Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Author’s Book Promotion Strategy

Given that The Steiny Road to Operadom is now published in a limited release and not yet in bookstores, the publisher is encouraging the author to decide what strategies to use in promoting the book. Beyond the obvious strategy of announcing the publication to individuals known by the author is identifying groups of people who are interested in the subject matter of the book. Such groups might include speaking opportunities in an educational setting. For example, I spoke to a college class studying women’s literature recently. Visit professor Joanna Howard's blog to see her assignment to the students who heard me speak. Although this is a satisfying experience and one that ripples out into the future as your book is usually purchased for the college library, one has to do a lot of work for this kind of book promotion and realistically few books are sold.

What seems like a better idea is to find Internet List Servers where you can manage to let subscribers know about you and your new publication. Since most List Servers have rules of etiquette, one has to be cautious about promoting new books. Each List Server culture has accepted ways of letting others know but you have spend time finding out how to do this. Books with multiple subject areas, which by the way are hard to get published by big publishing houses, lend themselves well to Internet promotion. In the case The Steiny Road to Operadom, subjects include opera, classical music, Gertrude Stein, feminist literature, poetry

Another idea is to get someone to help you promote your work to reviewers. Most authors cannot afford to pay a publicist but that is the kind of help that is needed. One professional in this field told me that this kind of work is hard to monitor and so you are better off devising your own plan for promoting your book and getting a friend to help you do it. Sounds like a Catch-22!


joanna said...

Karren, I've posted an answer to your question on my blog, but I want to add that the book did arrive to the college library, that my students got a lot out of your presentation, that you ought to think about contacting the National Women's Studies Association and the Mid Atlantic one if you are interested in marketing your works to an academic audience, and that their deadline is tomorrow for this year's conferences, but. . . . .

Karren Alenier said...

The world of teaching and learning has become more atuned to the Internet. Teachers can post their assignments online as Joanna Howard did for the presentation I made to her Montgomery College Women's Studies class and students can earn credit for posting emails to the professor to discuss what happened in class.

When I discovered Professor Howard's blog some weeks after I had made my presentation on The Steiny Road to Operadom, I asked what the student assignment yielded. Visit this post on the professor's blog to see how she not only answered my question, but is sharing what she learned from the experience with her colleagues.

Also I would like to reiterate what the professor opens with and that is, in the world of blogs, the conversation can continue on its own clock. I debated about creating a new post but decided to keep this conversation going under "The Author's Book Promotion Strategy."

BLUE said...

hi Karren:

this is so fascinating to me. have you considered an actual performance of the libretto portion of your book, a la "staged reading" like we do in theatre? if you are really trying to target a specific audience, invite a specialized group of people (teachers at a particular college, members of the college football team, state senators from your area, "the sopranos" in a local church choir, a "chorus" of your uncles ... whatever) to read the libretto. bill it as a special event. perform it just as a staged reading (complete with sheet music stands and all the actors in black) ... and have some books on hand to sell.

i tell you, i have learned so much about marketing in the last year that i'm completely orbiting the planet with ideas. the internet has totally exploded the realm of possibilities. i have a new book coming in the spring from Salt Publishing, and i've been quite busy with the marketing strategy.

bonne chance!

~Cherryl Floyd-Miller

Karren Alenier said...

Dear Blue,

Thanks for sharing your enthusiastic ideas about how to gather a crowd for promoting The Steiny Road book.

On Feb 3, 1996 after a two foot snowfall, I gathered 12 poets to read the first draft of act I of Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On. It was a celebration of Gertrude Stein's birthday at an independent literary book store in Washington, DC. We had a crowd of over 50 people! That's how things got me moving down the Steiny Road. I always say travel with your tribe and you can make things happen.

Good idea to reach out to other groups as well!

Thank you.

Bookwhirl said...

Thanks for sharing your encouraging and enthusiastic ideas. I love it. Keep on!