Monday, October 27, 2008

Publicity Tips

Yesterday, I started reading Publicize Your Book! by Jacqueline Deval, a former publicity director of several publishing houses. She emphasizes that even if you have a traditional publisher with a marketing department, authors must market their books if they expect them to sell.

She begins by sharing the story of James Barron, who wrote a "funny and informative" book for expectant fathers. At the time of Deval's writing, Barron had 185,000 copies in print. How did he do it? A couple of things stood out to me:

1) "He stopped by specialty stores like maternity shops, toy shops, and hospital gift shops" to persuade them to order from his publisher and sell the book, giving them a sales order form. He even offered to buy back the books if they didn't sell, but never had to buy any back. Forty to 75 stores ordered, and many of these kept re-ordering.

2) He selected three cities to target: New York City (where he lived), Chicago (where he grew up), and Atlanta (where his wife was from). He hired publicists in Chicago and Atlanta to "set up media and book signings, as well as to go to the sames kinds of specialty stores as he did in New York." I'd never really thought of publicity people as being regional. But it makes sense that some publicists would have lots of regional relationships and know all the possible outlets.

He said, "I work under the assumption that I'm going to get twelve rejections for every yes."
I like that. If I find some success in alternative outlets and discover that one out of 10 will say yes, then it becomes a time and numbers game. If I contact 100 stores, I might get 10 stores taking me. I can wade through the rejections if they net me some decent sales. Cool!

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