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Responding to your responses to me – re: “Gettin’ Ziggy With It” and book campaigning

January 26, 2009 at 5:30 am

I got some pats on the back and some thoughtful questions from my last post concerning concentrated sales/marketing/publicity events for a book. My case study was for Zig-zagging, the new memoir by Ziggy cartoonist, Tom Wilson. Thank you for taking the time to write in. It truly energizes my blogging ambitions.

Here were some of your questions:

Q. “Would this (step by step process and concentrated time frame) apply to another author whose name or, in this case, cartoon, isn’t as well know?”

A. Yes, in order to make an impact or even an impression, the repetition of a subject, book title, etc. is key. What is/was once unknown has a better chance of becoming familiar. Sporadic publicity has its value but can be like whistling in the wind if you’re not (yet) a household name. It’s always best to map out your promotional campaign with intentional timing. However, if you are offered a publicity opportunity that doesn’t fit in your schedule, you may want to entertain participating anyway. Media isn’t always able to accommodate your plans.

Q. Is this what gets that all-important, up-front position in the bookstore? How can the midlist author accomplish this? Is it even possible?

A. What is not widely know about front-of-st0re positioning is that someone had to pay for it. “Prime real estate” in a bookstore doesn’t come cheap. Not only that, but the buyer and the publisher have to come to an agreement. Even if money is offered to pay for the promotion, if the store buyer doesn’t think it’s a viable choice for the promotion, they will flat out turn it down. They like to take publishers money, but they like to take bookstore customers money even more. It is possible for a midlist author to accomplish this, but under the same conditions. Money and a mutual decisions.

Q. What can the author do to give the book a bigger push and be sure it has “legs?”

A. The million dollar question. The answer is EVERYTHING. These days an author is so empowered by all of the technology available to him/her. An author generally doesn’t have the same budget as a publisher (that’s starting to look a lot different!) but access to lots of low cost and/or free promotional venues makes the possibility of getting buzz their book much greater. Also, there’s lots of instruction on the internet and in books that helps authors become more and more self-promotional. And, remember what I’ve said in the past, the more an author does to promote him/herself, the more their PLATFORM is strengthened and the more attractive they become to a publisher.

Q. “Can anyone follow your pattern or does it require subscriptions and relationships that you have nurtured over the years?”

A. Yes and yes and yes. Some of the tools I mentioned like “Author Buzz” or the Author Blog Tour or ads in Radio-TV Interview Report, etc. Those items cost money. These three specifically are in the inexpensive range, even to an individual. Other tools are not so affordable but so much out there is free. As far as I know, most of  the social networking sites are free and offer everyone the same opportunities to create exposure. It’s all so new that we’re all in this together inventing new strategies as we go along. Get creative (and then report back to me your new secrets!!) Relationships are valuable, as you know, in any facet of life. That’s not different in the book business, but all the relationships in the world won’t pan out to a story in the media if that media isn’t primed to cover it. In the case of the Oprah show, it almost always has to be their idea first. But that’s no reason not to feed them yours.

Q. “Did the 700 Club respond to you because the author has a reputation or are they hungry for anyone’s book?

A. It must be said here that The 700 Club is on CBN. That stands for “Christian Broadcasting Network.” You can figure out part of the answer with that information. In Tom Wilson’s case, he has been on their show, they like him, and that gives him an edge.

I like when this little blog gets interactive. Keep interacting and I’ll keep feeding you with “undercover wisdom” (I like that Barbara!).

Your publishing insider.

Signing off.

P.S. Want to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of Zig-zagging? Write to me. I’ve got five to give away.

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