. Now we’re going to think about your book and what information will help you market it. The answers to the following questions could become part of a marketing plan that you’ll refer back to, so you might want to copy and paste these questions to start your own document(s). A few of these questions apply more to traditionally published non-fiction, but if you pause and reflect, you can also apply them to marketing your novel.
1. Where do you think the main market for your book lies? Remember to identify market(s) beyond the obvious.
Here’s an example. For Fogg in the Cockpit, the main market would be readers interested in World War II, since the book is about my late father-in-law’s life as a fighter pilot during the war. A secondary market would be railroad fans. Railroad fans? Yep. Post-war, Howard Fogg pursued his dream of becoming an artist, painting railroad and locomotive scenes, ultimately becoming famous in that specialty, so fans of his art might be interested in the book. How about historical societies and railroad historical societies? What about WWII museums or railroad museums? And so on.
Now list the various possibilities for your novel or book - and be creative! Don’t build any artificial roadblocks!
2. What journals, magazines, or blogs do book reviews on your genre or topic(s)?
Spend time researching this. Read their reviews so you can see what they like and don’t like.
For example, the editor of Flying Models Magazine was interested in Fogg in the Cockpit. What does Flying Models have to do with our WWII book? Quite simply - flying. The editor was excited about our query and requested a copy of the book. Here was an audience we hadn’t anticipated. Of course we sent requests to WWII magazines and railroad magazines, but we found an unexpected opportunity. So can you! Remember to turn ninety degrees to see who is looking over your shoulder.
3. Prepare a list of colleagues, associates, or experts you know who can offer a review of your book on Amazon, as well as those who might provide an endorsement.
I suggest you make a list of a dozen or more names and addresses, including email addresses. If you’re seeking an endorsement or quote for your book jacket, obviously you’ll need to plan ahead, as the colleague or expert will need time to read the manuscript draft. Many may graciously decline this opportunity. Don’t take it personally! They may be under deadline and simply don’t have the time to read your book.
As far as book reviewers, ask your publisher whether they’re willing to send ARCs or the final book to potential reviewers. Casemate was terrific about this – if we had a nibble for a review they’d immediately send a copy of the book. You can do this as well, and should, but remember to communicate your efforts to your publisher.
4. List names and addresses and contact names of any associations, societies and institutions, local, national and international, having members to whom your book should be of interest.
For example, if you’re writing a lumberjack murder mystery series, include lumberjack associations as well as arborists, orchardists, and perhaps even gardeners. What other societies leap to mind?
With this list, you’ll be poised for action, ready to send the association a query and press release about whether they might publish an announcement in their newsletter. Or, if they’re looking for articles, offer to write one! Again, think big and take ninety degree turns. Websites and newsletters are hungry for interesting, well-written content.
5. List any colleges/universities that may be interested in using your book as a text for continuing education.
While this is most applicable to non-fiction, there may be exceptions, so think about it!
6. Names and addresses of public personalities (other writers, bloggers, and experts) whose opinions about your book might help it find a larger audience, or who might specifically like to review your book on publication.
Know anyone famous? How’s your six degrees of separation? Well, you don’t really need to know a famous personality to query them as you can track down mailing addresses on the web, and you could be surprised by who might respond. (We certainly were!) A professional query goes a long way, and if the subject of your book is of interest, a public personality might just say they’ll review your book.
With that vision of stars dancing through our heads, it’s time to pause until next Monday, when I’ll continue to look at developing your book marketing inventory, with questions such as, “Why did you write this book?” and how your response might be utilized.