Marketing, likewise, only the stakes are higher, because that black hole will be sucking money from your hand.
Yet this we must do, because if no one knows of our books, they can’t purchase them. So when deciding on events and products for my launch later this month, I found it best to ask:
- Does this promotion fit within my budget of time and money?
- What do I hope to gain?
- Budget: Many will say a launch party is never worth the money (you’d have to sell one book for each dollar spent). But for me investing in such milestone celebrations makes life sweeter, and with donations and discounts, I believe we’ll have a night to remember.
- Gain: The party will give focus to the excitement surrounding my launch and encourage people to come out and buy the book—then recommend it to their friends and book clubs. Even if they don’t buy it I will have introduced it to my community, and I’ll still benefit by looking into the faces of the people who have stuck by me on this long crazy ride, who are thrilled for me, and who gain their own hope from my attainment of this long-desired dream. The wall-to-wall book love should generate enough good will to condensate in the wintry air and flurry down upon us.
- Budget: Free.
- Gain: By hosting a day-long Facebook event that features other up-and-coming women’s fiction authors, we will all gain cross-exposure to a well-targeted group of readers and followers. I will build new relationships with my fellow authors. We’ll prime the readership pump by giving away books. Interested readers will be able to ask questions, and I will be able to mark January 28 as special—otherwise, it would be an invisible and all-too-quiet demarcation between my unpublished and published status.
- Budget: Even publishers no longer believe tours are cost effective. But by choosing communities to which I’m connected, and where I’d be able to have a free place to stay the night, my publicist was able to cobble together short affordable tours in PA, NY, MD, MA, and OH.
- Gain: I get to hang out with family and friends that can’t make my launch, and extend my book’s exposure in those critical early months.
- Budget: Free, although costly time-wise.
- Gain: To appeal in the most direct way—through your writing, to those reading, throughout the blogiverse. Over the course of three months, I will guest post, be interviewed, or get reviewed on some 40 blogs. That’s great exposure.
- Budget: I decided against postcards due to cost, but am getting bookmarks (for general use) and bookplates (that I can personalize, sign, and send ahead to book clubs reading the book). I shopped around for competitive prices and hired a book-loving graphic designer willing to discount her services.
- Gain: Readers will remember an interpersonal connection that may go a long way toward a continued relationship.
- Budget: In the plus column!
- Gain: New readers, extended awareness of my books, income, networking, new writing tips—but most importantly to me, because I’m a teaching writer/editor, I’ll have the opportunity to pass along the craft to newer writers. This adds meaning to my career.
- Budget: Again, free, although costly time-wise.
- Gain: Incredible good will among avid readers who rarely get to speak with the authors who write their books, and who will give me the chance to invest in the discussion of my book’s body image premise. For me, this is what it’s all about. Bonus: book clubs share titles.
- Budget: Time invested, but when time is precious.
- Gain: It is often said that the best promotion is to write another book. To do so well, you must invest the time. Writing is the reason for all of this; it will keep you tethered so you don’t float away from excitement.
- Budget: For the cost of a stamp and time on Google and whitepages.com, I have used this milestone as an opportunity to reconnect with people I never should have lost touch with, and whom I still recall with love.
- Gain: The rekindling of relationships increases awareness of my book among people who enrich my life.
- Budget: Time, the building block of both love and income.
- Gain: In all of the hoopla, don’t forget you’ll need a cheerleader, should you do well; a shoulder, should you do poorly; a paycheck, to remind you of your worth, and someone who will love you beneath the roof that will still be over your head, no matter what.
Click here for the evolving list of my launch events. You can request a signed, personalized copy from any of the bookstores on my tour. Books ordered from the Doylestown Bookshop will ship right after my early launch event there on January 18!
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service. Her monthly series, "Countdown to a Book," details the traditional publication of her debut novel, The Art of Falling, by Sourcebooks, due January 28, 2014. It is now available for pre-order. Her monthly series, "Turning Whine into Gold," appears at Writers in the Storm. Connect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.