Saturday, December 6, 2008

So, now what?

by Danielle Jackson

When you lovely ladies are reading this, I will more than likely be sitting outside in the freezing Philadelphia winter, watching Navy take down Army in their college football game! Most of you know my little brother (who is quite tall and can lift me over his head) attends the Naval Academy, and I am beyond proud of him! So, I won’t be commenting back to you all today, but while I’m sitting in the cold, surrounded by sailors, I’ll be thinking of you—who knows, my little scenario might even inspire a scene in one of your books, haha!

I thought this particular blog would be appropriate an appropriate time to discuss what you should do in the "off season" because the entire Casablanca fiction line finds itself in a bit of a lull—no new books in stores in December and January? What should you be doing? What can we do to continue the buzz? Is it too early to start talking about the next books? And what about our fresh newbies chomping at the bit—what should they be doing?

First and foremost—keep talking about your books! Whether it’s already in stores or is coming out in a few months, let your voice be heard! You know that Christmas song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (and I’m specifically talking about the Whitney Houston version; my Christmas mix has officially made it into my car and is on heavy rotation)—no one is going to know unless you talk about it, which is exactly how the news traveled in that song.

You should start transitioning your focus to your Spring 2009 books. That’s what the entire publicity department is doing at Sourcebooks. There are other books that are coming out in December and January, but we’re heavily planning our Spring PR season—and letting the rest of the company know, too. So, still talk about your Fall book, but continue the conversation/blog by bringing in your new book. We call this “cross-promotion.” :)

Many of you now know that random reviews come in all the time—I send books out, I follow up, I start to stalk reviewers, and I won’t get a response until a review is posted well over 2 months after it was intended to go up. Now, I hope, through the planning I mentioned earlier, that the bulk of reviews will be posted on time in the Spring. But, when we do get a review in late, this is just one way of continuing the buzz!

To you newbies out there—tell everyone about your book. From the kid bagging your groceries to your sister’s best friend’s ex-boyfriend. Talk it up! This goes for you more experience broads out there too: Don’t be shy about something I know you’ve worked SO HARD on. You wanted to be published—so go tell everyone; you never know when you might be talking to a buyer or store manager! Building up buzz is hard to do, but something we’ve been getting pretty good at, and others in the publishing world have taken note of…

This brings me to another point—an “industry” trend if you will—most romance fiction books reach their peak during the second week in stores. My MAIN GOAL for 2009 (and beyond) is to have the bulk of reviews running during the week before the launch week, the launch week, and the week after. I know 3 weeks seems like a measly amount of time, but when it comes to sales and customer outreach, this is the best time to make sure things are running. With the amount of books coming out in the Spring (which will continue to grow in the Fall), I will be paying an incredible amount of attention to our warehouse reports, and keeping you all updated when to expect your books to be in stores.

So what else have I been doing? Well, all of the ARCs for March and April have arrived, and the May and June ARCs should be in sometime this month. So that means reaching out to long lead reviewers, trade publications, and querying to websites and blogs with a large readership. In January, I’ll continue to contact reviewers (shorter review times), check in with those who have books and make sure everyone knows their deadlines! Of course, I’ll be in contact with all of you, encouraging you to start talking to bloggers on your own about guesting, and even trying to set up a signing!

So a lot of emailing, a lot of schmoozing, a lot of updating—but that’s what I’m here for! Since I’m off duty watching those in duty playing football, leave a comment and I’ll answer when I get back. GO NAVY!

PS
A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mama Jackson, who is with me right now, and a most avid reader of many of your books :) I won't tell her age, but she's looking FABULOUS and she's my favorite person.

11 comments:

  1. I'm not so good at shameless self-promotion, but I have learned a couple of things.

    I carry a copy of SEALed With a Kiss in a clear plastic zip bag everywhere I go. When anyone asks me what I do, it's easy and natural to whip it out. People are genuinely interested to meet an author and they like to see the book. I let them hold it.

    They make a remark about the cover, I make a remark about the cover. Sometimes they put it down without any interest, but sometimes they ask where they can buy it.

    I tell them which local bookstores carry it but occasionally they insist on buying THAT copy so I can sign it then and there. (These are books I ordered on my own nickel, and so I do sell it. I can't be sure the local stores have it in stock.)

    No matter what happens, at worst, it's a pleasant interaction. At best, I may have gained a reader.

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  2. Happy Birthday, Mama Jackson! And thank you Danielle, for this inspired blog. I will do as you instruct! Go team!

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  3. Not being shy and shameless self-promotion is still tough for me, I will confess. I am trying to get better at it though! Mary Margret, your idea is fantastic! I will remember that one. I am in that Spring of 2009 lineup, so this topic was most appropriate for me. Thank Danielle! Have a great weekend, and indeed: GO NAVY!

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  4. Happy Birthday Mama Jackson!!! You've got awesome kids I know you're proud of.

    Talking about the books is a snap, so don't worry, we'll do our part.

    Linda

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  5. Happy birthday, Mama Jackson!

    Marie, Kendra and I were thinking about you and Danielle today as we were signing stacks of books in the Barnes & Noble at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. We were freezing in front of the doors and thanking our lucky stars we weren't you!

    I don't know how the game was, but I hope Navy won and that you don't come down with pneumonia!

    Thanks for the great blog. We all missed you today!

    Robin :)

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  6. Happy Birthday Mama Jackson!! We had a fun signing in Baltimore. It was fun to hang out with Robin and Kendra. Hope you didn't freeze in Philly and thanks for the informative post!

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  7. Danielle, hope your mother had a Happy Birthday and that you had a good time at the Army/Navy game.

    I'm a reader -- and I've enjoyed many books written by the authors here. I thought I might make your day with the following link:

    http://www.romantictimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=178380#178380

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  8. Whew, no reason to worry about Navy in that game! They skunked em.

    Thanks for the hints for Newbies. It's cool to find contacts near my home town of Landover Hills, Md...

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  9. Happy birthday, Mama Jackson! Danielle, I hope you guys managed to thaw out after that game, and that you weren't too cold to enjoy the absolute routing we gave Army! OMG was Baltimore coooooold. It snowed! The three of us had a great time, though. And thank goodness for Robin's Domestic God and his big SUV, or I'm not sure my little group would have made it back to our car (which we unwittingly parked on the other side of the *&$%! harbor).

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  10. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes. I had a great time. Fortunately we did get tickets to the Army/Navy game, but if we hadn't we would have been in Baltimore. I'm pretty sure Danielle would have preferred spending time with you, but she had a great time with us also. I love reading all of your books, so keep them coming!I think it's a great idea to carry your books with you. As a lay person, I'd jump at the chance to buy an author's book and get it autographed if I met them randomly. Thanks for allowing me to contribute to your blog!

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