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Friday, January 16, 2009

Marketing, Part 3

Yesterday's entry finished with an amazing book signing at Curves that ended up lasting all August and into September. However, fun and games were over. It was August and my book would be released in January, giving me five months to get ready.

Almost immediately I found an oversight. Through studying Dan Poynter's website HERE, I learned that an important and often overlooked market are Public Libraries. For this market it's important to have a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN). Since the book hadn't been released yet, I decided to apply for a Preassigned Control Number (PCN) HERE. Books also need cataloguing in publication (CIP) data, rotsa ruck for me since the Library of Congress only generates this data for big publishers. But wait! Dan Poynter said that books can also have publisher-generated CIP data! There are other sites, but I hired a librarian with lots of experience and reasonable prices ($50) HERE. She gave me a fast turnaround also, a few days. Since the ARCs were printed using POD technology, the LCCN and publisher's CIP data could be added to the ARCs easily by uploading an updated PDF of the interior. Zip zip, and I was ready.

Publishers normally build about a 6 month pre-pub time interval into their book schedule in order to get reviews and endorsements . So, since it was up to me, I started searching for book review sites on the internet, listed from other books, etc. I decided to try for a few biggies like Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus and Library Journal. These are highly respected journals that I didn't have a snowball's chance of making, but what the heck. I also googled *book review sites* and listed many possibles, including Midwest Book Review that is a prestigious review site that favors small press reviews. Then, I started sending out books cold, maybe about 25. The results of almost all of these packages felt like the sound of one hand clapping. I did get my self-addressed stamped postcard returned from the religious editor of Publisher's Weekly with a kind turndown -- I think she could tell I was a newbie without a clue. Midwest Book Review told me my book arrived safely, but unfortunately they reviewed the released book, not an ARC, so I should resubmit when I was ready. Just last week I heard from *At Home with Christian Fiction* that they would post a review (I'll put it on my list on the side of this blog when it's up), but that's it as far as I'm aware.

I had another problem come from these cold review copies that I hadn't anticipated: once my book was listed on amazon, I immediately found my book being sold from people who had accounts with amazon (the amazon stores). Well, guess how they got their hands on it? Right! Oh well, you can't worry about this, although I was extremely annoyed when I first saw it.

I sent lots of books out between August through October, but then I stopped. Basically, most of the review sites want to receive the ARC about sixteen weeks, plus or minus, before the release date, so once October hit it didn't make sense to send more out to these cold sites.

But, there were other places I was sending my book besides cold review sites...

To be continued.


gzusfreek said...

Amy, I can't believe how hard one has to work to do this. Wow! Thanks for sharing.
Keep on keeping on!

Billy Coffey said...

Just to let you know, I'm printing all of these posts out and filing them (along with the links you've provided) for some hopeful future reference.

You're saving me a whole lot of work and hassle!

Andra M. said...

Great advice about the LCCN, CIP and other acronymians.

I look forward to Part II of . . . oh, wait, this is Part III. Hmm. Part III.V?

Amy Deardon said...

Gzuzfreek, well, it keeps me from getting bored :-) You can see why I haven't been able to really write in a while though! I'm hoping I can clear my calendar by February 1st to finish the next book in the series...

Billy, this is the Cliff Notes version. If you do decide to go ahead, let me know and I'll give you all my notes. Anyone else, feel free to write -- this is just one person's journey, but I've (hopefully) learned something. And also, read anything you can by Dan Poynter. The man knows his stuff.

Andra, it IS alphabet soup, isn't it!? I had to mail a copy of the book yesterday to the Library of Congress. Wow, I guess it's official now.

Andra M. said...

I'd love to see all your notes, so sign me up!

How long after you send your book to LoC will you receive your LCCN?

Amy Deardon said...

Andra, you are certainly welcome to any help I can offer. Just let me know :-)

I don't remember exactly how it works, but I think my PCN is considered the book's LCCN once it's published? Have to check my notes. Anyone know? The bottom line is, I sent the final book, so now we're square.

Cathy Bryant said...

Hi Amy! Thanks for these posts on marketing. They've been very helpful.

Also, I wanted you to know that I've given you a blog award. You can stop by WordVessel at your convenience to pick it up! (On 1-17-09 post!)