BookSavvy Author News Roundup: 2021

by Sharon Bially on January 13, 2022

BookSavvy Author News Roundup: 2021

2021 was a banner year for BookSavvy, with reams of coverage for every book, and 2022 is shaping up to be just as impressive. From NBC to CNN, Writer’s Digest to Fast Company, our authors have been making headlines! Here are just a few of the placements we’re excited about:

CNN featured Fotini Iconomopolous in a piece about how to nail a financial negotiation.

Writer’s Digest published Amy Newsald’s piece about how her career as a Broadway wig master helped her learn about storytelling.

ABC10 interviewed author Karen Gershowitz about how you should be sure to add leisure travel, even if you have a busy career.

The Hill published Amy Cameron O’Rourke’s opinion piece about how the money in the American Jobs Act could be better used to serve the older population.

NBC News featured Luai Qubain’s piece about how we still have much work to do in pursuing freedom for those unfairly persecuted for their sexual orientation.

CNBC ran Craig Clickner and Carrie Bohlig’s piece about how their side hustles have earned them an over 3 million dollar per year revenue stream.

Insider published Lorena Junco Margain’s story of how she chose forgiveness despite a surgeon’s devastating mistake.

The New York Post featured Karen Gershowitz’s story of how she traveled to 90 countries and all 50 states by the age of 70.

Good Housekeeping published an essay by Amy Newsald about how she grew closer to her father after his death.

MSN showcased Rabbi Tuvia Teldon’s interview about how to define happiness for ourselves following the pandemic.

Insider featured Fotini Iconomopolous’ tips for asking for a pay raise.

Shondaland published Luai Qubain’s essay about how Pride Month should also be a time of remembrance for those with less queer freedom.

Fast Company ran author Peg Conway’s article about how to best navigate the holidays as a blended family.

BeliefNet featured author Lorena Junco Margain’s article on the best ways to deepen and spread gratitude during Thanksgiving’.

U.S. News featured an article by author Amy Cameron O’Rourke detailing red flags you should look for when choosing a nursing home.

CNBC published an article by author Fotini Iconomopolous about phrases to avoid when asking for a raise.

FOX43 interviewed author Karen Gershowitz about how to find the best hidden secrets of travel destinations.

And there’s lots more percolating. Stay tuned!

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A Timeline for Launching, Marketing and Promoting Your Book

by Sharon Bially on January 10, 2021

One of the questions authors ask us nearly daily is, “what should I be doing to launch and promote my book, and when?”

Like with everything in the publishing world, there’s no single “right time” or “right way.”  But if your publication date is at least six months out and you’re the kind of person who likes to plan ahead, below are the steps in what we at BookSavvy consider to be an optimal book marketing timeline.  

Spoiler alert: it’s long — potentially continuing on for a year after your publication date or more. That’s why we always say BOOK PROMOTION IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT.

Years in advance
—Get up and running on social media.  Instagram and Facebook are the hot platforms for authors right now, and Twitter’s a plus.
—Network with other authors through online communities or in-person classes.  They will become a valuable part of your promotion plans later.

6 months before your publication date
—Reach out to request blurbs from other authors. (That network in step 1?  Here’s one place it will play a role.)  Don’t worry if you don’t yet have a copy-edited version of your book’s interior or ARCs: most people will read a Word doc, even if there are still typos, or a spiral-bound print-off from Staples.
Start building a website if you don’t have one.
Research conferences or other events over the coming year you’d like to attend or pitch a talk to and start reaching out.
Keep posting to social media, engaging with other users and growing your community.

5 months before publication
—Bring in your publicist. The first thing a good publicist will do 5 months out will be to prepare a strategy and press materials and submit your book for the reviews (unless your publisher is handling that.)
Keep up the social media engagement, the conference research and the networking.

4 months before publication
—Start planning your launch event.  In these times of COVID, chances are it will take place over Zoom.
—Coordinate with your publicist as needed.
Keep up the social media.

3 months out
—Get together an email list for sending newsletter announcements and launch event invitations.
Your publicist will begin more intense media outreach.
Keep up the conference / event research and the networking.
You guessed it: social media.

2 months out
—Send out a newsletter pre-announcing the book if you have a pre-order page up.
Finalize plans for your launch event.
Finalize your website.
Look into readings or talks you can give over the months to come.  (In these times of COVID,  events are being held by Zoom.)  They do NOT have to be the week or month of your book’s publication.
Keep up the conference / event research and outreach, and the networking.  Start focusing on conferences and events over the coming year.
Social media, social media, and more social media.

1 month out
Send out another newsletter with whatever updates you might have (The final cover? A launch event reminder?)
Let your publicist work their magic.
Get a mani-pedi or a haircut.
Meditate. Pray. Indulge in your favorite foods.

Week of publication
Send out another newsletter announcing that the book is out and reminding people to buy it and leave a review.
Enjoy your launch event!  Relish the well deserved celebration.
DO NOT look at sales.

1 month after publication
—Send out your third newsletter
Your PR campaign might be winding down.  Post the news clips it yielded to social media.
Keep lining up more readings, talks and conference participation going forward.
Keep networking.
Consider new initiatives to keep up the visibility and networking: blogging on Medium? Starting a podcast? Organizing an author’s salon? Becoming a regular contributor to a news website?
—Peek at sales but don’t dwell on them.

2 to 6 months after publication:
—Keep sending out newsletters monthly.
Keep lining up more readings, talks and conference participation going forward.
Keep shouting out about your new news clips and growing your community on social media.
Keep networking.
Move forward with plans to blog, do a podcast, organize an author’s salon, contribute to a news site—or whatever other initiatives you think you’d enjoy that will help you keep building a community of potential readers over time.
When your PR campaign ends, consider whether there are any maintenance steps your publicist can help with: Doing a one-off press release from time to time?  Helping you line up talks?
Peek at sales if you must, but don’t focus on them.  It takes time.
Think about your next book (if you haven’t already).
Think about other long-term projects you’d like to see emerge from your writing: Coaching other writers? Teaching? Getting on the speaker circuit?

Above all, remember: books have a long shelf life.  In theory you could market yours forever.  Focus on the long term, not the publication date.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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What you need to know about Zoom launch events: interview with Bettye Kearse

by Sharon Bially on May 4, 2020

Tell us about your book:

BK: According to my family’s oral history, I am the great-great-great-great granddaughter of President James Madison and an enslaved woman named Corrine.  The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family traces my family’s history from the antebellum south to present-day Virginia, Texas, and California and investigates this story, which echoes with the abuses of slavery.

Your publication date was March 24, just as the Coronavirus crisis was breaking out in the U.S. and the day the stay-at-home order was issued in New Mexico, where you live. You had a launch event scheduled for that day. What did you have planned, and how did those plans change?

BK: Originally I had a book tour set up with visits to 8 venues in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Atlanta, Sarasota, Sacramento, Oakland, Charlottesville and Boston.  Most of the events got postponed due to Coronavirus, but a couple of them, including my Santa Fe launch event hosted by Collected Works Bookstore & Coffee House, moved online using Zoom.

I’m grateful for the outstanding job Collected Works did. They took a number of steps that helped make the event a great success and brought in an audience of 100 people. They announced the event to the store’s mailing list, which is pretty big. They posted about it on Facebook in advance and did a live Facebook stream at the same time as the Zoom event. 

What were the advantages to doing the event online?

BK: One big plus is that 100 people is probably more than the number that would have attended an in-person event since many of my friends and family from the east and west coasts could also join.  

Another is that Collected Works simultaneously live streamed the event on Facebook, and later kept the link posted its Facebook page so people can still watch it and share it.  I did the same. So far, it’s gotten about 900 views.

What was the format, and how did it compare to a traditional book launch format?

BK: The Bookstore’s event producer Cecile Lipworth moderated a conversation between Sherri Burr, author of Complicated Lives: Free Blacks in Virginia, 1619 – 1865, and me. That’s a little different than the traditional launch format where the author is the only speaker, but it made the event all the more powerful. People submitted questions through the Zoom chat function, and Cecile read the questions aloud.

Being on Zoom did not fundamentally change the conversation, and I could see both Cecile and Sherri but not the audience. 

How did people buy the book?

BK: The bookstore is set up to take orders through, which provides local bookstores with an online ordering platform. I hope as many people as possible ordered directly through the bookstore to help support it, but of course, everyone was free to purchase from whichever vendor they preferred.  As of now, it’s too early to see what the sales impact was since I have not yet gotten numbers from my publisher.

How did it feel to be holding your launch event remotely?

BK: Before it was cancelled, I was really excited for the live event.  So many people I know were planning to be there: friends, family, writing group buddies.  Many of them had a part in the book from having read drafts or talked with me about it for all these years, so it would have been nice for us to share in the joy together face to face.  And I’d ordered this amazing cake designed with the book cover plus matching napkins and paper plates.  That was adding to the excitement and anticipation.

It was also a little strange talking to the camera and not to people.  It feels a little like you’re daydreaming.  But I still enjoyed the experience and was glad to connect with my friends and community as best as possible.

I am still hoping to hold some of the in-person events that were originally scheduled–maybe to mark the book’s one-year anniversary in 2021.

What did you learn?

BK: Now that circumstances have led me to use Zoom, I’ve seen that it’s a wonderful way to connect with and reach people without travel.  And it’s so easy.  You can put on your best top and not worry about whether you’re wearing jeans or how they look.  You can be anywhere you want to be–even your car– and still reach people.  You can also do things internationally.

I think remote events can and should be added into the mix of things authors do when they’re launching a book.  Do hold the traditional in-person launch events once Coronavirus has died down, but in addition to those, Zoom away!

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