Saturday, January 10, 2009

Selling a Book

How do you tell the world about you and your book? The manuscript is looking for a home, is in the process of being published, or is on the market. If you don't "toot your own horn," no one else will do it for you.

The book marketplace is changing almost weekly and it is difficult to stay current with all the innovations, new techniques, and economic downfall. Marketing is like building a house, when actual construction begins you must establish a firm foundation. Building for yourself a rock solid base is the essence of market research.

Jeffrey Marks provides the basics with INTENT TO SELL: Marketing the Genre Novel. My copy is the 2nd edition, which was published in 2005. Since that time there have been rapid changes in the market place. 2008, alone, turned the publishing world upside down, but the basics of promotion have not changed. Several writers have covered the topics with much the same answers in various formats, but for me a book is still easier to pull off the shelf and browse.
Recently an established author was seeking advice on how to compose a query letter to accompany his press release to print media. How do you approach someone with whom you are not personally acquainted and illustrate to them your title is newswrothy? Jeff devotes a full chapter to "getting your name out there." Step-by-step he takes you through the elements of a press kit, its necessity, its components, and its uses.
One important item Jeff discusses, which I haven't seen any where else is on p. 114. "You should save at least one box of your title for special matters and for your own purposes. Don't sell these copies at your signings or give them away to readers." In today's market this is vital, as books go out of print, are picked up by a new publisher, publishers go out of business or are absorbed by another publisher, copyrights get hung-up in bankrutcy court, or your title may end up being published in another format without the permission of you or of your publisher. So keep a few copies in storage, you never known when they may be important in another scope.
Jeff keeps the mystery world current on marketing techniques from his website, which is easy to navigate and open to the public.


  1. I've found Jeff's book invaluable. I recommend it to all new writers I meet.
    Chris Redding

  2. Nice review. The book is a great resource for writers.

  3. A well prepared blog, well writen and informitive.
    Bob Ford