Showing posts with label Book Marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Marketing. Show all posts

Friday, January 8, 2016

Announcing an A-Z and DIY Book Publicity Course -- with Me!


(Note: as of 15 January, the early interest form is closed. I expect to launch the course this week. If you are still interested in being part of the early interest group, however, email me and I'll handle it.)

Hello again, friendly readers! I am pleased to announce that this winter I am launching a course on Udemy. It will be on DIY book publicity, which I often talk about, but it's going to be a total package, an A-Z course on what I do for my clients, how I do it--and how you can do it, too. If you are interested in knowing when it launches, enter your info here. The people who tell me they are interested using this form will get first dibs and a discount code for the course if they join in the first month! Feel free to spread the word if you think you know someone else who might be interested. If you refer three or more people who enroll in the course, you'll get something extra special just for you.

If you take the course you can look forward to knowing how to identify the best places to get publicity for your creative work, what to say when you contact them, and how to keep the whole thing organized. You'll also get office hours where I'll be available for Q&A, a message board just for fellow students in the course--and lots more. Sign up now to be among the first to know when it's live, and get yourself that discount on tuition the process.

Goals and 2015 Wrap-Up

2015 was the year of nearly no blog posts for  me. While I don't foresee ever being a particularly prolific blogger, I'd like to offer you more value this year.

See, the thing with my Book Marketing without BS brand is that if I have nothing to say, it seems silly to me to create a blog post to say nothing or to repeat myself. That said, I think I can do better than I have. I have retained some topic suggestions from the last time I asked people what was on their minds, but please let me know (in the comments or by email) what topics you'd like to see with regard to book publicity and marketing.

Those are my goals. What are yours? What do you look forward to this year? And don't forget to tell me you're interested in my course so you can reserve an earlybird discount code.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fall Workshops: First Lead-Up Exercise for Twitter

Hello again, everyone! I have two social media for authors workshops coming in September, one in Pickering and one in Brampton. In preparation I have exercises participants can work on over the summer. They will then bring the results with them to the workshop on the day they attend.

Since I am doing this in conjunction with BeNovel Marketing Services, the exercise is hosted on its site. Go take a look, and if you are in or have friends in the GTA, please share this with writers you think may be interested. Early-bird pricing has a few weeks to go and you won't want to miss out on the hefty discount for getting in on it early!

Register here (scroll down, the registration is right on the page), and view the Twitter Challenge exercise here.

Coming soon: tips for editing comic book scripts.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Urban Fantasy Twitter Chat, GenreLitChat #3

It's that time again! Thursday, September 4th at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific is the next #GenreLitChat, and this time it's urban fantasy. You can participate in this chat by sending me questions ahead of time for me to ask the panel, or simply being on Twitter and following the hashtag. While this is a moderated discussion, you'll be free to reply and interact as normal on Twitter.

The urban fantasy group consists of: 

Mia Marshall is the RT Reviewers' Choice Award-winning author of the Elements urban fantasy series. Before she started writing about things that don't exist in this version of reality, she worked as a high school teacher, script supervisor, story editor, legal secretary, and day care worker. She has lived all along the US west coast and throughout the UK, where she collected an unnecessary number of degrees in literature, education, and film. These days, she lives in a small house in the Sierra Nevadas, where she is surrounded by her feline overlords.

Nicholas Kaufmann is the Bram Stoker Award-, Thriller Award-, and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author of Dying Is My Business, Die and Stay Dead, Chasing the Dragon, Hunt at World's End, General Slocum's Gold, and Still Life: Nine Stories. Over the years, he worked in publishing, owned his own bookstore, managed a video store, and was a development associate for a literary agent. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and two ridiculous cats.

Linda Poitevin is the author of dark urban fantasy (The Grigori Legacy from Ace/Roc Books) and contemporary romance (self-published). Linda lives near Ottawa, Canada’s capital, and in her other life is wife, mother, friend, gardener, coffee snob, freelance writer, and zookeeper of too many pets. When she isn’t writing, Linda can usually be found in her garden or walking her dog along the river or through the woods.

Alexander Kosoris was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He lived on residence in Toronto, Ontario while attending the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto between 2006 and 2010. While there, he discovered his love of writing, spending much of his free time writing short stories, one of which he expanded to arrive at his first novel, Lucifer. After graduating, Alexander has moved back to Thunder Bay, where he now lives, working as a pharmacist. Whenever he gets a moment of leisure, Alexander enjoys listening to and playing music, as well as riding his bicycle.

Launched in 2009, All Things Urban Fantasy is the place where para is normal. Currently a group of five readers and bloggers, we're dedicated to reviewing the latest books in the urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and speculative fiction genres. Participating in the chat will be Kate, who has been running ATUF for about a year now, and loves urban fantasy with a passion. 

You can use the TWUBS link or just follow the hashtag on Twitter. Also, please feel free to email me questions you would like me to ask the panelists. 

I look forward to seeing you at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, September 4th!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Service Highlight: Affordable, No-BS Book Marketing and Social Media Consultations

My most under-the-radar services are the consulting services, so I wanted to say a bit more about those, and to share some words from happy consulting clients, too!

How do consulting services help you?

  • Offload some of the work you don't want to do
  • Get query letters written for you (or a critique for the ones you have)
  • Ease your stress with step-by-step plans for publicity campaigns
  • Ditch even more of that stress with social media plans and coaching tailored for your needs

You can probably afford it, too, because it starts for as little as $75. Email me for a no-charge discussion to see if working with me is right for you.

Not sure whether this is for you? Here are some clients who've been pleased with my consulting services so far:

Jinx Strange, Freelance Writer, Author

"Beverly has become as intrinsic to my writing career as my laptop or my fingers. I wouldn't take on a project without involving her, and as my work often leads me into uncharted waters, Beverly's ability to think on her feet and innovate has made her indispensable."

"This is, in a word, AMAZING. You've just made my stress and anxiety about all this publicity stuff come down a few notches -- so my sanity thanks you too!"

Meghan Miller Brawley, Author, Indexer, Researcher

"Beverly was really helpful getting my social media plan in place. Her broad base of experience gives her great insight and was invaluable, and she was understanding and receptive of my needs."

I am also currently working on social media work with author Mia Marshall, author/editor Vanessa Ricci-Thode, and for AutoCrit, so if I do my job well, maybe there's more praise to come.

Please send me an email now. We can talk about your needs for free, so you have nothing to lose. I look forward to learning about what you're working on!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My DetCon Schedule

Hi, all! I will be at NASFic DetCon 1 this weekend from Friday, July 18th through Sunday, July 20th. I have a couple of panels I am moderating as well as a kaffeeklatsch (kaffeeklatsch=consulting time for free if you play your cards right! ;))

North American Science Fiction Convention (DetCon) Schedule

Econ 101 of Self-Publishing, Nicolet A, Saturday 11 a.m.

I am the moderator, and I will be there with JF GarrardBlake HausladenPatty TempletonChristie Meierz, and Becca Price.

The media is filled with news about self-publishing, but to do it properly, there is a price to pay! This panel will touch on a series of topics and give an estimate of how much things can cost: 1) The difference between traditional and self-publishing, 2) Why an editor is important, 3) How to commission artwork, 4) What copyright is, 5) Marketing Ideas, and 6) The difference in creating e-books versus print books

Kaffeeklatsch, KaffeeKlatsch2, Saturday 1 p.m.

This one's all me! Be sure to sign up for this one when you get to the con registration desk, as space is limited. You'll be able to talk about your project's marketing and publicity with me directly, and you'll be able to hear about some of my own experiences, too. It will be fun!

Creators and Brand Identity, Mackinac West, Sunday 12:00 noon

I am also moderating this one, and I will be joined by John ScalziSean MeadMartin L. Shoemaker

Neil Gaiman. John Scalzi. Would they be mid-list authors in a world without the Internet? Can you be famous in 2014 only by writing or making art? How does a creator build a brand?

I hope to see you there. Please don't hesitate to stop me if you see me and say hello. I will be happy to chat. I'll also have information about AutoCrit, which is a company for which I do social media, so ask me about editing help, too!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Self-Planning for Self-Promotion: A Book Marketing without B.S. Web Workshop

I am doing an in-depth online workshop on self-promotion for all authors and comic creators. This isn't just for the self-published, either. If you're published by any house, big or small, you know how much work falls to you for your own book marketing and publicity. In fact, it's telling that my clients primarily fall in the small-to-medium publisher category, with the next largest being major publishing houses. (And yes, I have a few self-published/owner-created comics clients, too!)

Right now there are two dates: Thursday, March 27th at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and Sunday, April 13th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (get those tickets here). I will do this again a few times a year as long as there is interest, so if you miss these, let me know what time is good for you and I will take that into consideration when I schedule the next one. (Also, if you can gather 6 or more people interested in the workshop, I'll create another event at a time chosen by your group.)

Here is a tentative course outline:
  • Pre-Planning
    • Honestly determine your strengths and capabilities
    • Choose the right tools for you
    • CreateSpace and other print-on-demand vs. traditional printing vs. ebook-only
    • Decide whether to create a business entity or publish under your own name
  • First Steps
    • Plan and Outline
    • How far in advance to send review requests?
    • How far in advance to hire help if you are going to?
    • How to get blurbs?
    • Publicity: interviews, guest blogging
    • What about traditional media?
    • One-sheets for mailed books
    • Book trailers and other video
  • Details
    • How many and what type of targets?
    • Get your data right here!
    • Review copies: physical vs. electronic
    • Keep consistent, good records
    • What does return on investment mean in this context?
    • Social media: tips, tricks, and useful apps
  • Obstacles
    • Toughening up to criticism--or how to cope if you can't
    • Connections and networking: more important than you think
    • Growing too fast: slow follower growth is GOOD
    • The importance of honest people
    • Self-publishing and industry respect
  • Q&A
This should all take between 90 minutes and two hours, depending on how many questions there are--and please do bring questions! Also, feel free to email me questions ahead of time if you don't see them addressed in the outline and I'll do my best to work them into the material.

Buy tickets here:
I look forward to meeting with you soon!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Winners Announced!

Thanks once again to everyone who entered and who shared and tweeted. Your support is fantastic and I couldn't do this without you. This has also been a great chance to promote my non-publicity campaign services, of which there are many you can see here. Some of my favourites are social media planning and coaching, and copy editing, and even though it's not officially on the list, I enjoy critique as well. It's likely to end up on the list at some point. So please contact me and ask about these other services. I can work with any budget, so don't be shy.

Anyhow! here are the three winners:

Karina Sumner-Smith Site | Twitter
Jessica Meddows Site | Twitter
Teri Kline Twitter (and yes, I know the name on the Twitter account doesn't match this. ;))

I have been in touch with all of them, and it is my hope that I can help them and also have some fun in the process.

I know many of you joined the email list to enter the contest. I hope you'll stay, but if not, you should be able to unsubscribe easily from the next email you get, or if you're in a hurry contact me and I'll take care of it for you.

Coming tomorrow, a guest post about a local self-publishing in comics panel, and next week it's back to regularly scheduled programming!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Enter Here to Win Free Consulting or Critiques!

Subscribe (and confirm--check that spam email box!) to my email list and you will be entered to win two consulting or editorial hours. You can use the time toward:
  • Help creating your book or comic's marketing plan
  • A complete flash fiction critique and copy edit
  • A full social media consultation and plan
  • A brief critique of a novella or a partial of a novel 
  • Website critique/planning assistance
  • Any other publishing- or marketing-related consultation time
Three winners will be selected at random from mailing list subscribers who have joined and confirmed by clicking the response link (remember it may go to a spam filter) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, February 19th.

Not sure how to join the list? Subscribe right here.

Note that the prize will be delivered no earlier than March 15th, 2014. I will work out final details with the winners, whom I will announce on Thursday, February 20th.

I'll take this opportunity to also remind you that I provide all of the above services at reasonable rates, so if you aren't the winner, contact me and let me know what you need and we'll put together a plan that fits your budget.

Good luck, and spread the word to anyone you think may be interested!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Inspiration vs Newsjacking: Book Marketing without B.S. #6

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Send your questions to

My client, writer Chris Irvin, did a blog post about the assassinated Mexican physician and politician Maria Santos Gorrostieta, which inspired his novella, Federales. He was concerned that the post might be interpreted as using a tragedy for his own marketing benefit. I advised that the post was just fine, and that the real problem were things such as the infamous Cairo tweet from Kenneth Cole. Sure, Kenneth Cole got a lot of attention; but, the majority of it was bad, and despite what you may have heard, bad publicity is not as good for your company as good publicity. 

It's not hard to learn more about this concept of marketing tie-ins to tragedy or events. In general, this is often called “newsjacking”, a term coined by David Meerman Scott. Scott does not advocate the use of tragedy in this way; however, and even spoke out against marketers making light of Hurricane Sandy, which you can see in the comments of this controversial HubSpot blog post.

I admit I don’t see how newsjacking could ever be a positive term. I think appending “-jacking” onto something creates a negative connotation. So, what is good newsjacking, then? Why is it a thing? This blog post was a helpful run-down of positives and negatives to watch out for. Finally, if you're interested, it may be useful to also read Danny Brown's reply to the HubSpot post and its replies. .

Consensus is definitely on the side of staying empathetic, kind, ethical, and.... well... classy. Of course there still seem to be people who have no problem making light of tragedy with an eye to profit. I personally find things like that distasteful and certainly the person doing the newsjacking may create a negative association for the brand or individual in the eyes of many potential customers. It's risky at best, and dangerous and cruel at worst.

So did Chris newsjack in a bad way with his post about Maria Santos Gorrostieta? No, not at all. For him--and for all artists--this served as inspiration to create a bigger story, to create art. This wasn’t a casual, off-the-cuff tweet intended to drive traffic to his web site. Indeed, I think painful or tragic incidents are often the inspiration for people to create, which is a healthy, humanist response. A callous marketing effort this was not, and so I feel comfortable saying that inspiration is not newsjacking. They're totally different things, and respectful blog posts about one's inspiration, such as what Chris wrote, is something you should feel completely free to do. If you're ever worried about the tone, ask a trusted (and 100% honest) associate for his or her thoughts.

What do you think about newsjacking and using tragedy to inspire art? Is there a difference? What examples have you seen (of either) that have been particularly bad, or particularly good?

Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thank you once again for your continued support.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

GenreLitChat #1: Storify Transcript

The first #GenreLitChat this past Thursday went well. The three authors who were on the panel (John Mantooth, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Nathan Ballingrud,) had a good time, and as the moderator I found myself surprised by how quickly the hour went. I had several questions I wish I'd had time to ask. All in all, it's not a bad thing to be left wanting more!

If you missed it, you can check out the Storify transcript below. You can also follow the #GenreLitChat hashtag via Twitter itself, or on Twubs.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and thank you--as always--for reading.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review Copies, Ebooks, and Pirating: Book Marketing without B.S. #5

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Send your questions to

Want reviews? Of course you do! This means that you have to send review copies, and this can get expensive with numerous physical books to send. Many of you are paying for these directly or are with a small publisher whose budgets are as tight as your own. A few of you lucky devils will be with large publishers who furnish all review copies, whether physical or through NetGalley. In fact, this post may not be as useful for you if you're on a major publisher. Check back next week!

Anyhow. I digress.

For the rest of you, this means you're thinking about ebook review copies. For some writers this is a stressful idea, bringing on fears of piracy and the death of sales. First this post will look at how to prioritize physical vs. electronic review copies, and then I'll discuss piracy fears and why you probably shouldn't worry too much about it.

How should I prioritize who gets physical review copies and who gets ebook review copies? Generally it's good to prioritize this with a simple cost/benefit analysis. If a site or publication is higher-traffic or is heavily influential, seriously consider a phsyical copy--if that's their preference. Some actually will prefer an ebook. If it is a lower-traffic or a less influential site/publication, then it is most cost effective to see if they will accept an ebook version to review. This applies to comics as well as prose books. The final choice is between you, the reviewer, and your publisher; these ideas are simply decision-making tools.

You can determine priority by checking site traffic using a tool such as to compare statistics among the places you want to review your book. A lower number is better (i.e. a higher rank), and if you can get sites better than a 500,000 rank, it's a great start. I can't suggest that you only decide with site statistics, however. You should be aware that some sites might have lower traffic ranking, but are influential. A good example of this is Weird Fiction Review. It's a site with strong influence among many authors and readers in genre circles, but its Alexa ranking is so-so at over 1.8 million. Still, it would be a plum spot if you wrote the type of things that they like. Try your best to strike the balance between web traffic stats and less measurable aspects of influence. And, as always, take the time to read submission policies, reviews, and articles so that you get a good feel for what the site is looking for. It always benefits you to ensure that it's a good fit for your work before you approach them.

One other note: if you send a physical review copy unsolicited, make sure it comes directly from you or your publisher, and includes a one-sheet. If you've corresponded with the person on the other end and they're expecting it, it becomes solicited and this is when you can consider having it shipped right from the source (without the one-sheet) if you're doing print-on-demand.

What about ebooks and piracy? First, let me be completely, unequivocally clear: I want creators to be paid for their work. If you don't get paid, I don't get paid. So read this with the understanding that I am firmly on the side of your intellectual property rights.

OK, all that out of the way, I want to say that piracy is not likely to be a big deal for a majority (though not all) writers and comic creators. Let me explain: chances are if you're looking for marketing advice you are in need of audience growth. Audience growth will result from reaching more readers. Reaching more readers happens with word-of-mouth and well-placed advertisements. Ads are really expensive, so the majority of your marketing, especially early on, will be reviews by professional reviewers, and reviews by readers who share their thoughts on Amazon, Goodreads, and other similar sites.

Reviewers to whom you send an electronic review copy are nearly all good, ethical people who will not share the ebook with anyone. The few who may leak it can't be helped. If the book gets out and gets read by people who then discuss it with others, some of those people will end up with a pirated version; but, some of them are going to buy your book. If you somehow are lucky enough to go viral on torrent sites, you're going to get more sales and more fame even with people illegally downloading your work. This will ultimately translate into more money for you down the road. And really, the chances of your book going viral are quite slim anyway, so your lost revenue is negligible, if anything at all.

One of the best ways to get more readers for your work is to keep writing. The more you write, the more you tend to sell. So focus as much of your energy on writing and creating as you can, and over time it is most likely that you will get better sales.

One other thought about piracy is that it's difficult to measure the impact. Are the people pirating your ebook the kinds of people who would have bought your book in the first place? It's impossible to say, really. I suspect that in many cases they wouldn't have bought it anyway. I know, I know. I don't have evidence, but going on the principles of word-of-mouth marketing and the effectiveness of samples as a sales tool, I think it's rational to conclude that over time a few pirated copies will ultimately benefit you.

So send review copies, ebook and paper, as you need. Don't worry about it. Don't fuss over DRM. (Unless, of course, you're with a larger publisher and don't have a choice. In that case you can use NetGalley, or send plenty of paper review copies that aren't out of your own pocket. Lucky devils indeed.)

Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thanks for all the support!

Tonight don't forget to join #GenreLitChat with John Mantooth, Nathan Ballingrud, and Heidi Ruby Miller. Tomorrow is Calls for Submission #2.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GenreLitChat: An Occasional Twitter Chat about Genre

Introducing #GenreLitChat, an occasional Twitter chat with writers on the state of genre, and how their work does--or doesn't--fit.

The kickoff chat is just in time for your holiday book buying needs! It's this Thursday, December 5th at 8:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. PST with John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm (Berkley/Penguin), Heidi Ruby Miller, author of Green Shift (Raw Dog Screaming Press), and Nathan Ballingrud, author of short story collection North American Lake Monsters (Small Beer Press).

When you join the chat, you can use this page ( which will focus only on the hashtag, and even automatically insert the hashtag for you if you ask questions or reply.
Alternatively, you can follow the hashtag #GenreLitChat right on Twitter, but make sure you use the hashtag or your questions and comments may be missed!

You can send questions to me, the moderator, during the chat (@BeverlyBambury). You are also encouraged to send questions ahead of time to and I'll add the best ones to the list.

Questions? Email me or ask in the comments. Hope to see you during #GenreLitChat in a couple of days!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My SFContario 4 Schedule, Including Free, Open to the Public Workshop

Book Marketing without B.S. is taking a week off for U.S. Thanksgiving. Check back next week for #5. In the meantime, I will be at SFContario 4 this weekend (as will my husband. As you can see below, I am not the only Bambury out there!). Saturday is a busy day of panels for me, and Sunday I am running a free, open to the public workshop that will help you create a marketing and publicity plan for your creative work.

Take a look, and if you see me, please say hello! I promise I don't bite. Talk a lot, maybe, but no biting.

Finally, don't forget to check out my recent guest post by Effie Seiberg, all about doing conventions on the cheap.

A Hard Hobbit to Break, Ballroom BC, Sat. 9:00 AM
James Bambury (M), Colleen Hillerup, Beverly Bambury
Three movies? Does Peter Jackson's approach work? Many fans were disappointed in the first film. Will they continue to watch? What was successful, and what failed, in Peter Jackson’s treatment? What are you looking forward to (and what do you fear) in part two, coming out next month? Come out for a lively discussion of all things Hobbit.

SFContario Idol, Courtyard, Sat. 5:00 PM
Debra Yeung, Sandra Kasturi, Hayden Trenholm, Beverly Bambury
Attendees bring in the first page of their manuscript. A presenter from SFContario will read out the manuscript (anonymously) until a majority of our panel of judges ‘buzz’ the story to a stop. Discussion ensues on why they stopped it, what didn’t work, and what did work. A great exercise in story openings that will provide immediate valuable feedback to the writers.

New Philosophies for Science Fiction, Solarium, Sat. 8:00 PM
Karl Schroeder (M), Tamara Vardomskaya, Beverly Bambury
Looking at the values of the past, it is unrealistic to think that people in the future would think the same way we do and hold our values, yet looking at old SF it's exactly what you do see. How do we get beyond that and come up with new ways for people to think about their new worlds?

Don't Blink, Solarium, Sat. 9:00 PM
James Bambury (M), Debra Yeung, Colleen Hillerup, Beverly Bambury
Do Daleks keep you up at night, checking under the bed? Do the Weeping Angels haunt your dreams? Or are you more likely to cower from The Silence or Cybermen? Are you my mummy? Our panelists discuss which of the Doctor’s monsters or arch-enemies scare them the most.

WORKSHOP- Self-Planning for Self-Promotion, Solarium, Sun. 1:00 PM (90 minutes)
Beverly Bambury
Are you a published author being left adrift by your publisher? Are you a self-published author with only yourself to rely on? A plan will help you decide timelines and create an automatic list of things to do and when to do them. In this interactive lecture you will learn how to create a plan for promoting your book, and learn some research tips and tricks to help you along the way. By the end of the program participants will have initial concepts for their marketing plans as well as an outline of what to do next.This workshop is open to the public!

Friday, November 22, 2013

How Far in Advance to Hire a Publicist and a Book Marketing Plan Timeline: Book Marketing without B.S. #4

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Send your questions to

Today brings another pair of related questions. The first is "How long before my book comes out should I hire a publicist?"

It depends to a certain degree what you're looking for and on how in-demand the publicist is. My business is relatively young, so six months is plenty of lead time for me, and I can absolutely work with much less if required. I've even done emergency publicity!

Ideally, for prose novels, pre-work work for publicity should start anywhere from 4-6 months before release (for long lead-time review spots such as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal). It is helpful to give your publicist plenty of time before that to plan and, if necessary, work with your publisher. Graphic novels and comics can work with a bit less lead time.

While this represents the ideal, it's possible to do good work with much less time, too. Just bear in mind that for the biggest and busiest review spots that if you don't give them at least a few months you aren't likely to get reviewed. Other than that, 1-3 months is plenty for most reviewers and for setting up a lot of your publicity.

What if you try it yourself and suddenly realize, right before (or right after) release that you want some help after all? You can get help at the last minute, too, but it's important to understand that many major spots won't accept books that are either close to or post-release. Many excellent reviewers and sites will; however, so all is not lost. Just realize that you're not going to get The New York Times from a book that is already released. Not even John Scalzi's Big Idea, for that matter.

So for you TL;DR types: the best time to contact a publicist (at least for this publicist) is 5-6 months before release, but anything can work (even post-release books) as long as what you expect from your results is realistic.

The next question is "What timeline should I use to plan my book marketing?"

As  I mentioned above, if your book is eligible to be reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Book Slut, and other long lead-time publications., then send those review copies/galleys out 4-6 months before release date. Send these with a one-sheet, which is important to include with mailed copies.

For the rest, you'll query. (Unless they say it is OK to send a book, of course, then you send the book with a one-sheet or via email/NetGalley, depending on the reviewer's preferences.) A query is just seeing if a blogger or reviewer wants to look at the book and of course an offer to send one. As far as the timing, my assumption is that you've read other websites' and publications' and bloggers' review and publicity submission guidelines. If you have, you'll know how to stagger the rest of the schedule. Some will need to go out 3-5 months, some 1-3 months, some 5-6 weeks. This is one of the more time-consuming things: finding the right targets and making sure that you have them scheduled correctly. Don't be shy about writing these down in order or using an electronic calendar to keep track. 

Make sure that as you query--particularly blogs and media you know accept guest posts and do interviews--ask for what you want from that site. Something along the lines of "If you like the idea or the book enough, I'd love the chance to do a guest blog post for you. I can do it on (sample topic 1) or (sample topic 2), or if you have something you'd like to hear about, I'll gladly write that instead."

2-4 months before release: if you want to set up book signings or readings, now is the time. Note that very popular reading series, such as KGB, may require 6-7 months of lead time. 

3 weeks to release date: handle your correspondence and write guest blog posts as required. If you have an interview or need to finalize any in-person events, make sure you have what you need. If you do book signings/talks, then you'll want a poster of some kind to take with you.

What about those queries? Once it's been 2-3 weeks, it is OK to follow up with people to whom you have sent QUERIES. If you've already sent an actual book (often those long lead time publications from above,) then don't follow up. While we're at it, if you ever send a press release (and usually you do not send those for books,) don't follow up on those, either. Anyway, queries you can follow up, but they should be super polite and low pressure. 

At release time and after: make sure you're meeting your deadlines and following through on commitments. If you get a good review or a guest blog or an interview, share it. Share when your book is released, too. Anything like that is fine. A bit more often on Twitter than on Facebook. Don't forget though: if all you do is push your books, people will stop listening to you.

You may also find it helpful to revisit 5 No-BS Twitter Tips for Authors and 5 Steps to a Quality Blog Tour

Anyhow: this is a very rough and basic guideline. Each project will have to be planned based on its own requirements and based the resources of you and your publisher. As always, let me know if you have any questions about your situation.

That's all for this week. Keep an eye out for the first of the semi-regular calls for submission columns. 

Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thanks for all the support!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Guest Blog: Small Press Tips & Lessons from the Booksburgh Book Store Hop

Today's guest blog is by Jennifer Barnes, of small publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press (RDSP). She organizes social media and events, and today she's come by to share her experience organizing a madcap day in which RDSP took over Pittsburgh, doing a reading/signing each hour for five hours, at five different locations. Even if you aren't a publisher, you may find some of these hints useful in organizing events with your writing group or other writer friends. Enjoy!

Heidi Ruby MillerOver the years RDSP has done all kinds of events from gigantic book fairs like BEA to readings in a decommissioned lunatic asylum. It takes a lot of planning to get the most out of events and you can learn from each one. We recently did something we hadn't done before which was a 5 author bookstore tour of Pittsburgh. It was a bit hectic but lots of fun and a great experience. I think a one-city tour is something that could be duplicated by others to good effect so I thought I'd share some tips. 

First I'll give a brief description of how it worked. Five reading/signings were set up at different bookstores, each was scheduled for an hour and they were back-to-back beginning at 1pm and going through 6pm. Each store hosted one of the participating authors so every author got a chance to do a short reading and answer audience questions. You can see the photos we took from the event here.

Stephanie WytovichOne thing that worked well was that most of the authors hopped to each location and were on hand to sign their books. This meant a lot of cross-exposure between authors. I noticed that at each location there were people who clearly came for the featured author; but at the same time they often became interested in one of the other authors.

It was also helpful for someone to briefly introduce all the authors at each stop. Often the featured author who would introduce the others. Having multiple authors is the key to drawing in a larger audience.

We had several attendees who hopped with us to each location. This gave the whole event a party-like atmosphere. We were lucky because our event was planned by a local (thanks Diane Turnshek!) and was sponsored by an organization that supports Science Fiction (PARSEC) in Pittsburgh. These connections were important for getting locals to attend. The authors were from nearby but none lived in the city itself.

K. Ceres Wright, Al WendlandAnother thing that worked well was that all of the stores were very different from each other. One was a University bookstore, one a co-op, another primarily dealt in magazines. We also hopped to a mall store and a traditional used bookshop. This gave us exposure to all sorts of shopping venues.

It's important to be flexible with your sales arrangements to accommodate each venue. We had two stores that ordered in advance; one paid upfront, one was invoiced. The co-op let us sell our
own books while the mall store required signed paperwork. 

Matt BettsThough the stores were very different they were all in fairly close proximity. Even so, it was a little hectic trying to get to each store in time. The author who is being hosted should be prepared to leave the previous event well in advance to be sure to be on time.

This kind of event is best suited for a mid-sized city with a lot of bookstores, like Pittsburgh. However, I could see it working well with spots like coffee shops and bars if your city doesn't have enough stores in close proximity. If the distance and travel time between the locations is too great that could cause problems. We did have a few people getting lost between stops. It's not necessary to have 5 stops though, a 3- or 4-stop author tour might actually work better.

Perhaps the most important tip I can give about bookstore events is to think of them as advertising not sales events. When/if you sell copies that is just the icing on the cake. What you are really doing is advertising your book. You get to do that in three ways:

Jason Jack MillerFirst, when you promote the event you obviously mention that you'll be signing and reading. It gives you a chance to mention your books without begging people to buy them. Next, if possible arrange with the stores in advance to have some kind of book display and signage advertising the event. The even itself is an advertisement because as you travel to each location you get to describe your book to whoever attends. And finally, you should do a post-event wrap up for every event you attend. Share pictures (you must take LOTS of pictures) on social media, blog about your experience, publicly thank the stores who supported you. 

These are all ways to advertise your book without actually mentioning it. Compare this kind of advertising to a print ad and you'll see you get way more bang for your buck. What you've invested is mostly time and gas money with the potential to make very strong personal connections with a few people as well as impress a larger number online. Print ads cost hundreds of dollars but never result in a personal connection, only appear once and are easily forgotten.

all authors' books available
A note about turnout: hope for the best but expect the worst. It's hard to get people to come out of their houses. Things like scheduling conflicts and weather are unpredictable and can prevent people from showing up. This is not a fail and happens to famous authors too! Try to make sure you have at least one close friend or family member that's guaranteed to show, enjoy spending time with the other authors and have fun. If the turnout is low you don't need to mention it in your post-event press. People will see how much fun you had and vow to make it to your next event.

Jennifer Barnes, Chris StoutJennifer Barnes is managing editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press which is currently celebrating its 10th year publishing "fiction that foams at the mouth."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Secret to Contacting Traditional Media for Book Publicity

I haven't contacted as many traditional media outlets as I have websites and bloggers for publicity--if for no other reason than traditional media is on a decline or integrating with online media--but, as it turns out, the secret is that there isn't much of a secret. It still remains connections, politeness, reading directions, and being an all-around good human being.

I go into some of this in my earlier article 5 Steps to a Quality Blog Tour, but here is more info with an eye toward bigger sites/traditional media publicity queries.

The main difference I've found with my work is that personal connections and networking count for even more with bigger publications, print, television, or otherwise. It's not impossible to get into a major spot without connections; but it's much, much harder. I had a campaign recently that didn't go as well as I'd have liked, because it was outside of my usual industry and I had almost no connections. I got some traction, but it wasn't even close to my usual success rate.

I am sad I even have to say this, but horror stories I hear time and time again show me it's still necessary. Say please. Say thank you. Don't be a jerk. Related to politeness:

You're hoping for the best, naturally. You may even feel a lot of stress because you put so much of yourself (time and money) into your project. Those are all real and valid things and it's OK to feel them. What you mustn't lose sight of is that each of the people you're querying are also human beings with lives, hectic jobs--and often more than one of those. They are really busy, and you are not even close to the only person querying, so be patient and remember that everyone else's world doesn't revolve around you and your creation, even when you wish it were so.

If you don't know what RTFM is, go to Google. I'll wait. For those of us who do know, though, you'll get it. Most places have submission or query guidelines, or at least a note about whether they are even open to hearing from you. Please follow the instructions. If you can't find instructions, they have enough content and aren't specifically looking for more. This is where your connections and networking come in.

Following Up Appropriately
Following up is a tricky one. I see conflicting info out there, but I think it's safe to say that if you send one query and you don't hear back for two to three weeks, it's OK to send a very brief follow-up, but don't send any more if you don't hear back.

An example of a brief follow up might be just asking if a (solicited or accepted post-query!) review copy was received. Don't ask when the review is happening, or if it's happening. That's up to them, not you.

Note: if you send a press release or an unsolicited review copy, don't follow up. With the advice above, I am only talking about emailed queries asking for publicity or asking permission to send a review copy.

Creators/authors: any experiences or tips that you want to share?

Journalists/bloggers: any thoughts on the way you prefer to be approached--especially with regard to following up?

I'd love to hear from you. You can post in the comments or contact me.

Also, coming soon, my new column about marketing your book, comic, movie, and (of course) yourself.