Thursday, April 3, 2008

Marketing Tasks: Three Months Out

It’s hard to believe that TEN LUCKY THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO ME SINCE I NEARLY GOT HIT BY LIGHTENING will be out in just three months, but it will. And it’s a great example of how the pre-publication time flies by and why it’s so important to stay organized and on top of your Promotional To Do List.

The bulk of promotional and marketing tasks to be accomplished this month have to do with press and promotional materials.

Now is a good time to begin putting together a full spectrum wardrobe of author bios. As we’ve talked about before, they can be devilishly hard to write, and you’ll need a variety of sizes. A very clever example of these varying-in-detail type bios can be found on Shannon Hale’s website. As we’ve said before here at SVP, it’s nice to have a 50 word, 100 word, and 300 word bio on hand for the various requirements of those who will ask you for them. But start playing with them now and trying a number of approaches and angles. If you start now, you may just have one you like in three months. Maybe.

This is also a good time to think about getting an author photo. You’d be surprised how often you’ll be asked for one, and if you give yourself enough lead time, you can wait for a good hair week to set up the photo shoot.

Another thing to begin thinking about at this three month mark is a press kit and whether or not you’ll want to put one together. A press kit, for those of you who don’t know, is a nice folder that contains information about you and your book, usually with the intention of being sent to the press so they can have all the information at their fingertips should they care to write about you or your book. A press kit might contain a short and long author bio, an author photo, a color postcard of the book cover, maybe a short interview with you answering some basic author FAQs about how you came to write the book, your path to publication, etc.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have yet to send out a press kit on myself. (Bad Violet!!) I did, however, send out many, many of them when I worked for a non-fiction publisher.

And lastly, I recommend getting some high quality, color postcards of your book cover. I know that Mary’s been researching the pricing on these, but I’m not sure if she’s ordered them yet. Usually, it’s a pretty simple and straightforward process and there isn’t much graphic designing involved, so it lends itself well to a do-it-yourself (read budget!) type production. But because it does involve graphic production and print time, it pays to get started early. Plus, you'll want to have them back in time to mail out before your launch date!


Mary Hershey said...

Ahhh, Robin, you could never be a Bad Violet!

Thanks for the link to Shannon Hale here, and the helpul breakdown of what might be in a press kit. I'll go ahead and take out my First Communion photo, then. If you're sure now--

Hey, see you in a bit for our book signing.

Did you here me shriek when I read "Three Months"! If not, I'll repeat it for you in the car today.


Terry P. said...

I just had some bookmarks printed at I was very pleased with the quality and price (cheaper than Modern Postcards and just as good of quality). Also, in the "Thoughts and Ramblings" category on my blog, I've chatted about author photos a couple of times, in case anyone wants to torment themselves further on this subject ;-). Of course, I only mention this because I specifically named Mary as one of those authors who can't take a bad photo...