Deb Werksman, Editorial Manager, acquires single title romance fiction in all subgenres, for Sourcebooks. She has been wildly successful with Jane Austen fiction as well as innovative women’s fiction (give her a fresh new premise!), international authors and historical fiction. She’s looking for a heroine the reader can relate to, a hero to fall in love with, a world created, and a “hook” that allows her to sell the book in 2-3 sentences.
With Conference season upon us, it’s on every author’s mind:
What are the best promotional items to grab readers’ attention and get my book noticed out of all the thousands out there?
I’ve seen more than one blog post and Facebook conversation on this subject, and I’m expecting a tsunami of paper items for the Goodies Room at M&M12.And then at the end of the conference, I expect to throw away quite a bit of it.Now before you get too upset (and I don’t blame you – lots of money was spent on those items), let’s think about it: What do you still have from last year’s conferences?
- Are those glossy postcards still in your bag, or did you pitch them when you got home and unpacked? (I confess, I pitched ’em.)
- Do you use the conference bags for groceries, book clubs, beach toys (like I do) …?
- Do you plan to build a scrapbook album to mount all the romance hero trading cards? (Maybe to build a big reader prize…)
Here are some ‘Duh!’ essentials, and some out-of-the-box ideas to consider to get you noticed:
Business Cards are essential. Go to your conferences prepared to give out a box of 500. On them, make sure your contact information is primary, along with your book info. A good way to reconnect face and name to a book the following week when your requested submission appears in Dream Agent’s inbox is to put your photo on your card.
Bookmarks – treat these like oversized business cards. Even in the digital publishing/ ereader age, books are still here to stay. There is no other product besides pen and paper that identifies the writing industry… unless you’re a multi millionaire prepared to hand out hundreds of ereaders.
QR Codes on your business card that links directly to your book’s page on Amazon, your blog (with links to Amazon), or your site is another easy and effective thing to put on your cards and bookmarks.
Your book, your writing, your story is your selling product. If you’re self-published, or if your contract allows you to do so, consider a Smashwords code printed on your bookmark that gives a free prequel to your story, a free vignette, or free excerpt. Entice your reader to want to buy your book by offering up some backstory or side stories, anything that will make them want to buy your book.
Another way – a bit pricier here – is to offer a loaded USB thumbdrive of your stories.
Why offer your book for free? Because my friend, exposure = reviews. The more your book is out there being discussed, the more online buzz is created for you. Be generous. It creates sales.
This isn’t a giveaway item, but an effective idea is to buy a skin for your laptop or phone that has your bookcover on it. Think about it – you’re probably carrying those two things around everywhere. An excellent cover next to your face when the phone rings in the waiting room…? Instant conversation starter.
So… what ideas can you come up with in this Digital Age of All Things Are Possible? Spill! We can make a great conversation here and on Twitter, hashtag #promoMM12.
Martin R. Biro is an Assistant Editor at Kensington Publishing Corp. A native of Northern California and a graduate of the University of Iowa, he has been with Kensington Publishing since February 2009, acquiring commercial fiction for their many diverse imprints.
Some of his projects include Alexander Campion’s Capucine Culinary Mystery series, Mollie Cox Bryan’s Cumberland Creek mystery series and Eve Marie Mont’s young adult Unbound series, beginning with A BREATH OF EYRE. He is primarily looking for women’s fiction, historical romance, mysteries, gay fiction, and young adult fiction.
Wanda Ottewell has been with Harlequin Enterprises for more than eleven years. During that time she has acquired for many of the company’s series programs. Now as Senior Editor for Harlequin Superromance she focuses her attention on finding those emotional, heartwarming stories readers want.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be showcasing the editors, agents, and key speakers for the Moonlight & Magnolias conference. Let’s get this pre-party started!
Grand Central Publishing
Associate Editor at Grand Central Publishing, Latoya Smith discovered her passion for book publishing early in her career, while working as an assistant to a NYT bestselling author. Latoya looks for a unique plot, characters she can become enthralled with, great and natural sounding dialogue, and a world—whether contemporary or paranormal—that will suck her in from page one through to the end. Ultimately, she looks for a satisfying reading experience. Latoya is currently acquiring romance of all genres, 8,000 words and up, general fiction, erotica, and women’s fiction.
This year is incredibly special to us, as this year marks our 30th Moonlight & Magnolias conference, and the theme is Corsets, Craft, Crime: Light a Fire Under your Fiction! The conference will be held on October 5-7, 2012, at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast, in Norcross, Georgia.
Over the next few months, we’ll be talking about the conference, giving links for where/how to register, and introducing some of the fabulous speakers we have in store for you.
Please bear with us as the dust settles and we get this place in shape for the coming conference season.
2012 Moonlight & Magnolias Conference Committee