My novel Curva Peligrosa opens with a tornado that sweeps through the fictional town of Weed, Alberta, and drops a purple outhouse into its center. Drowsing and dreaming inside that structure is its owner, Curva Peligrosa—a curiosity and a marvel, a source of light and heat, a magnet. Adventurous, amorous, fecund, and over six feet tall, she possesses magical powers. She also has the greenest of thumbs, creating a tropical habitat in an arctic clime, and she possesses a wicked trigger finger.
Since my novel Fling will be published in July of this year, I’ve been feverishly (and I DO mean feverishly) learning how to market the book. Its success will determine whether my other novels (three more) will also find their readers.
I have read from cover to cover, pen in hand to mark every important idea, David Cole’s The Complete Guide to Book Marketing, Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, and Patricia Fry’s Promote Your Book: Over 250 Proven, Low-cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. I’ve searched the Internet from one end to the other, collecting other author’s stories on how they did it, my files bursting with information that I’ve had to cull through and categorize. By the time I finished, I was reeling.
In walks my stepdaughter Eva Zimmerman, Publicity Manager at Seal Press. I present her with 25 pages of notes summarizing my research, and she quickly puts it all into perspective. Instead of slogging through a quagmire of information and getting stuck every few minutes with questions of “how do I do this?,” I now have a manageable plan to follow that isn’t overwhelming. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do, but as Eva pointed out, I shouldn’t put my energy into areas that I hate or that won’t be fruitful. Go for the gold!
Not everyone has a stepdaughter who specializes in publicity, but if you don’t, you can hire one (a publicist, that is). And I highly recommend it. Professional publicists know things that non-professionals don’t. You wouldn’t go to a general practitioner to have kidney surgery. Nor would you expect a proofreader to give you the feedback that a developmental editor can. The same is true with marketing. Experts have access to lists and individuals that we mortals don’t.
So while all of my research did give me insight into what it takes to successfully sell books these days, I’m grateful that Eva is guiding the process and opening doors that I couldn’t have done by myself.
And, yes, she does do freelance work.