DA wrote to ask for help in developing a proposal to send to an agent. As part of the fiction package, the agent was asking for this information.
“Marketing strategies (what will you do to sell your book in cooperation with the publisher?) Increasingly, fiction and non-fiction authors are encouraged to promote their novels themselves through writers’ conferences, book signings, and web sites. We suggest you establish a web site, and you’ll need to create promotional giveaways, arrange your own book signings, or attend writers’ conferences. Think outside of the box.”
Basically, the agent–and ultimately the publisher–want to know a couple simple things. Who do you know, what access do you have to potential readers (online or offline), and what are you willing to do?
Who Do you Know?
Do you know experts in related fields. For example, if a character is a psychologist, do you know any psychologists who can blurb it?
Do you have access to influential people to do Blurbs? Maybe the president of a Romance Writer’s Arkansas Chapter? Do you volunteer for the Mystery Writers group and you’ve met a couple editors or such?
What are you Willing to Do?
Create a website.
Start a blog.
Create a Facebook Fan page.
Speak at writer’s conferences, librarian’s convention, local reading councils.
Do school visits.
Maintain a Twitter presence, a Pinterest board, etc–what social media can you or will you do?
Here, you should include everything you are already doing and how successful you are at doing them. Maybe you do 100 school visits a year, or have 5000 Pinterest followers. List everything you already do and give statistics on traffic.
Then, list everything you plan to do as soon as you have a contract. Perhaps, you already have a website and blog, but you plan to start a Facebook Fan page for the new book. Be positive. Never say, “I hope to. . .” Instead, say, “Nine months before publication, I will ________; six months before publication, I will __________.”
What Access do you have to Readers?
Here, the publisher and agent want to know your online and offline reach. Put audiences you “own” first, such as mailing lists of people who have said they are interested in your career. Then list any places you can reach people. Here are some hypothetical examples:
Through my website, I have a mailing list of 2000+ people who are interested in my career.
My last three GoodReads Giveaways have averaged 562 people signing up.
I am a member of XXX professional listserv which has a readership of 10,000 librarians.
I have been interviewed twice by XXX program on XXX radio, which has a listener base of 5000.
For my last book, I was on XXX TV station for Mother’s Day.
I will be attending XXX convention and will speak to an audience of 200.
Put as much data as you can and spin it as well as you can.
What if you have no online or offline reach?
I doubt that is the case, surely you belong to SOME group that would like to hear about your new book. But if you truly have no audience reach, then do NOT apologize. Just list what you can do and be done with it. The story is the most important thing anyway.