Marketing Fiction: 15 Steps Toward Success

October 2005
by Joshua Ortega

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1. Allocate funds for
promotional copies of your novels. These are essential for getting
endorsements, getting into bookstores, and spreading the buzz on your book.
Often, one comp copy can lead to multiple sales down the road, helping you
reach people who might not otherwise have checked out your book.

2. Do not skimp on the cover. This
is your single most important marketing tool. And when in doubt, keep it
simple—a clear, stark design is better than a cluttered design.

3. Even if you’re a small
publisher, look big. Make sure not only that your book’s cover can compete with
covers from the big houses, but also that your promotional materials are crisp,
attractive, well written, and free of typos.

4. Give yourself enough time to
get galleys or advance readers’ copies out to the major prepublication
reviewers (such as The
New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Publishers Weekly,
and Library Journal).
A good review from one of them means instant credibility and some great
marketing and sales opportunities.

5. Don’t print more copies in your
initial run than you are likely to sell and use for promotional purposes within
a reasonable amount of time. One great advantage of being a small press is that
you’re not on the same timetable as the New York houses. You don’t necessarily

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