John Corey Whaley: How to Market a First Novel07:23
My first novel, Where Things Come Back, is edited, copyedited, the typeset has been approved, and I’m in the process of reading through what’s called the “first pass” to check for any typos before the book is sent to print. The cover, back cover, and content for the two inside flaps have all been approved as well.
So, now what? The book still doesn’t hit stores for another seven months!!!
Have no fear, there is plenty to do before the novel’s release. The main objective, at this point, is marketing. I’ve recently planned my second trip to New York City, where I will be meeting with the head of publicity for the book. This meeting is for two reasons: to go over the national marketing plan that Simon & Schuster has in mind for my book, and to discuss options for local marketing that can be handled by me. Authors, especially unknown, first-time ones like myself, can decide between letting all of the marketing for their debut be handled by the publisher, or working hard to garner additional interest on their own.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: There isn’t much a first-time novelist can do to promote a book all by himself aside from holding book signings, readings at local libraries, and the like. But, I’ve been considering several different ways of promoting a book in the age of social networking and the internet. Here's what I have so far:
Idea #1: Facebook/Twitter Campaign. This is done often to promote movies, television shows, and other books. Because these tools are free advertising, it would be silly to exclude them.
Idea #2: Viral Marketing. I’m no expert on marketing or anything, but I do know what has always struck my interest. I’ve always been fascinated by the way that movies and television shows, and some products, are able to promote themselves through humor, mystery, and viral videos and websites. I already have a graphic designer friend to help me create some posters and a website for the novel, and, using my connections at local universities and public schools, as well as a connection I have in the Louisiana Public Libraries, I intend on using as many venues as possible to promote the book in this manner. Because it’s a YA novel, meant for ages 14 and up, I feel like a campaign such as this could see some amount of success.
For now, these are the things I’m working on and thinking about in regards to the upcoming release of Where Things Come Back and it’s all so very exciting and surreal. I’ve also been spending more time working on a second novel and am happy to report that I’ve reached the halfway mark on it. I’m excited to complete a manuscript that I won’t have to wait years and years before getting an agent to read it.
In fact, Ken Wright is reading the first 100 pages as we speak.