Monday, June 27, 2016


"There is no magic to book promotion. There's no secret formula to creating a successful book, and it doesn't always take millions of dollars to generate a bestseller.  You don't need a huge Rolodex of media contacts, large advertising budgets, or the full support of a Big Five publisher to make your book a success.  While all of those elements certainly can help, I believe that every book, with the right strategy and promotional campaign, has the opportunity to sell well, including yours."


I started my career in book pr.
I sell things for a living.

One thing I know for sure: listening to people with proven track records of success is smart.  It's a good use of two scarce resources for authors: time and money.

Dana Kaye's new book Your Book, Your Brand is a must-have for authors. For new authors, for experienced authors, for self-pubbing authors, for authors with a publisher small, medium, or large.

In other words: this book is indispensable.

It pubs in September 2016.
You can pre-order now.

PS If you get a chance to hear Dana speak, don't miss it.


Cindy C said...

Added this to my list. The timing is perfect since my goal is to be finished with the current round of revisions before school starts back in the fall. When this is published I hope to/should/will be ready to start thinking more about selling the book than writing the book.

Colin Smith said...

Does the book mention the use of contests as promotion? I don't know, maybe flash fiction contests incorporating words from the title and the sub-header? With an ARC of the book as a prize, maybe?

Just an innocent question. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

A new bible for writers who seek publication, I LOVE IT.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Pre-ordered. Thank you, Janet. I wonder if there's a chapter that deals with writers who are socially impaired? You know writers who don't think Colin is boring at all. I guess I will find out in September.

Peggy said...

Adding this to my Cart list--you know, the list of things I should save for later, instead of putting the cart before the horse that is finishing the dang novel in the first place.


Donnaeve said...

Pre-ordered! The pub date will be just in time too. (to save me from myself)

A step back to WIR...THANK YOU so MUCH for all that work. Wow. It was so informative (as always) and entertaining to boot! Colin's English Translation Service totally cracked me up! I realized yet again, I missed a lot. Thank you for also answering my question about the ebooks, and earning out an advance. I've got to get my lingo right.

"If lots of library users request Donnaeve's novel..." Saturday night I had the privilege of joining four other local area authors in the NC State University Theatre's lobby to meet/greet patrons who were attending an Agatha Christie Festival. The 2016 Piedmont Laureate (old high school "chum") set it up, AND, I met a lady there who works with the person who coordinates events with local libraries in Raleigh.

Last WIR thing One more time on the SASE GREAT IDEA. (no, I don't wish to be zipped off to Carkoon). You argued your logic quite eloquently. I promise after this two tiny comments (think of them like whispers) to NEVER bring it up again. My theory was you wouldn't reply back by snail mail. You'd only receive queries via snail mail but you'd reply back via email. (they'd include their email when they queried.) And my other eensy/teensy comment - many of "us" don't have to go to the post office. I have a mailbox and all I do is go to my side door, stick the mail in, and it gets picked up.

I'll just tip toe away now - before QOTKU chomps. I'll be over here, quietly observing.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Will add this one to my TBR shelf over on Goodreads! I've already got Donna's on there. :)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I ought to recommend my boss get it for the library. We have a lot of writers locally, in my workshop and otherwise, and as we all know it's the goal of a library to have a collection which benefits the needs of its community!

Melissa Alexander said...

I have plans for disparate books -- two or three mainstream novels, an urban fantasy series, and a mystery series. How do I brand myself? By being who I am: a dog person.

My current WIP is about a wayward traveler who clashes with his sister when he agrees to help his grieving nephew turn an injured retriever into a champion. It is a dog story. The next mainstream novel is not a dog story but features a dog. It will be very easy to add a dog to the two series.

The dogs are based on real dogs in my life, and I'll have pages on my web site about the "real" dogs. I've already figured out how I can shape my use of social media around the breeds.

Dog people love to read about dogs! I think it will be a great brand.

Janet, may I ask an unrelated question? If a writer get a two or three book deal with an advance, and the publisher declines to publish anymore books after the first, what happens to the advance already paid out?

Colin Smith said...

Melissa: I know you wanted to hear from Janet, but before she weighs in with the correct answer, let me give this a shot. You brand yourself with your first novel, which is why you want to think long and hard over which that first novel will be. That doesn't lock you in to always writing that genre forevermore and a day, but that first novel will set reader expectations, and you will want to build on that as you develop an audience for your work. That's my thought on that.

As for advances, I have thoughts, but I'll let Janet handle that. She's the agent, after all. I'll wait with you to see what she says. :)

Theresa said...

This book looks GREAT! Thanks for the recommendation.

Julie Weathers said...


"My theory was you wouldn't reply back by snail mail. You'd only receive queries via snail mail but you'd reply back via email."

In my former life of sending out the queries, partials, fulls via snail mail I can attest what a pain it is. For one thing, it's tremendously expensive. Everyone recommended you use high quality paper for one thing and high quality printing. That was before we got into the postage. The partials and fulls seldom returned in reusable quality, so they might as well have been disposable, but I always had hopes so I included postage for their return.

That was back when I was taking in ironing, walking around town to clean houses, and baking bread to make money to support my writing habit.

Now, of course, all agencies would want partials and fulls via email.

Remember the OP recently who sent out 350 queries in 3 months and got 60% no replies? If we figure they had queried snail mail at 50 cents per that would be $175. How outraged do you think people would be then?

Besides that, the agent has to look through the letter, type in the email address, which takes more time instead of just hitting a reply and it gums up the process more. Especially when the author has some goofy name that is easily misspelled.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I just moved over the weekend and I realized how many books I have. It's not a fun thing to realize when your arms are sore and you have staircases to tackle.

Buuuuuuuut..... looks like I'm going to go ahead and get at least one more. :)

Melissa Alexander said...

Thank you, Colin! I appreciate that nugget of wisdom.

Julie Weathers said...


"You brand yourself with your first novel, which is why you want to think long and hard over which that first novel will be."

I agree, which is why I put off Cowgirls for so long even though I've wanted to write it for a long time. Aside from the fact I need to do a lot of traveling to get the research nailed. My first love is fantasy. I have a trunk fantasy novel floating around already plus Far Rider on the shelf and another one half finished. Well, two more. The sequel to FR is well under way simply because I cut so much it put me half into the next book.

I didn't want to establish myself as a historical author when my heart was with fantasy, but I really have divided loyalties as the Civil War spy novel is proving.

At this point, I'm not going to worry about it. I think there will be a market for Cowgirls Wanted if I do it right and I hope there will be one for The Rain Crow.

I figure if I'm successful and the readers trust me, they will follow me. If nothing else, I could write under another name for the fantasy later. Julia Pendragon sounds good.

Louis L'Amour's publishers fought him tooth and toenail when he wanted to write a medieval historical and then a modern novel, but he finally convinced them. I think there's a danger of becoming too entrenched also.

Kae Bell said...

Colin, LATE last night, reading WIR, I posted a link to a story about a cat that lives in a TX public library. Jealous Town Council members have voted to give her the boot. Here 'tis again, for reference and general interest in cats, libraries, and weird things from TX.

Julie Weathers said...

In the interest of authors everywhere, you should know that a buttload of wine is officially 126 gallons or two hogsheads.

Julie Weathers said...

For those still mourning #brexit Not so long ago...

And if you really loved me, you would get behind #Texit.

Colin Smith said...

Kae: I saw that and almost linkified it there, but didn't since people had pretty much stopped commenting. So here you are:

cleemckenzie said...

Thanks for the suggestion. Selling a book is a huge chunk of this business, and so many writers know little to nothing about it. (I include myself)

Unknown said...

Pre-ordered! This looks like a great book. I had hoped that there was in fact a secret formula to a successful book, but I will grudgingly accept that there is not and I will have to work at it. (Thanks, Your Sharkness, for frightening me so thoroughly about the challenges of staying published after getting published!)

Katie Loves Coffee said...

On topic: great resource - thank you!

Off topic: stop what you are doing and go read the Twitter interaction between Janet and BadLitAgent. Thanks for the laugh, you two :).

Typing from my phone so apologies if link doesn't link correctly:

Colin Smith said...

Okay... I couldn't resist.

Words: book, brand, indispensable, launch, sales.

100 words, usual rules.

Bessie fired up her tattoo gun and opened the book. Five years after launching her stud farm, she switched from heat branding to tattoo, figuring it was more humane. Her tattoo gun was now an indispensable part of her work.

She could feel the flesh tremor as she copied the mark onto the skin. She put a steadying hand on the back, feeling the taut cords of muscle ripple under her fingers.

"All done," she said, wiping the tattoo clean. "Here’s your shirt."

The young man slipped it over his six-pack abs.

Bessie smiled. Sales will be good this year.

Lucie Witt said...

Twitter tells me today is agent day and I see lots of authors thanking their agents.

Janet, thank you for being an agent who helps so many writers in so many ways.

Today's book is added to the tbr list. I know this isn't my skill set (selling/pitching other's work? I'm pretty great. My own? Another story).

Lennon Faris said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Janet.

I just ordered two books, Stephen King's 'On Writing' and Strunk & White's 'The Elements of Style.' They should get here tomorrow and being my first books on writing, I'm pretty stoked. Guess this might be my next!

Craig F said...

Being branded by a publisher might be the reason I lose focus on my queries. I am torn between starting the long story with a thriller and going up to a speculative thriller that leaves me closer to the sci-fi I wish to end with.

If I create a brand with my protags maybe I can go back with the stories of the build up on the science side. I have put a lot into both the science and social aspects of the first humans to move off planet.


Long before most of you were born I got a degree in marketing. This was back when you used punch cards for a program. There are so many aspects to a marketing plan. Many of them need to be tailored to a particular product. That probably also carries over to variances in how to market different genres.

I would like to know more about this and if it is suitably set up for a reference tome. I think I will wait until I know more but I thank you again my Queen

P.S.: would someone be kind enough to go back over the bolding. I tried and blogger didn't accept it. Thanks

Colin Smith said...

Craig: Bolding? Sure. Put a < b > tag (without the spaces) on the left side of the text you want to bold, and then a < / b > tag (again, without the spaces) after the bolded text.

If you want to italicize, simply do the same, but substitute "i" in place of "b".

Kregger said...

I signed up to hear Dana Kaye in Parma, Ohio.

Elissa M said...

Thank you for this.

A book (not a seminar, vlog, or conference) about selling books is exactly what I need.

BJ Muntain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BJ Muntain said...

I've pre-ordered that book. I'm hoping, at some point, to be able to help my friends with marketing their books. I do have some background already, thank goodness, but I think this book will give me some insights on specifically marketing books.

Julie Weathers said...


I have a registered horse brand, the cross quarter circle. It looks like a cross on a hill. I don't think that will help much with the book branding though.

I had thought about doing podcasts as part of my blog again occasionally, if I ever get my blog back up. Not vblogs. I don't have a camera and don't want one.

I noticed Surrey has a marketing workshop. I hadn't planned on taking it as I have nothing to market, but maybe I will. I might have something one day.

Panda in Chief said...

If #Texit is what Inthink it is, I am on board!
I think I have the panda brand down pretty well. Now, what to do with it, I don't know. Maybe this book will help.

I hope #AgentDay is not one more holiday that I forgot to send a card to celebrate. Oops. Maybe he won't notice?

Lisa Bodenheim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Bodenheim said...

Can I whine? But I'm still learning about the craft of writing and now I need to learn about the business of marketing...

Steeeep learning curve. Thank you for another necessary book to add to my TBS (to be studied) pile.

And, back to the WiP.

Kae Bell said...

Thanks Colin! Why I was awake at 3:00 AM posting cat links here I don't know.

Colin Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Smith said...

Kae: I've learned not to ask... :)

Stacy said...

Ooh, there's a launch party not far from my apartment here in Chicago. Added it to my Google calendar. Going to try to make it! :)

Miles O'Neal said...

Julie: Texit is long overdue. 8^O

Miles O'Neal said...

I need this now, not in September!

Beth Carpenter said...

At times, I think a branding iron might be a less painful method of branding. Probably wouldn't sell a lot of books, though.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

It's never too early to learn about marketing. Do not wait until you've published a book, or even written a book.

I learned that one the hard way. If you read about something, even if it's not anything you can use immediately, it will stick in your subconscious, to be brought out later when you do need it.

When I was finally published, I didn't know anything about marketing. Didn't realise I needed to, so focused was I on getting published in the first place. Granted, my small publisher did have a marketing team and they were able to give me a few clue, but I was not as efficient at marketing as I wish I was.

I'm still not efficient, but I'm getting there. I've got another book coming out in September (yay!) and I'd really like to up the marketing on this one. It's magic book number 5, the one that stuff's supposed to really start happening for an author.


Some clever and efficient marketing will help.

Anonymous said...

Every time I see the title of this post, I hear Nat King Cole singing Unforgettable. If you have to get a song stuck in your head, that's not a bad choice.

Janet/Dana, do you know whether this will eventually be available as an ebook? I hope so, as I'm a total convert to that format and really want to buy this book. In the meantime, I've added it to my wish list.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

This looks like à must read.

I've been marketing my artwork for 30 years. At this point I get solicited. People invite me to exhibit or ask me to donate a work to an auction ...

I have to market myself none the less because soon I'll be pushing a new product that is completely different than anything I've ever made. And because some of those people who solicit me I don't want to associate with. Lots are vanity galleries or editors who print international catalogues of mediocre art.

One of my teachers in art school warned us to not submit to galleries fresh out of school. She suggested we develop and experiment our craft before commiting to a style. She is right. Only through constant practice will an artist's style organically emerge. A lot of bloviating crap is produced along the path.

AJ Blythe said...

Sadly no time to read the comments, but am taking the time to pre-order. Thanks, Miss Janet.