Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I have to do WHAT?

Now that Erynn has so efficiently walked you guys through the steps of a proposal, I thought I'd introduce you to a future step in the process. (Partly, to give you hope that you WILL arrive here at this point, and partly, because you truly need this information)


Yep. That proposal you slaved over and bribed Erynn to proofread for you? (just kidding.) It caught the attention of an agent, who took it to a traditional publisher, who loved the concept, pushed it at their committee meeting, offered you a contract, and after signing on dotted lines and celebrating with obscene amounts of chocolate, you say...NOW WHAT?

Well, now there are probably revisions, line edits and galleys. But it's also time to start MARKETING! Woohoo!

This can be fun or terrifying, depending on your perspective. So let's keep it fun, shall we? The terrifying stuff should be over by now ;)   (ummmm we won't talk about negative book reviews and low sales)

Marketing is done in part by your publisher, and in part by YOU. But you need to think of it as your responsibility, because truly, you care the most and have the most passion for your story. Therefore, the most effect. Affect? I never get that right. I should Google this but am under deadline and need to finish this post, so I won't take the time. How's that for time management for the busy author? haha!

Anyway. Ahem.

There are several ways to market.

First, you have to ditch the overly humble "I can't brag about myself!" attitude because that's not what this is about. If you published in the Christian industry, then the book isn't about you, it's about God. About Jesus. About the reader. Get that in your head NOW and you will save yourself a lot of back and forth mental talk later :)

Secondly, you need to already have in place a website and a blog. Yes, BOTH unless you combine them at a site like wordpress. I like having them separate. and   To each their own, just make a decision and get the website up already! (you really should have done this before you pitched to agents/editors, FYI) Now, on that website is CONTENT. You have to have something there and you have to maintain it / update it regularly. If an editor or marketing department for your publishing house sees your website is deader than a Ghost Town, they won't be encouraged to spend marketing dollars on you. So blog already! :)

Thirdly, start spreading the word about your release on Facebook and Twitter and any other sites you're on. If you JUST contracted the story, that's fine! Go ahead and share the joy and let people know the gist of the story. (wait until paperwork has been completed however) Don't post public excerpts or go into detail since you might have revisions later, but you can start the buzz now! How fun is that?? :)

As you get info on your story, update your fans. Start drawing them in. Keep them in the loop. Such as "Got my revisions today, guys, and wow! Can't wait to make this story stronger" on a FB status. Or once you have permission, share your book cover on your website and twitter account. Offer contests in advance for a free autographed copy. But don't stop there - it's usually a year between contract and shelf, sometimes longer, so you have to stay connected to your readers along the way. giveaways of other people's books! Post articles on content related to your story (a cooking story? share recipes. a dog story? give tips on training your pet.) The options are endless. The main point is finding a way to connect with readers and excite them about your book too. Then keep that up periodically between your good news and your release date. You'll see a big difference :)

More next week :)


  1. Since my blog has always been a private piece of my life and I never aspired to gain lots of readers for it, this definitely seems the harder part of the deal here. Writing is a piece of cake compared to publicity. LOL! *When* that day comes, I'll know where to find reminders of what to do and why I must since I'll be disinclined..... =P

    (Note to self: start changing the way I think and ponder a new blog when my book is finished and polished.)

  2. Amen, Cjoy! I LOVE writing. I HATE everything else. Ha! ;) It is a learned skill. Great post, Betsy!!

  3. Great post! I've been emphasizing to my aspiring writer/author friends the importance of a blog/website/and business cards. :) Goodreads is another great tool as well.

  4. I'm just getting to the point where I'm going to have to begin marketing for "Purple Moon". I'm fine about the online promotion--however, it's the "in person" promotion I'm a little nervous about. Public speaking isn't my forte. And since I'm more of an introvert, interacting with others isn't either. I'm just thankful that the majority of marketing is done online these days.

    These are great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Blogging has been on my mind lately. I have no idea what to blog about though :( I don't really want to talk about myself.

  6. Thanks Erynn! Cjoy, a separate blog for author-business is a great idea. That's totally acceptable.

    Glad to help Alicia! :) Good for you. Yes, Goodreads is a fabulous tool and Waterbrook is launching a new marketing site that's similar to FB/Goodreads/other media sites called NOVELPRESS. Look it up soon, they're about to launch.

    Tonya, you don't have to talk about yourself to blog. Talk about other authors. Talk about books. Talk about other hobbies you enjoy. Talk about your spiritual journey, if you are okay sharing that. Talk about "What ifs" you ponder. There's no reason it has to be super personal :)

    Tessa, public speaking can be terrifying, and its' something that gets easier with practice. Start small (book club or Sunday school class) and work up. Definitely not something to throw yourself into full scale to a crowd of 50+ ;)