It’s Wednesday. Let’s talk craft again today. Last week we talked about what to do before the book comes out. What about afterwards, from the book birthday onward? Wickeds, which post-release strategy do you find most successful in getting the word out about your book? Have you ever poured a lot of time/money/energy into a strategy that bombed? How long do you keep promoting one book before turning to the next one?
Jessie: I like to have launch parties. Mostly because I love to throw parities in general. I pick a theme and then I go a little crazy. My first book, Live Free or Die, has a fire chief as the protagonist and I centered the menu around foods that were smoked, charred and melted. And I held a New Hampshire trivia contest with local wine and a fire extinguisher as prizes. Such fun!
Edith: You gave away a fire extinguisher, Jessie? That’s fabulous! One of the things I like to do post-release is donate naming rights for a character in my next book to a charity auction. A couple of years ago they put the offer in the live auction and brought me up on stage to introduce it, and there was a real bidding war, finally raising something like $350 for the name. It raises awareness of me as an author and all my post-release books, and also lets people know more books are coming. People seem to really like the idea of their name in a book. I do state it won’t be the name for the protagonist, the villain, or the victim. But I don’t think we ever stop promoting our books, do we?
Barb: One thing I advocate is careful tracking of the publicity your book does get. I have a Google alert on my name (practically useless because my name is so common) and one on my title (much more useful) and on “Maine Clambake Mystery” (most useful of all). That way, I do find out about most of the blog reviews and other stories about the books on the Web. I link to them from my website (for example, you can find the reviews of Musseled Out here and other articles about me or the books here), but more important it creates a record of who reviewed the book for next time, so I can approach people about Advance Reader copies or let them know NetGalley previews are available. Fans are the most precious thing an author has, and it’s important to reach out to them if you can.
Sherry: Barb, you are so good about tracking! Like Jessie I’ve done launch parties for my first two books. But I look at them more as a celebration than marketing opportunity. The last one I did with Maya Corrigan — we share an agent, publisher, and this summer a release date. Barb Goffman interviewed us and it was a lot of fun — see the picture to the left. I’ve done a number of books signings and average selling 15 books. I have a love/hate relationship with these events. I meet new people who might not have heard of me otherwise but I always feel like a wet noodle afterwards. When I don’t want to do them my friend/publicist Mary Titone always says: It’s your job!
Liz: Since I’m lucky enough to be part of the animal community and my books strongly feature animals, I try to have events and parties at animal-related places. The launch party for my first book was at a doggie bakery and it was tons of fun! Shaggy even got her own cake 🙂
Fellow writers: What works and doesn’t work for you? Readers: Has something an author done helped you find her books?