Marketing a book is no cakewalk. As an author you often hope your job description comprises: writing, suffering, drinking and writing some more. No one talks about all the work that goes into promoting your work. Authors with major publishing deals try to make sure there's a marketing plan included in their contract; rarely does it happen that the author gets away with writing, followed by an extended period of thumb-twiddling.
My book, Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs, came out January 12. Its release date was an arbitrary one decided upon by my publisher, Piggott Press. In my contract with them, they promised they'd promote my book like crazy. And they're keeping up their end of the bargain. Why? Because Piggott Press is just me. Being an author/publisher/marketer/promoter, I thought it helpful to those of you thinking about publishing a book to take a look at what my days are like post-launch.
Day 1: Prep for book launch party. Just my luck; Chicago gets its first big snowfall. I'm confident that all of five people will show up and I'll sell two books.
Day 2: Overjoyed. More than 100 people came out for the launch (I heart thick-skinned Chicagoans). Loads of books sold and it was a great party, to boot.
Day 3: Oh right. Work to do. Begin by making lists to promote the book like crazy. One is The Wishlist. One is the Friends Who Know People list. One is the Local Media list. One is the If Only I Had The Budget list. And one is a plea to my TV hero, Stephen Colbert. A girl can dream…
Day 4: Spent the morning writing letters to media contacts I know or who have given me the nod to send them a complimentary copy. Spent two hours after that packaging up my books. I decided to forgo the traditional padded manila envelope for a white box, tissue paper and a huge, eye-catching sticker so it stands out and gives the recipient the feeling that they're getting a present rather than another homework assignment.
Day 5: Answer interview questions via email to four different bloggers. Conduct on-air radio interview with BlogTalkRadio show host. Learn what it is to have massive technical difficulties for the first 15 minutes, ride that through to the end of the interview and then spend the rest of the day putting together more letters and packages to ship out.
Day 6: Get a call from The Nate Berkus Show. They want me to get to NYC to appear as an expert on mom entrepreneurs for a new segment they're running. The New York Times gives me the nod to write up a post for them. Three different people that I do not know post on Twitter that they read my book and thought it was fantastic. This is a great day.
Day 7: Get a call from a friend that The Nate Berkus Show has been canceled. Editor at the New York Times wants me to revise large chunks (like, the whole thing) of what I submitted. Way more than three people I do not know say absolutely nothing about my book on Twitter. This is a realistic day.
Day 8: My distributor, Small Press United, tells me their newest books are going out to their partners today. This means I'll be up on Amazon soon! Note to self-publishing authors: do not have a book launch party before your book is available on Amazon. Thrilled that my book is going out to stores nationwide soon, but facepalm for the rest of the day because I'm not even up on Amazon yet. Although, I make more money if people buy my book here than on Amazon, so it's not a huge loss.
Day 9: More pitching, more letter-writing, more emails out to media outlets and bookstores like crazy. More email interviews, more radio interviews, and finally confirmed a February 13 appearance on WGN Midday Show. TV, here I come.
Day 10: Sales are going really well for someone who has not sold a book before. Reviews are starting to come in and added to lists of things to do is the tweaking of the website to add said reviews and hit up my social networks to promote the promotions that I've been promoting.
You get the idea. There seems to be more writing, between the email interviews and the blog posts and the social media posts, than it took to write the book. But who's complaining? I want people to actually read my book. For that, they need to know it's out there.
Jill Salzman is currently growing her third entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Moms, the world’s first and only kid-friendly collective of monthly meetups for mom entrepreneurs. A graduate of Brown University and law school, she started a music management firm and then launched a baby jewelry company before creating her current venture. Jill has been featured in national media outlets including People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Daily Candy Kids, NBC5 and WGN TV. She is the author of Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs, a columnist for NBC Chicago, and she gave her own TED talk on 11/11/11. In her spare time, Jill enjoys kloofing, baking, and erasing her daughters’ crayon artwork from the kitchen walls.