Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Promotion By the Numbers - Part Two...

Okay, so I've already talked about online book promotion.  Now, here's the lowdown on other types of book promotion:

My first book was Blood and Groom and it was published by The Dundurn Group in November 2009.  For that book, I did about 60 events in about 15 months: 
  • Three TV interviews (all on Rogers Daytime, but different cities).
  • Six libraries.
  • About 30 store signings at Chapters/Indigo and other retailers.
  • Some neat events such as "Murder in the Old Town" at the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse and "Vino and Victims" at Swirl Winebar (great place!), plus a Read-A-Thon for Durham Literacy, and so on...
  • A few book clubs.
  • Some speaking events (Sisters in Crime, schools/writing classes, etc.)
  • Several print interviews
I'm the one who thought of, planned, promoted, and executed each event.  Think of what is involved in doing each of those, for example a book signing at a store:  
  1. Call or email the store and ask if they are interested in having an event with you and your books.
  2. Call or email the same store a week later because they didn't get back to you to confirm the date.
  3. Once the date/place are firm, tell all your friends about it.  Tweet the event, post it on Facebook, and (depending on the event) get it listed in local media "What's On" or "Happenings Around Town".
  4. Call local media and ask if they would like to cover the event (community newspapers are good for this, especially SNAP).
  5. Depending on the event, you may wish to send ahead some promotional materials (bookmarks, flyers, etc.)
  6. Retweet the event.  Post a reminder on Facebook.
  7. Call the store again to make sure they know you're coming and that they have lots of copies of your book in stock.
Now all of that may seem easy enough (?!?!) but add to that travel time to and from the event and time spent at the event itself (just about every event I ever did was at least two hours). So, if you say 2 hours for the actual event, and 2 hours for planning/promoting it, and 1 hour travel time to and from the event, you're looking at a minimum of five hours of your time for each event.  (Occasionally it's shorter, but often - usually - it's much longer).  If you take five hours time sixty events, that's 300 hours.  (Compare that to a forty hour work week... 300 hours would be 7.5 weeks at a "normal" 9-to-5 job).  Keep in mind - all of this is separate from the time it takes to actually write, revise, edit and proofread a book. 

With Dead Light District (the 2nd Sasha Jackson mystery), I have done fewer events, and I've concentrated mainly on store signings.  Part of the reason for doing fewer events with this one is that the next book is coming right on its heels. The Lies Have It will be out next month (just six months after Dead Light District), so I'll promote both of these quite a bit in the coming months. 

In any case, if you are a new or aspiring author, you'll likely be surprised at how much time you'll need to spend on book related stuff that has nothing to do with actually writing.  I've easily spent way more time promoting each book than I did writing any of them.  By far! 


  1. This is such a very helpful post. So many ideas for ways to promote oneself! I'm tweetin' this 'un.

  2. that's a lot of numbers, and it's something I have to think of now too! glup!