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Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter
Hey where's the Warmth????

April 16, 2004
in this issue
-- How to Write a Marketing Plan
-- The Marketing Strategy and Campaign
-- Murphy's Law
-- Advertising vs. Publicity
-- Beyond Oprah
-- The Warning Signs of an Incompetent Publicist
-- Review Copies & Bound Galleys
-- How to make a splash with your Press Kit
-- FAQ's

Greetings Everyone!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Holiday. On behalf of everyone I'd like to extend a warm welcome to all our new subscribers.

After receiving a number of questions and requests about target audience and marketing campaigns - this week I have decided to skip all sections of our newsletter - sent out a notice to all other subscribers that we are bypassing this week - to bring one very special issue for authors and aspiring writers only.

FYI: We now have 2126 subscribers - of those only a small portion are writers - approx just over 200 - the remainder are readers and consumers from all across the country, as well as Canada, Mexico, Australia and now somehow Italy.

What does this mean? It means: EXPOSURE.

The way I look at it-- if only 1% of the subscribers purchase any book mentioned in our newsletter, then something good has come of it.

The reason you will see the variety of information in the newsletter, is because most of these guests have been subscribers since '96 when I began my first newsletter as a chat room moderator. I combined them when BLP started taking up most of my time.

Now, since all of you are not from the same publishing house, this plan has been created to accomodate everyone who has a book to sell.

What you read here you will not find on my website, and after talking to a dear friend - I have begun compiling "The Author's Companion," which consists of tons of information, templates and more. A book that will take any writer from the pre-publishing phase into the marketing phase and beyond.

If after reading this issue you still have questions, please send them in. We will post them in the next issue along with an answer - only because they may benefit others. This also keeps me from repeating any subject.

Ok now let's start at the beginning - - -

How to Write a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan tells the publishing staff what's interesting, unusual, and special about you and your book and how you think the book can be promoted.

To get an idea of your publisher's sensibilities, ask your editor for a copy of the latest catalog. From reading it you can find out how the publisher presents and describes their books. You can use this as a guide for writing about yours.

Don't plan on writing the plan in one sitting. One useful tactic is to begin your plan as a rough draft that you embelish over the course of several weeks, as you develop more ideas about how to market your book. Personally I'm constantly reviewing and revising -- there is no end to this plan.

Make your plan a thrifty one. Focus on promotional ideas that do not require your publisher (or you) to spend a lot of money. If your title is a "midlist" book (ie., any book not at the top of the publisher's priorities), then you stand little chance of persuading your publisher to spend the kind of money required for print ads and other paid media.

Where you stand a better chance of getting some money is for publicity, which is relatively inexpensive.

"Publicity" refers to the array of strategies that generate positive (and free) media coverage of your book. This coverage can create the ever desirable word-of-mouth attention -- when your book becomes the topic of conversation between friends and colleagues as they recommend your book to one another.

While you're thinking about appropriate publicity strategies, be honest with yourself.

You know your own comfort level in public forums. If you are wildly uncomfortable with the idea of doing live interviews or bookstore appearances then do not force yourself. On the other hand, if you're uncomfortable with the idea of giving interviews, but think that with some media or speech training that you could become an effective communicator, then perhaps push for a publicity tour. Personally I hate appearances but when they're offered do not turn them down!

A publicity tour-- a trip to several cities where you will be interviewed by the media and appear in bookstores - - is warranted if your book is topical and makes for interesting conversation on talk shows, which then might draw audiences to attend bookstore signings or talks. A tour also makes sense if your book is controversial, if you have an unusual life story to tell, or followed an unusual path to becomig a writer. On the audience side of the equation, having friends and family in other cities who can help drum up support is an important factor in determining whether you should tour.

If you want to go on a book tour, then let your editor know when your book is acquired or at least before you've turned in a marketing plan. That way your editor can begin to advocate for this in early conversations with the publisher and director of publicity.

A book tour is merely one tool to promote a book. You will become familiar with many other ways to get the word out about yours. Among them are concentrated press pitches to the national press in NY and Washington, DC, local book signings and publicity in your hometown, postcard mailings, and even radio interviews conducted by phone. Then of course there's the Internet - a tool for self-promotion as well as an open market to sell your book.

Some sections of the marketing plan will duplicate the author's questionaire that your editor may ask you to complete. However, as the marketing plan specifically addresses how to sell your book, redundancies are expected and forgiven.

The marketing plan should include:

*Book title, your name, and contact information
*Book description
*Target audience(s)
*A positioning statement - the 1 or 2 sentences that capture the essence and appeal of your book
*Why you wrote the book - the background story
*Marketing strategy and Campaign
*Sales handles and media angles
*Competitve titles/comparative titles
*Personal and professional contacts (who might help in the book launch or who might give you a "blurb" or endorsement)
*Your prior media experience
*Sales leads
*Your top 10 media and marketing wish list and ideas how to target them (this last item is optional, but it's really impressive and puts you way ahead of your competition on your publisher's list)

To breakdown a few of these:

The Title: is the essential to its effective marketing. Its job is to tell and sell.

A good title, in combination with the book jacket, will prompt the bookstore browser to pick up the book. Book reviewers sift through mail sacks filled with books by unknown writers: It is the book with an intriguing title or cover design that's likely to get pulled out of the pile first.

Goals: the first important step in writing a plan is to understand and articulate your goal for the book. A goal helps you focus your expectations.

Perhaps you want to become a bestseller, or to influence public policy. Make your stated goals realistic so that you appear credible. If you've written a book on a narrow topic and you expect a bestseller, then you've got to produce a convincing marketing plan.

Book description: many people working on promoting or seling your book may never have the time to read it. It is to your absolute advantage to carefully convey what your book is about in 2 to 3 tightly written paragraphs.

What you write will become the basis of how the publishing staff will describe your book when they go out to sell it. Your description may even be used verbatim throughout the course of your book's publication in all manner of promotional materials - from tip sheets and catalog copy to flap copy and press releases.

Target audience(s): one approach is coming up with a reader profile, literally writing down who you think your readers are, their age group, their personal and professional interests, and so on.

Your definition of your audience will help you and your publisher to concentrate resources on reaching your largest groups of readers.

The Marketing Strategy and Campaign

The marketing strategy portion of your marketing plan addresses how you or your publisher will reach your readership, and will probably require the most time and thought and continual refinement on your part. This is really the heart of your campaign - the blueprint for how you will reach your target audience.

Here I have compiled many ideas and examples of successful strategies (some are my own) that you can draw on to develop your own marketing strategy. Not all examples will apply to every book, but they should serve to stimulate the marketing side of your brain.

While you were writing the book, did you envision a particular kind of reader?

Which individuals will benefit from reading your book?

Think broadly, as your book likely has more than one target audience.

Who do you think will buy your novel?

If your answer to that is "all readers of general fiction" then try to further refine your thinking. Among readers of fiction, are they women who enjoy the Oprah- favored hardship-to-recovery novels, men who enjoy techno-thrillers, readers of mysteries with crossover mainstream themes, readers of family dramas, and so on?

Can your book attract readers of books from other genres?

What age groups might take interest in your book?

If you're writing about midlife themes, then chances are that the young Gen Y readers will not take much interest.

Are your potential readers located in a particular geographic region?

If your book takes place in Iowa, for example, then Iowans should be a particular target of your marketing and publishing campaign.

Would your book interest people of a particular ethnic background, whether because of themes you address or because of your own identity?

Can your book tie in to local or national political campaigns?

One publishing house, Addison-Wesley, went right to the core market for a book called Reinventing Government, by David Osborne. Intending to get the book in the hands of reporters covering the New Hampshire primaries, the publisher sent staff to New Hampshire to place complimentary copies in local bars where the national political reporters were hanging out. Many of the snowbound journalists wrote about the book. The subsequent coverage and sales launched the book onto the New York Times bestseller list.

Could your book interest policy makers?

Then suggest that your publisher send copies of the book to public opinion leaders and opinion columnists, who can become important mouthpieces for your book.

For example: You could send a book that touches on political or social matters to influential government leaders who are interested in your subject matter. For a promotion for The Tenth Justice, the bestselling novel by Brad Meltzer about a group of fictional clerks at the Supreme Court, the publisher sent books to the current clerks and other members of the Justice Department, knowing that this audience could help build interest in Washington, D.C.

Does your book contain a strong spiitual or social message, in which case a church or other religious congregation can help spread the word?

Then send copies of a self-empowerment book to the church leaders, for instance, and invite them share it with their congregation.

Is your book aimed at a specific self-help readership?

Then you might try working through the national media, which offers many service stories.

For example: a diet book, by definition geared to any American who thinks he or she is overwight, might be launched by natinal television media appearances, as well as excerpts or coverage in women's magazines.

Does your book have a nich readership and if so, what media vehicles reach that readership?

For example: the publisher of a basic early childhood parenting book would target first-time parents by trying to sell excerpts to parenting magazines, offering free excerpts to parenting sections of newspapers (which often can't afford to pay for excerpts), and setting up media interviews for the authors.

A few lucky authors have had their books excerpted in the promotional brochures of the baby formula manufacturers Similac and Enfamil. Others have been bought by HMOs, which offer information about preventive medicine to theirs members.

Does your subject matter appeal to a dedicated group of journalists and other professionals who can generate exposure and buzz for your book?

For example: a sports book could be promoted to sportcasters who might mention the book during on- air broadcasts of games.

Your publisher might also contact the public relations people at local sports arenas to see if they will put copies of the book in the pressroom at game time.

Can your book tie in with a local or national event?

A book about the fashion industry called Model, by Michael Gross, coincided with Fashion Week in New York City, when the new collections were launched.

The publisher delivered press packets to the hotel rooms of fashion reporters who were in town for the shows. The author was ubiquitous at Fashion Week's parties and events, and was widely quoted everywhere in the fashion press. The publisher also worked with Saks Fifth Avenue, which mounted window displays that were themed around the book.

Can you link your book to events in the news?

When former First Lady Hilary Clinton professed an admiration for Eleanor Roosevelt, publishers of Roosevelt biographies reprinted works by and about Roosevelt, and positioned their authors as experts on first ladies.

Political campaigns, the latest crime statistics, teachers, shortages, reading scores, teenage behaviors, caring for the aging parents, the economy - whether declining or booming - the environment: Reporters cover all these issues on a continuing basis and need to interview experts. Keep current with what's going on in the world, and if you see opportuinty to tie into the news headlines, then let your publicists know. If you are doing your on publicity, call or email the appropriate reporters to let them know about your book.

Could your book be part of cultural programs organized by your local department store?

For example: Macy's stages hundreds of special events a year and will invite authors to participate as guest lecturers. The store will also offer the author's books for sale.

The people that you interviewed for your book may help you promote it.

Confirm your sources' willingness to help out and state that fact in the marketing plan.

For example: James Hirsch's Hurricane is an uthorized biography of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, for which Carter appeared in interviews with the author. A writer of fiction might call upon any intriguiging individual he or she interviewed in doing background research for the novel.

Can you link your book to a holiday or anniversary?

Check out a directory published every fall called Chase's Calendar of Events, which lists all kinds of quirky events, bithdays, celebrations, and anniversaries, such as National Pie Day and American Education Week, among many others. You may find an event to connect to your book's marketing.

Are you an effective or charismatic public speaker?

Then emphasize public appearances and media interviews as a key part of your campaign.

Does your book's success depend on favorable and widespread book reveiew coverage?

A campaign for a literary novel or work of serious nonfiction might focus on getting galleys into the hands of book reviewers and influential critics on the board of the National Book Critics Circle, which awards an annual literary prize.

To accomplish this you might recommend a higher printing of galleys than usual. (Galleys - a bound paperback-style edition of your book printed 3-5 months before its publication - allow reviewers who have a long lead time to read and review the book in time for the book's publication.)

Are you good-looking or unusual-looking or are you an eccentric?

Some publishers promote the author's good looks (Michael Chabon for his 1st book, The Mysteries of Pittsbugh) or outrageous personality (David Sedaris for his collection of essays, Naked) alongside the book's literary merits.

Can you create a trend story around your book conducting informal surveys or polls?

You do not have to be Gallup. As long as you poll people in a credible way, your results can form the basis of a press pitch for your book.

The survey might even provide the basis for your book, as well as offering marketing angle. For a book called Married Lust from Redbook magazine, the author Pamela Lister conducted research through surveys on the very active Redbook Website and got 10,000 responses. What men and women reported about their feelings about sex and marriage became both part of the book's content and its press coverage.

If you have a Web site and attract sufficient traffic, then you can conduct your surveys online.

Does your book have strong visuals?

A photo insert with just a few stunning photographic images can create significant publicity for a book. State in your marketing plan the nature of the photos that are available to help market the book. Strong visuals can become the basis not only for press coverage but also for striking window dislpays for booksellers.

For David Halberstam's book The Fifties, the publisher created sets of easel-backed photographs of iconic images from the 1950s for displays.

Can you create a photo opportunity around the subject of your book?

You might stage an event with a compelling visual that local or even national press will want to shoot. A shot of you handing a check to the president of a local charity is not an exciting photo. But a shot of the prizewinners at your constume party to raise money for that charity is a good photo op.

Does your book tie into current social trends and concerns?

For example: a recent parenting book posited the idea that parents are less important than peers in determining a child's values and behavior. The argument generated a media interest because it tapped into parental anxieties about whether we're raising our children right.

For any project-based book, you might show finished projects.

For examples: a crafts book author will bring a finished craft on-air for a television demo. For a floral arranging book you might present different styles of floral arrangements.

The publicist or yourself might offer free excerpts of a project and illustrations to newspapers and Web sites.

Does your book offer controversial information?

If so, you can withhold information until publication date to build interest and suspense among your target audience.

The idea behind embargoing content until publication is that the contents will instantly create nse headlines that will in turn drive instant book sales.

If the information leaks out before publication, then the news value is lost since books are not available for consumers to buy at the very moment when they're most interested in it.

Typically books that are published like this are gossipy celebrity books, or exposÚs. But if your book contains never-before-known information within your field, then alert your publisher to that fact: They are not experts in your subject area and may not recognize the news value in your work.

Does your book offer a contrary point of view?

Then stir up controversy through public or journalistic debate over your position.

Will your book provoke curiosity among pople who think they are in the book?

A publicity technique that sometimes works nicely to promote popular biographies and autobiographies, as well as books of a sensational nature, is sending a copy of the book's index to the individuals who are mentioned in the book.

This tease gets them talking about the book - just what you want.

Can you attract guest to a book party who will start serious buzz about your book?

Parties can also be useful in the context of an industry trade show, where your publisher can introduce you to key booksellers. They can also work as sales opportunities say, if a friend is throwing you a party and your publisher or local bookseller brings books to sell to the guests. However, unless a party can achieve some real word of mouth or sales for a book, do not expect your publisher to pay for one just for the sake of it.

Can you come up with a celebrity angle or connection to celebrities?

Perhaps seek and obtain endorsements from celebrities. This may involve many months of relentless pursuit through their publicist or agents or as easy as 1 2 3, but still doable.

This is my favorite target! For my recent novel Caleng and the Moonstone Pearl, I have letters from LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow), J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) and Peter Jackson(LOTR). Then requests from associates in the name of Ellen Degeneres and Wayne Brady.

Can you create an award?

When his novel Secrets was published, Kelvin Christopher James created an annual award writing contest with a cash prize that he presented to three NYC high school students for their esays about "Getting Along in New York."

The award angle enabled him to book on NPR's Talk of the Nation along with first-prizewinning student, as well as to get a column in the New York Daily News. The next year, his publicist used the award angle to get a column in the NYT. All this for a literary short story writer and novelist.

Another example: Novelist Rona Jaffe has created a foundation through which she administers a grant program for women writers in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Every year the award's presentation is covered in the media.

Can you host a fundraiser or other charity event to raise your profile?

Create a local cause-cased event for any institution in need: the public library, a chidlren's daycare center, a museum, literacy program, any organization that has some reasonable connection with the message or intent of your book.

Can you stage a stunt?

No, you don't have to dress up like a bunny or a clown. But if you're willing to make yourself the center of attention, and if you make the stunt a visual one, then you've improved the chances that television news crews will want to tell your story.

The attention-getting event could be a contest, a fashion show, or a pet parade - anything out of the norm for your community.

Can you create a quiz around your book's theme?

A quiz can provide entertaining material for radio discussion about your book, or else for pickup in the print media.

For example: a publisher of a first aid book created a quiz to test the reader's first aid knowledge that was picked up in the New York Daily News as well as other publications.

A quiz can be serious or light entertainment depending on the nature and tone of your book. To promote Don't Know Much About the Civil War, author Kenneth Davis created quizzes and a crossword puzzle. Many of his radio interviews for the book took the form of "Stump the Author" with callers to the show asking tough questions about the Civil War.

Should you take a grassroots approach to building an audience?

Laurie Beth Jones, author of Jesus, INc and Jesus CEO, toured the US in her RV to reach more cities than a traditional tour could finance.

Can you team up with other writers in your genre?

Mystery and romance writers sometimes go on the road with other writers to help build one another's audiences and to save on expenses.

Linking to News Events - a Word of Caution

Link to the news in a tasteful manner. A publishing newletter that appeared days after the destruction of the World Trade Center urged readers who had written books about grief, airport security, or skyscraper architecture to get in touch with news organizations to make themselves available for interviews - all legitimate topics. But before you tag onto a catastrophic event, ask yourself if you are providing a public service by letting the media know your expertise, or merely straining to connect your book to the event. Many public relations people caugh flak from the press for attempting far-fetched connections to 9/11 on behalf of their clients. Perhaps there are just some ocassions when you shouldn't be thinking about book sales.

An Author Creates Marketing Events for Her Own Books

Bestselling author Lois Wyse is the author of 65 books. A marketer by profession, her success offers lessons for would-be marketers who want to sell their books to readers. Her books all have ready-made, built-in marketing angles. For a book called How to Take Your Grndmother to the Museum, she traveled with her coauthor, who happened to be her young granddaughter, to a number of tour cities where the local museums provided the press-worthy local settings for publicity interviews. For Women Make the Best Friends, the publisher setup friendship teas and parties in bookstores where women were encouraged to bring a friend. And for Funny, You Don't Like a Grandmother, Wyse had the idea to set up power breakfasts for grandmothers. The concept created a lot of buzz and print coverage and the book reached #1 on the NYT bestseller list.

A Book Campaign Connected to News Events That Did Not Sell Books

Shortly after Heidi Fleiss and Sidney Biddle Barrows had been arrested for running a call-girl-ring, Hollywood's Madame Alex published a book. Her publicists booked her on a major national talk show for which she procurred several call girls for an on-air appearance. The woman, some of them in disguise, were interviewed in the NYC studio while Madame Alex appeared live remote from LA. Well, the Madame couldn't hear the talk show host very well through the studio earpiece, so when he asked her if her girls were "ambitious," she misheard and replied indignantly, "My girls are not bitches." As book promotion segments go, it was hugely funny, but didn't sell many books.

In this case the subject matter was interesting to the audience as an amusing media story, but not as a book. The point is, you can reach the potential consumer, but is your book something they really want? That is the gamble that publishers make everyday with every book.

The Worthwhile Book Party

Some people in the business think it gauche to sell books at a party; other pragmatic folk will take a sale anytime and anywhere (that's me!!); others suggest that friends should buy books at bookstores, not at parties, to help build bookstore reorders.

I'm in the "sale is a sale" school of thought, because I like to capture the sale for a book at the moment the consumer is interested.

You will simply have to make up your own mind about what to do. If you sell the books at your parties or any other events, then buy them at your author discount rate, charge full retail price for the book, and you get to keep the profit. (And depending on your contract, you probably get paid a royalty for those copies.) Many authors will have a friend help sell the books so that they can meet their guests instead of handling a cash box. If your publisher is involved with your party then your publicist can bring books either to sell or give away.

To keep party costs down (and therefore have access to more funds for other elements of your campaign), call a liquor company. Ask to speak to its public relations account manager or publicist about contributing the liquor for a promotional event. Explain what the party is for and offer to fax the guest list including your guests' professional titles. If the size and caliber of the guest list are suitably impressive, you may get a free case of wine or champagne.

Create a Tie-in to a TV show or movie

You know that the hot motion picture - usually the one that was #1 at the box office over the weekend - gets an incredicle amount of public attention for a short period, usually a few weeks. The highest-rated new TV show of the season gets similarly disproportianate share of buzz for a somewhat longer period - up to several months.

By creating a campaign that ties your book to these popular big-and little-screen attractions, you can siphon off some of their buzz and apply it to your own story for greatly expanded media coverage.

Spotlight your book!

You can use many products as props or devices to add visual and tactile interest to PR and promotional campaigns.

For example: one publisher who advertised his magazine as the "hot" publication in its field sent a handsome tin containing a pound of chili powder to potential advertisers.

Look for combinations

Someone once complained to me, "There's nothing new in the world. It's all been done before."


But an idea doesn't have to be something completely new. Many ideas are simply new combinations of existing elements. By looking for combinations, for new relationships between old ideas, you can come up with a fresh approach.

Murphy's Law

Every book seems to include a warning about Murphy's Law, as one who has been there on more than one occassion - I can attest to this.

When you're working to publicize your book, whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and if you're not prepared to deal with it, it can take you down.

The media will make commitments in good faith. Usually, they intend to fullfill their promises, but you know what they say about good intentions! They'll tell you that your story will be featured in the Sunday magazine, on the evening news, or get a special Web page link.

You'll get excited and alert your friends, family, and customers or clients. Then the bottom will drop out. Everything will change. The media won't deliver and you'll be left red-faced, trying to explain what went wrong.

When you deal with the media, you're getting involved in the news business and news always comes first. Your story could be the tatiest thing since vanilla-iced raisin bread, but it may be supplanted by some mundane, late breaking story merely because the story is news. It's how the business works. It's not personal. News takes priority over everything else. The newest and most recent events always takes precendence.

Expect disappointments and please be professional.

Your stories will be cut, chopped, revised, and disfigured beyond recognition. They'll be postponed, bumped, rescheduled, rewritten, and canceled once again.

Instad of praising your book, reporters may detest it and write editorials demanding that you be criminally prosecuted.

Don't blow your top, become depressed, or alienate media contacts because you were dumped from the morning show. Be a "good sport," even though you're aching inside. Take it in stride, be professional, and try to turn defeats into assets. Expect rejections, disappointments, and ambushes, and try to salvage the most from them.

Never take it personally. Its not you, or your book, it's simply the business. When you recieve rejection, try to learn the reason. Analyze your submission from the vantage point of the person of who rejected it. When you have answers, revise your submission to eliminate those problems. The best way to cope is to view every rejection as a lesson, an opportunity to strengthen your approach, and move a step closer to your goal.

Remember, you're in a trial by fire in which the hardest steel must endure the hottest flame. Let the media's blows toughen your hide and your resolve. Then mix in a heavy dose of persistence and you'll be fine. You'll weather another storm and be better for it.

Advertising vs. Publicity


Your marketing plan should focus on publicity rather than advertising. Most advertising is too expensive to warrant spending on most books.

For example: small black-and-white ads in the New York Times, Washington Post, San Fransisco Chronicle, or the New Yorker cost approximately $8,000 to $12,000. Thos short book ads that you hear on National Public Radio? They cost upward of $13,000 for a minimum commitment to 12 fifteen second spots.

Other types of book advertising include bus or subway ads (pricey), television ad campaigns (you've got to spend at least $25,000 on production and then another $50,000 minimum if you're buying network time; less if you're focusing on cable), and radio advertising (around $20,000 or more).

In contrast, you have a much greater chance of reaching and, more important, engaging readers through a publicity campaign. A 10 city tour might cost $20,000 to $30,000. A tightly focused national media campaign - requiring travel to New York and Washington, D.C., will cost you or your publisher $500 to $4,000, depending on where you live.

If Canada is part of the book's market, then the national media in Toronto might also be included in the national campaign.

Typically book tours cost between $1,200 and $2,500 a city. Expenses include the hotel room, airfare, ground transportatin, and food. The media coverage you can get through publicity is more extensive than what you can buy with the equivalent dollars spent in advertising.

Beyond Oprah

Often the most desired goal for a successful publishing launch is to get on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the single most influential media on book sales for more than a decade.

Oprah has democratized and demystified the act of reading, and so has encouraged reading - and book buying - among a broad swathe of the population.

However, no secret formula exists for appearing on her show, even after months and years of pitching a concept, or sheer fluke and luck of timing might lead to a speedy booking on the 1st try. And even then, the appearance does not guarantee bestsellerdom.

While you should put time and thought into figuring out how your book might interest Oprah's producers, getting on the show shouldn't be the only focus of your book's campaign strategy. In any case, before you decide what show is right for your book you should familiarize yourself with that show by watching (or taping) and observing.

What topics are discussed, what authors are interviewed, how is the interview conducted, and so on. Beyond Oprah, the following media outlets have influenced book sales for many years:

Dateline NBC
60 Minutes
The national evening news on one of the network stations - a supremely difficult placement to get but one that reaches many millions of people
Today, Good Morning America, The Early Show
In Canada, a spot on Canada AM
Television shows with on-air book clubs: Reading with Ripa
NPR programs like: All Things Considered
Imus in the Morning
In Canada, the CBC's: This Morning
Despite its raunchy content, Howard Stern can also be surprisingly productive for authors
CNN's Larry King
PBS's The Charlie Rose Show

A write-up in a nationally syndicated column can reach millions of readers.

William Safire of NYT magazine
Dave Barry of Miami Herald
Molly Ivins of Ft. Worth Str-Telegram
A feature in the national wire service, the Associated Press
USA Today
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
In Canada: the Globe and Mail

The Warning Signs of an Incompetent Publicist


Doesn't return phone calls promptly and publication date is 3 to 4 months away.

Doesn't seem to understand what your book is about.

Is endlessly caught up in process, like tweaking press materials and researching press lists. But then doesn't seem to know anyone in the media or talk about her/his ideas for any pitches.

Speaks in publcity jargon and you don't know what he/she is talking about.

Talks to you about other author campaign's that he/she is working on but not yours.

Dismisses any ideas that you come up with but contributes none of her/his own.

Pretends to know more than she/he really does.

Wants to get you off the phone quickly.

You get a nasty sinking feeling in your stomach everytime you talk to him/her.

If you recognize these symptoms in your dealings with your publicist, do not dial 911, do not take 2 aspirins then crash for an hour --- SCREAM - COMPLAIN and DEMAND!

Talk to the editor - have your book reassigned - if that doesn't work call the director of publicity. You can also choose to get your agent involved.

Review Copies & Bound Galleys


A limited number of copies of your book are preprinted and paperbound, then sent to book reviewers, some producers, and key bookstore buyers. These copies are called galleys and the text is generally a typeset, but not proofread, version of your book.

For the most important books on the publishing list, your publisher will send a large quantity of more elegantly produced galleys called advance reading copies to a wider circle of booksellers and media to pique early interest.

If you are the one sending out galleys - print out the first version (this is usually a pdf file) sent to you by your publisher using 3 hole paper, use cardstock and fasteners or your choice of covering before sending out. This cost can be extreme so DO NOT send unless requested.


Ok so the book is published now what?

Publishers will send reviewers a free copy of a book as part of their marketing plan, in the hopes that it will be reviewed and brought to the favorable attention of the reviewer's audience/readership.

Keep in mind that some publishers are under no obligation to send review copies.

By the same token reviewers are under no obligation to review a book sent to them unrequested.

With this said by no means send anything without permission. Always query first, whether by snail mail or email. As long as you enclosed information on how they can acquire a copy - they will request it.

Again if soliciting celebrities, send only a request let them convey their wishes as to whether they want to read your book or not.

Once more, this can be a costly mistake so use caution.

How to make a splash with your Press Kit

A press kit contains all the elments that could interest the media in you.

What you will need:

A graphics program
2 pocket glossy folders with business card insert (black or navy blue)
Business cards
8 1/2 x 11" Sticker sheets
Press Release
2 News articles (or complete reviews printed on seperate sheets)

In your graphics program start with a standard sheet 8 1/2 x 11" blank page - make sure the sheet orientation is set at "portrait."

On the blank graphic page insert your cover (no back or spine, crop if needed) - you may need to stretch out to fill page but leave 1/2 white space all around.

Insert 1 sticker sheet into printer and print.

Remove backing and place on top of selected folder - press lightly making sure no bubbles and entire sheet is adhered to folder.

Inside Pockets: Your right - place press release - left pocket place news articles, one bookmarker, and one postcard. Insert business card into slot.

That's it! Now your folders look elegant and well presented. DO NOT insert more than needed. It's a waste - less is best. The only question a store manager will now ask is -- does our distributor carry it?

Make as many as you think you will need.

There are other imaginative ways to package press materials so that they get noticed:

When she was publicizing a book called The Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn, publicist Grace McQuade came up with an inspired press packet. The book reveals hundreds of imaginative and simple ways for families to save money and became a NYT bestseller. Consistent with the book's penny-pinching philosophy, she mailed out the press packet inside brown paper lunch bags with a sticker of the book's cover pasted on the front. The campaign received a lot of media attention.

For a mystery novel by Barbara D'Amato called Authorized Personnel Only, the author suggested that her publicist wrap the press materials in yellow police tape, another effective way to catch the eyes of reviewers.

But be cautioned: DO NOT waste money on expensive giveaways, UNLESS the item is truly unusual, or very funny, it will go in the garbage.

Postcards, with a picture of the cover of your book on one side and advance praise and a description of the book on the back.

If you're paying for the postcards, check out the reasonable prices at


What's the point in marketing?

Quite simply, its necessary in determining how to sell books as fast as possible to as many people as possible. And if you can't achieve high-speed sales, you still benefit from ongoing small though steady sales.

Can I hire a publicist?

Sure you can, but be prepared not only for the costs which most usually ask for an upfront retainer fee of $1500.00, and its results may not be what you want. Believe it or not, YOU are the better publicist for your book.

I still have no clue who my target audience is?

Then try some serious brainstorming with your editor, publicist, or friends. Getting other people's point of view will help you shape your media pitch.

Why did you write this newsletter?

Demand. Hopefully to end the mystery of book marketing. Advertising, promotions, and publicity are the three core areas of book marketing. Thus, the challenge for many writers, but much easier than most think.

What makes you an authority on how to market my book?

I'm not. I can only give you what I've learned. Currently I am an author like most of you and between creating weekly newsletters, research, working, reading & reviewing books, I too am patiently pushing my own marketing plan forward.

Oh yeah, and I have thousands of ideas and info swirling around in my head!

Can I become a bestseller?

I believe anyone can, by devoting a significant amount of time and imagination to helping the book succeed. The opportunity is there, ask yourself one question: How far are you willing to go?

But my book hasn't been published?

It's never too soon to get started.


So there you have it: Marketing in a nutshell. Stay tune though, as we have many other articles to include in future newsletters.


We appreciate and hope you continue to send us your comments, opinions, articles and suggestions. Remember if you submit anything to our newsletter - include a link back to your site.

Betsie's Literary Page is where readers and shoppers are respected, books are cherished, aspiring writers are encouraged and authors are adored.

Copyright by Betsie, 2004 All contents of this email are for the use of Betsie's Literary Page subscribers and may not be reproduced in any way and/or posted on websites without prior express written permission. If you would like to have friends or associates receive our emails, rather than forwarding this, please have them subscribe.

Thank You for reading, see you next week!

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