Monday, January 26, 2009

Marketing A Novel

(What is outside my window: Snow has glazed the limbs of the trees and is softly falling.)

Friday I received an email from Peggy, Abingdon's long-time publicist. She gave me a glimpse into the marketing of my novel Surrender the Wind. I am sharing this with my blog readers, b
ecause there are misconceptions among many writers that publishers do nothing to promote their authors' books. Granted, this may not be the model that every publisher uses. But Abingdon is launching a new line of fiction. I like the word 'launch'. It implies the news about these novels will be set in motion, and thrust into the book industry with zeal.

So here is what I know so far. First, Peggy sent me a spread sheet with a list of bookstores in my area, from Frederick, Maryland, to Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Since I know the area better than the staff at Abingdon in Nashville, I was asked to go through the list and see what stores would be appropriate for a signing. I begin that today.

In January, Christian Retailing Magazine announced that Abingdon Press is launching its first list of novels in the fall of 2009. In February, Publishers Weekly will also publish an announcement about the launch.

In April, Abingdon will print and mail their Fall 2009 Fiction catalog to more than 8000 reseller accounts. So, if you own a bookstore, or work at a library, you could acquire a catalog. Abingdon will print several thousand copies of 'fiction samplers' for distribution at events and for reading groups. If you have a reading group, contact Abingdon in April for a 'fiction sampler' of their fiction line, particularly for Surrender the Wind.

Organizations, reviewers, and key influencers will recieve the samplers, ARCs (advanced reader copies, and electronic samplers. Abingdon is rebuilding their website to include a fiction mini-portal with an e-newsletter, author event calendar, author interviews, and support for reading groups. Once the site is up and running, I'll post the link here.

There is a lot to do on my end, even though Surrender the Wind will not be available until August. I'll be sending announcements and making contacts with my library system, local bookstores, and reading groups.

I want to encourage aspiring writers to learn all you can about the business side of writing. Embrace it with joy, that it is a part of your career.

As an aspiring author, what things are you doing now to promote your name? What kinds of things are you doing to build a platform?


Jessica said...

That's so cool! I love how you encourage writers to embrce this aspect of publishing. It definitely plays a role in the success of a book.
I'm not published but now I'm addicted to blogging and am part of some writer's loops, so I think that'll come in handy someday when I do get published. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rita -

When people say they hate marketing, I think they're really saying they're afraid. At least, that was the case with me.

As I've dived into the blogging pool, Facebook, ACFW, My Book Therapy, and TWV2, I'm finding that it's not hard. Sure there's a learning curve, but it's exciting.

I've gone into the whole venture with the attitude of helping others see their dreams come true. Meeting new friends, sharing information, and seeing their joy has enriched my life.

Thanks for a great post.

Susan :)

Bonnie Toews said...

I agree with Susan. Marketing to a shy introverted writer seems an invasive process. I've considered cloaking myself in the Greta Garbo mystique and letting the "mystery" sell me. That's what the author of THE THORN BIRDS did. But it's not the reality of being published today.

With your encouragement, Rita, I'm building my platform before I've completed my next novel--first with the redesign of my web site, then adding blogs at blog sites. Writing blogs was hard at first until my passion for writing my present novel gave me the inspiration to write about Heart Tugs ... at the Crossroads of Humanity.

I joined "MySpace" two years ago but have never developed my profile. Now I will take a closer look at the activity there. Also Facebook. I don't know the other three blog sites Susan mentions. I will have to look at them and see if they're a fit for me.

At the time I created a marketing plan for my first novel, someone suggested sending press releases to association magazines linked to the subject matter within the novel. That's how I joined the Military Writers Society of America, a platform for ex-military authors or those writing military fiction/non-fiction books to announce their latest releases. They are a very generous-hearted and supportive group.

Thank you for leading the way for the rest of us yet to find a publisher, Rita.

Hugs, Bonnie

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rita -

I noticed one of your commenters was unfamiliar with 3 of the groups I mention. Maybe I can de-mystify them for her. :)

ACFW is American Christian Fiction Writers. This group offers much support to the writer, including critique groups, a loop where you can ask questions and discuss topics, a prayer loop, and assorted other features. There's a modest membership fee.

TWV1 & TWV2 - The Writers View 1 is for published authors, while View 2 is for the beginner and intermediate writer. Owner: Mary DeMuth. Twice a week, a question is posed and the membership comments. Free.

My Book Therapy - Is Susan May Warren's group. Any member can introduce a topic. It's a great place to meet other writers, get questions answered, and learn new skills. Free.

Hope that answers the commenter's questions. :)


Rita Gerlach said...


Do you have links to The Writers View 1 and 2?


Jill Nutter said...

Hi Rita,
Wonderful and educational information to read. I'm soaking it up. Congratulations on your sale too. What fun. I look foward to reading, Surrender the Wind.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

My hubby would be so jealous of your snow right now. We don't see much of it here in Charlotte, and the small dusting we got last week didn't begin to wet his appetite for snow.

Rita Gerlach said...

Jennifer, I doubt he'd be jealous of the ice. Our street and sidewalks are covered with it. The roads aren't too bad, and I'm thankful the ice on the trees fell off yesterday when the sun came out for a bit.

These weatherly days give me the chance to stay indoors. I got a lot of writing done...edits on my next novel 'Beside Two Rivers'.