How to Organize Your Promotion Information
For authors, the great news about ebooks is they never go out of print. The bad news about ebooks is they never go out of print.
Why is that bad news? Instead of a few months of promotion about the time the book comes out, we must promote year round.
Here are some of the methods I've created for myself in the last four years to make that promotion easier.
Start to collect all the information about your book or books on one file in a format your browser can read. That includes prices, ISBNs, publication dates, publisher contact information, ebook formats, etc.
Here's an example:
Time after Time: Copyright 1998, Marilynn Byerly In ebook form: ISBN: 1-58200-044-1
Formats available: HTML, PDF, MSReader, MobiPocket, Palm Doc
In Trade Paperback form: ISBN: 0-7599-0101-5, Retail price $10.95
Published September 1998 by Hard Shell Word Factory PO Box 161 Amherst Jct. WI 54407
Book Review Blurbs
On the same sheet, also collect your favorite review "blurbs" about your books.
Include a link to the whole review.
"One of the most memorable books I've ever read." Pat White, Under the Covers, Under the Covers: Time After Time by Byerly <http://www.silcom.com/%7Emanatee/byerly_time.html>
Really Short Plot Descriptions
Create pithy one-liners to describe your book and put them there.
Here are some short ones I created for THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN for different sites that needed different word counts:
To save a human world, Col. Val Grant and his crew of the finest minds in the galaxy face an enemy who cannot be beaten.
To save a human world, Col. Grant and his crew face an enemy who cannot be beaten.
To save a human world of royalty, castles, and courtly lifestyle, Col. Val Grant and his crew face an alien enemy who cannot be beaten.
Not Quite as Short Plot Descriptions
Have a few longer plot summary blurbs.
Schoolteacher FAITH CODY thinks she has the perfect summer job as nanny to NICHOLAS PRICE's two visiting children, but the children are kidnapped, and she and Nick are compelled to join forces to steal the ransom -- documents incriminating vicious criminals.
As an investigative journalist trained in the ways of the professional cat burglar, Nick has the skill to steal the hidden documents, but their dangerous owner guards the documents well since they prevent his death.
Thrown into this life and death game of betrayer and betrayed, Faith must trust Nick, but Nick is not a man to be trusted. And he seems willing to betray anyone for his children.
The prize His two kidnapped children The rules Trust no one, betray anyone, Win at whatever the cost His pawns His lover His best friend His opponent The most dangerous cat burglar in history The game A game of betrayal THE GAME WE PLAY
Have your awards for each book listed with the book information.
Every Version of your Bio
Include every bio you've written for various spots.
Really short excerpts from your books
Some sites want an excerpt of a few sentences or paragraphs of your book.
Finding the perfect choice takes lots of thought because you want paragraphs that stand alone without being confusing, that won't give away plot points, and yet gives the essence of your book. These short excerpts also are excellent for signature lines before you have those review blurbs for your emails.
Check your book contract before you excerpt anything because some specify exactly how much you can excerpt. A few publishers don't allow any excerpts without their permission. (The same is true of your cover art.)
Why Do You Need This Information?
Every time you are interviewed, you'll need some of this information. Every time you go to a site to list your book, you'll need some of this information. It saves a lot of time and effort to be able to go to one source and cut and paste the information in.
Some sites will ask for a specific word count for your plot summary, or a specific number of words for that one liner so you may have that length already done, but if you don't, be sure to add the new length to your collection on your master sheet.
It's also a good idea to learn simple HTML code for paragraph breaks and spaces because you'll often have to use them when you are pasting information at various sites so your information doesn't show up in a giant blob of a paragraph.
You probably have Netscape on your computer even if it's not the browser of choice, and its Composer feature allows you to format text as you would with your word processor software, but when you click on the HTML button, the HTML code is revealed. Copy the revealed HTML version and put it with your other book information, and you'll only need to copy and paste that rather than inserting code by hand.
Collect Your Cover Art and Author Pictures in One Folder
You'll also need to create a folder of cover art and author photos of various sizes. Often your publisher will do this for you if you don't have the graphic software to do it yourself. I've done so much of this over the last few years that the graphic software I bought was worth the investment. Be sure to check out the software packages that came with your scanner or printer because they often include some form of graphic software which will allow you to size your graphics.
Bookmark Those Promo Sites
Create folders in your Bookmarks/Favorites part of your browser. You'll need folders called
"Places to list my books,"
As you collect bookmarks to various sites, put the bookmark in the appropriate folder. The "My books online" folder will be handy because you'll have links available without having to go to Amazon or Fictionwise every time you need to know that information, and it makes redoing your "where you can buy my books" section of your web page a breeze. By having all the sites carefully sorted, you'll be ready to do some serious promotion when your next book comes out.
Start a file of all your interview questions and paste the new interview answers there as well. You'll quickly discover that very few interview questions are original, and you'll be asked the same questions over and over again. If the answer is still the same, cut and paste from the old answer.
Most sites now interview via online questions or by emailed questions. If the questions are online, copy and paste the questions to a blank page, then go off line to answer them. You can take your time this way, and you'll be able to use your spell checker and do a serious edit. Remember that you want to present a professional and literate image of yourself, and typos and poorly constructed sentences won't. Later, you can cut and paste your answers online.
Unless a site gives you permission to share the total review, you can't post it anywhere online, nor can you share it with others via email (with the exception of your publisher, editor or agent), but you should have your reviews for each book in a file for easy reference. You'll occasionally want to freshen your signature line with a different review quote, or you'll need help remembering which review site said what about you, or what the reviewer's name was so you can ask for her again.
Is All This Organization Anal or Smart?
Is all this organization worth the trouble? Very definitely yes because you'll spend much less time chasing down information and much more time promoting and doing important things like writing that next book.
Copyright © 2003
May not be reproduced in whole or part without the author's express permision. (firstname.lastname@example.org)