Okay, gonna kick this whole promotional thing into the next gear

Tomorrow is March 1. My book is coming out on August 2nd, five months from now. And it’s time. I will begin to do the whole self-promotional thing. You know what I’m talking about: harassing people to preorder my book; pitching it to blogs; trying to arrange appearances. The whole shebang. It will happen. Some people are amazing at this. They’ve got a whole plan, and they’re really good at working all the angles. I am not them. But I do think that a little bit tends to be a lot better than nothing, and I am willing now to do my little bit. So if you’ve got any suggestions for what I should do or who I should hit up, drop me a line!

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  1. Sean Patrick Hazlett

    Here are some thoughts from someone who still hasn’t sold his book to a publisher yet, but if he did, he would be a marketing genius once it was out:

    1. Reach out to folks who do podcasts and book as many of them as possible pre-launch.
    2. Run a giveaway program on your book as soon as possible. They are cheap (they can cost as much as 0 if you don’t gather enough followers) and are a quick way of growing your Twitter base.
    3. Reach out to other authors – review their books on your blog in exchange for a review of your book once it is out.
    4. Reach out to your alumni magazine. Maybe Stanford will do a piece on you and help gin up interest.
    5. I hear paying for promotion on Amazon can yield good results (Facebook and Twitter, not so much) – the reason Amazon promotions work better is that people are already primed for a purchase when they visit the site (but on FB and Twitter, not so much).
    6. Prepare a tour schedule for when the book does come out. Reach out individually to independent booksellers to let them know you will be up for events related to your launch at any time. Build a database of these contacts so you can call them just before launch to make sure your book is in stock.
    7. Sign up for the Story Corps program on NPR. Leverage it to sell your book.
    8. Reach out to famous and influential people to promote or blog about your book. Make sure you have your entry for Scalzi’s site lined up well in advance.

    As you go through this exercise, make an effort to quantify their impact in terms of number of potential sales. For instance, if you talk to 5 local bookstore owners and they promise to order 10 books each, you can tally 50 books from that channel into your overall sales goal of 1 million copies in the first year (I’m being deliberately hyperbolic here). Or you can measure the impact of a Stanford alumni article by seeing that it will reach 218,882 alumni, and assume that 0.5% buy your book based on an article. The point of this exercise is that it can help you focus on the efforts that will drive more sales vs. throwing away time on things that won’t.

    This is just some obvious stuff off the top of my head, but you get the point.

    Be systematic about it, and from what I’ve seen from you, you are quite a systematic fellow.

    Good luck!

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