Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Promotional Pushes

I was wondering if your freelancing/networking with mags, and writing for Redbook helped get you there? Is this something that maybe an agent, or a publicity person does after the book has sold--do you have a publicity person or is it up to you to promote the book? Does a publicity person or do you contact the mag and pitch your book to them? Do you do this for other mags so they can blurb/publish something about your novel in order to get the word more out?

A couple of different questions here and a couple of different answers, so let's break it down.

In terms of Redbook (in case you didn't see the news last week, TDLF was selected as Redbook's Book Club pick for the month of May), the peeps at Harper handled this entirely. I've been lucky enough to have a stellar team of people working behind the scenes to garner publicity for the book, and in this case, the subsidiary rights folks - the same people who manage foreign rights - are the all-stars responsible for selling first serial rights to Redbook. I feel particularly fortunate because it seems like it's really rare to read excerpts from novels in mags these days, so my hat is really off to the subsidiary rights dept at Harper. Did my experience writing for Redbook help? I really don't think so. My editor is currently on maternity leave, and while I did shoot an email to the book editor there, I don't know her and I didn't hear back from her...so I really think this was just a happy accident: that I've written for them in the past and that they selected my book.

And the reviews in Cosmo, Marie Claire and a few others also really had nothing to do with me. They all had to do with a) I guess the fact that the book will appeal to the demographics of these various magazines and b) the fact that I really have a super-duper team at Harper and a fantabulous agent who also helped with the PR by calling various editors and writers whom she knows.

How does this all work? Well, we got the galleys back in December. And from there, the folks at Harper sent out a blanket mailing to all of the long-lead editors. (Newspapers and weeklies, with the exception of People and EW, all get copies of actual books when we get them in a month or so. People and EW got galleys.) My publicist then follows up, follows up, follows up. And hopefully, one or more editors bite. We've been very fortunate in the coverage we've received, and I really don't know why, other than to say that I guess the book is connecting on some level and to credit my savvy team once again. They put together a good Q/A with me and a sharp press release, and this must have made the book pop out among the hundreds of other submissions that these editors receive. Oh, and props to the art dept too because the cover is getting a lot of positive feedback, and as consumers, not just writers, we know that covers help sell (and evidently, move galleys to the top of an editor's stack).

Now, that said, certainly, my connections at other magazines have helped. For example, I've written for Fitness before, and my lovely editor there read the book (and enjoyed it!), and asked me to write an essay for the mag to coincide with the release. (Right now, it's slated for the May issue, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it might get bumped to June.)

And, as any author will tell you, even when your publicist is fabulous, the onus still falls on you much of the time. So I've been doing Q/As with websites and blogs, and yes, following up with a lot of my own editors to garner even more attention and mentions. Because ultimately, my publicist has a slew of other books to promote, and I only have mine. End of story.

Make sense?


Alison Ashley Formento said...

What's the old saying about not burning bridges? I think the freelance work helps you build bridges (and learn a lot, too). The in-house publicity you've gotten is incredible, but your know-how from freelancing is part of the push, too.

I was away for winter break week and just read the Redbook news. FANTASTIC!

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Thanks for the insider info Allison! Sounds like there's a lot of people out there rooting for you and TDLF!

The Q/A your publicist put together--is that something like a bio/info sheet they send out with the PR on the book? Is this something you can share? Like what do they ask you ... things to help give them a feel to your personality, why you wrote the book, etc? Is this something that is done for every author when a PR goes out for a novel?

Thanks for always enlightening!

Larramie said...

MM: Unless Allison and Harper have put together a new Q/A, there's a very brilliant one up on her website.

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Thanks, Larr! MM - I don't think this is done for every author, and I say this only because I get a lot of galleys sent to me (though many are non-fiction), and they don't all include Q/As. This was my publicist's idea, and she came up with the questions. I think they really wanted to spread the fact that this story is a personal one, and the Q/A is a good outlet with which to do that.

Susan Johnston Taylor said...

Admittedly, I don't have a book published, but one strategy I saw used on another author's website is to encourage readers to take advantage of free shipping for $25+ on amazon.com and order more than one book. That way yours gets cross-referenced with others like it and potential readers can find you in the "others who purchased X Novel also bought" list. Pretty smart!