Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Marketing Blueprint

I know a lot of writers, especially those self-publishing, are trying to figure out how to market their books. I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that might give you a sort of blueprint to follow, even though it’s not about a self-published author.

The book is The Expats, the author is Chris Pavone and the publisher is Crown Publishers, an imprint of Random House. He’s already getting rave pre-publication reviews and the title has been sold to 11 countries.

But … the article noted that mystery/thriller titles are more popular with e-book readers than the broader market and “digital books accounted from 35% to 40% of its mystery/thriller sales last year, roughly double e-books' proportion of total consumer book sales….” So…they’re turning to the virtual world to promote the book, in addition to a traditional book tour.
Crown is already backing the novel with a social-media advertising campaign on Facebook and … The Facebook fan page arranged by the publisher contains blurbs from writers like Mr. Grisham and Patricia Cornwell. There is also an ongoing Twitter promotion via the publisher's Twitter feed and others. A selection of the book has also been posted on Scribd Inc., a social publishing site.
They plan to continue this campaign after the book is published. They’re even thinking outside the box:
Crown thinks the female protagonist in "The Expats" is so well-drawn that the publisher intends to market the book on sites aimed at readers of women's fiction as well as on sites targeting thriller readers.
If the big guys, who have balked at conceding to the digital movement that independent authors have embraced, can turn to digital marketing, you can bet that the independent authors, who’ve been doing e-marketing all along, can do it better.

Are you already targeting all these marketing sites? Do you have any other ideas to share?


  1. I would say that 90% of my mystery book sales are e-books and I mostly market by blogging, Facebook and Twitter. I chose to put one of my books on Amazon's KDP Select which means it can't be available on any other site for 90 days and people who sign up for Amazon's borrowing program can borrow the book at no charge (you can still sell it on Amazon at the normal price during the 90 days). I wasn't too sure how that would work out, but last month I also took advantage of promoting my book free for 5 days (also part of the KDP Select program) and the uploads were in the thousands. I was listed as #1 on the top 100 for free uploads under British Detective books. Sales continued after the 5 day promotion and book sales for my other three books have increased too.

  2. Yay!! Ann, I'm really glad you had such success. I think it's fascinating to see how authors like you are promoting their books, plus it offers a possible path for others to follow. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I am taking advantage of the KDP program, too, with varying results. I had a lot of downloads while books were free but sales have been really slow since. Which is odd because sales before I did this had been moderate, but steady each month. I would sell between 3 and 5 hundred books. Not great numbers compared to authors who sell thousands a month, but it was a steady income that supplemented royalties from the hardback books.

    This business is in such a state of flux, it is hard to nail down one system that is going to work for all.

    BTW, I mentioned you on my blog today. I was given the Versatile Blogger Award and I am passing it on.

  4. Watched a tv doc about Tupperware last night ... Brownie Wise is my new idol ... HEADWIND home parties are coming ...

  5. And that's what it come down to. Thinking creatively about your story and who it would appeal to-beyond just the genre.

    I like how Crown looked at the protagonist and decided to focus on her, probably with some excerpts, to women's fictions sites.

    Sounds like Crown has brought some good people on board for pushing digital sales. Good for them.

    Ps. The Rain Fairies just showed up here. I'll see if I can send them your way. :-)


  6. Hi Helen .. interesting to see how a genre could be sold and read more easily as an ebook .. I'd have thought YA or romance novels would do well too ..

    Did you see Stephen Tremp too along his books to an open art market and started selling his books - Sci Fi ..

    Lots of ways to market - cheers Hilary

  7. Why, thank you Maryann!

    You'd have to be entertaining, Christopher, and make it fun so people would buy. But I have a feeling you could do that!

    Thank you Sia. I'll be on the lookout for their arrival. I liked that idea, too, of focusing on the character that fit the site.

    Stephen is a smart guy, isn't he, Hilary. Sell 'em wherever you can!

  8. Christopher, I saw the Tupperware program too. Very interesting how Brownie was perceptive to see that women at home would be a great marketplace.

  9. Helen/Cozy: Wise was brilliant ... and relentless ... which is the secret to being a good salesman ... and the reason that my home sales scheme is doomed to failure ... I tend to relent.

  10. Still no plans to join Facebook but I'm doing everything I can!

  11. And you're doing it well, Alex.

  12. The social media is exhausting but I'm doing everything I can because it is important.
    I think Alex is the poster boy for the energizer bunny!


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