Friday, March 7, 2008

Chapter 8: No platform? Then convince publishers that you can and will market the book.

Actor Johnny Depp once said in an interview that beyond learning his part, he tries to add “that little something extra.” You can see that in his films. Captain Jack Sparrow was outrageous!

Let me suggest that, in order to get your manuscript noticed, you need to “add that little something extra.”

So the acquisitions editor has narrowed down that pile of 30 queries to five. But, what’s this? One author claims that he’s put together a 30-page marketing plan that he will forward upon your request. Now that’s “something extra.” That shows initiative. That shows that this author plans to help market the book. It shows that he understands something about marketing. And that will be your answer to the marketing department’s question: “Yes, but how will we market it?”

(Note: The acquisitions editor at Baker Books wanted my music book, but the marketing department shot it down, saying they didn’t think they could market it. If I’d offered a marketing plan upon request, I could have overcome that hurdle for them, because I knew ways to market it that they wouldn’t have thought of.)

Selling a book by an unknown author without a platform is a huge roadblock. A marketing plan can overcome it.

Show some initiative with your commitment to marketing. Every publisher’s dream is to get some writers with the marketing motivation and savvy of Canfield and Hansen on board.

I don’t think there’s a standard format for a marketing plan. Mine is pretty informal, with a bunch of ideas divided into appropriate sections. One publisher that rejected me did read my marketing plan and say it was “over the top.”

Section One: Secure Blurbs

Section Two: Get Media Coverage

Section Three: Write Related Articles

Section Four: Partner With Organizations; Piggy-Back on Movements

Section Five: Utilize the Web

Section Six: Get It Into Classrooms

Section Seven: Take Advantage of Gifts for Graduation

Section Eight: Use Other Proven Methods

Where do you come up with marketing ideas? Read a book or two on book marketing, indexing them in the back with the ideas that pertain to your book. Then, put them into your plan. Two of my favorites are:

1001 Ways to Market Your Books
Book Marketing 101

Other ideas on marketing and platforms? Respond below!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thanks Catherine, and good luck with the agent! There are so many ways to market books these days. If we can convince agents and publishers that we can pull it off, at least we've got our foot in the door.