The other night I went to a very informative event that was part of the SCBWI New York Chapter Professional Series. It was called "Marketing to the Max", and featured Susanna Reich, author and publicist, and Melanie Hope Greenberg, children's book author/illustrator. I went partly to show solidarity with Melanie, whom I know, and partly to see if I would learn anything new.
Well, I suppose I knew most of it already, but there was something about having it organized and presented over the course of two hours that reminded me of some things I haven't done, and that completely overwhelmed me with what I should be doing.
Here's a short list:
- Keep your Web site up to date and make sure it's easy for people to find out about you and your books.
- Get to know the names of key people in the industry.
- Use social networking not just to connect with friends and family, but as a way to "spread the love" in terms of acknowledgments and shout-outs for other writers and industry professionals.
- Make sure people know you're available for readings/signings and events.
- Have activities or some kind of hook for your events.
- Make sure you have business cards, bookmarks, postcards, fridge magnets, fake tattoos, etc. etc. etc.
- Have a launch party, at a local book store, to which you invite all your friends and contacts.
- Meet with your publicist at your publishing house to find out what they're doing, and what you can do to help them.
- Reach out to the local media (if you have local media--a bit of a problem in NYC).
- Make sure you're not double-teaming your publicist.
- Make and nurture your own mailing (or emailing) list. This is really, really time-consuming.
- Look for ways to connect with interested groups outside of the book world. If your book features a talking turtle, for instance, conservation groups or naturalists (as opposed to naturists...)
- Set aside time every week to do publicity. It's part of your job as an author.
OK, so it's unlucky to list thirteen things. I don't know about you, but that's enough for me. I seriously spend about an hour every day just keeping up with Facebook and Twitter, and longer on days when I update my Web site.
And I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't take this opportunity to push my latest release, Anastasia's Secret, called by Publisher's Weekly "a magnetic reimagining" of the life of Anastasia Nicholaevna Romanova, the youngest grand duchess in the doomed Romanov family.
Don't you hate having to write those elevator pitches?
To all my writer friends: courage. To all my readers: remember how hard the authors you read have worked, not only on the books themselves, but on making sure people know they're out there.
Causes Susanne Dunlap Supports
New York Public Radio, WFCR, Connecticut Opera, Neuroblastoma Foundation