As I said yesterday, the book is out of my hands now – it’s off to the printers. One would think that the work is done now, but it’s really just the beginning of the next phase of the publishing process – promoting the book. If you are looking for sneak peeks between the covers of Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story, today’s post is not for you. Come back tomorrow. If your curiosity leans towards the inside baseball secrets of independent publishing, stay close. This one’s for you.
How does one promote a book? There are several ways: cataloging, word of mouth, advertising, appearances and reviews. Cataloging is having your book appear in the menu like list of offerings from either your publishing company (for example: Tor’s Spring Catalog) an association’s listing (like Broad Universe’s ____) or being listed in an ISBN based catalog of available titles, like Books in Print. Advertizing – duh – you pay for. Make an ad and stick it someplace. Most often books are advertized in magazines, on the web and with direct marketing. Rarely will you hear a radio or TV ad for books – the cost doesn’t meet up with the results. (Are you starting to see my college marketing courses oozing through? My parents will be so proud that I’m using that education they paid for….)
Word of mouth, appearances and reviews – they are tricky. How does one generate WoM and acquire reviews BEFORE the book comes out? You send out ARCs – Advance Reader Copies. When I worked in the GPB newsroom, hardly a day went by that I didn’t find a small stack of books on my desk, sent to me by authors and publishers alike, hoping that I would pick theirs from diamond from among the silver and brass and write a feature or ask them for an interview. MANY of these books end up on the “to be donated” pile, not because they weren’t good, some were some weren’t, but because they didn’t “fit” with any of the topics or programs we were working on at the time. Some gave me the opportunity to meet really great people – really brilliant writers and personalities, and they got plugged on a state wide radio network. So, making a short story long, if you can get the ARC to the right person, they can do a lot for you.
Which means now that I’m DONE sending off the files to the printer, I get to START sailing on the ARC!
I’ve been sending out ARCs to a handful of blogs, writers and tastemakers in the Steampunk genre, and to a few newspaper and magazines I THINK will be interested. The response so far is FANTASTIC – See yesterday’s blurbs post. Many of the bloggers are keen to do reviews that will sync up a review with Launch Day – which is very helpful. And I’m happy. It’s tedious work, but getting feedback – especially the almost universal sentiment that William Kevin Petty really brings the illustration goods, is SO worth the effort!
Now – you may be asking yourself – is there a down side? Potentially. There is a possibility when one sends PDF’s out into the interwebs that they will be copied thousands of times and end up being pirated. It’s a risk, but one I try to minimize by putting the recipient’s name in the ARC so if it is “let go” or “passed around” I’ll know who did it. Not that one can put the genie back into the bottle, but at least you will know who to be cheesed off at.
If you are a reviewer or if you have a blog or a column or feel otherwise qualified in the least to review a children’s book – let me know you want an ARC.