Pre-Release Marketing

OK, it's still a good three or four months before the book release. What to do, what to do?

Actually, there's plenty to do. Right now, it's the period to build the buzz, get the word out, introduce myself and my work to the world. Marketing starts before the book hits the stores.

So what have I been doing? First, I have printed up a good number of bookmarks and postcards, and have been handing them out or leaving them at places such as coffee shops or libraries. Eventually, I'm going to leave them at the book stores as well. I've also been handing them out like business cards -- but bookmarks and postcards are better than business cards. Why? Because they are bigger (but still easy to carry) and harder to lose. Also, I can do so much more in the design and include a whole range of information on them including the ISBN, ordering information, website, "blurb," etc. I can get them printed for a relatively cheap price online, about $120 for 5000 bookmarks, or $150 for 2500 postcards. Good deal.

Obviously, I also have a website: It's been up for a few months now and I'm constantly updating it. The issue is how to get people to come to the site and how to keep them coming back. The answer is content. On my site I've included information about the books, and also some interesting links to other people blogs and also some writing samples as well as photos. I am thinking of adding a new section talking about the craft and art of writing, as well as periodic giveaways. My site and blogs are also listed on some people's sites.

Building the buzz. I belong to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler and have made a lot of friends over the last 18 months. While pushing my book is not my main purpose for hanging out on AbsoluteWrite, the bulletin board is useful in building the buzz. I haven't officially announce my book yet, but I have talked about it, and also include information in my signature. I have to take care to build the buzz slowly and steadily, through familiarity and word-of-mouth.

Press kit. We have an official press release that is being sent to media and reviewers. However, I am also in the process of assembling a press kit that includes an author biography, an author picture, Q&A, a CD, and any reviews I have. Right now, it's still early and I don't have any reviews yet, but I expect to have some soon.

I have also begun to network with other people, including writers and media types. And I'm getting better and better at talking about my book, as time goes by. It takes a lot of practice, a thick skin, and a passion for my work to pull it off. I am making myself available to many social events as well as fundraisers. At a recent fundraising activity, for example, I met some really interesting people and talked about my book. It was a rather interesting experience.

One line blurb. That's that brief "elevator" speech I need to deliver when someone asks me, "What is your book about?" Fortunately, I've worked on the synopsis and jacket blurb for so long that I have it all memorized. It goes something like this:

"It's not a love story, but a story about love, death and betrayal, about an American who embarks on a transpacific journey to find the truth about the relationship between his ex-lover and late father."

Yeah, it's a little long, but at least I can say it in one breath!

All these activities also keep me from going insane while waiting for the book to come out. Yes, I am working on my next novel, but there are times when the creative juices are not flowing, and I've got to do something. So these pre-release marketing activities keep me out of troubles.

They work, usually.


Glad you're staying out of trouble, Ray.

Won't be long now. Time is flying.
September said…
I have been reading about your book and I'm getting excited about the release date. I plan on getting it...can't wait to read it.
Ray Wong said…
Thanks! I can't tell you how impatient I am... I think this is the first time in my life to WISH for February to come soon. HAHA.

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