Friday, December 29, 2006

Marketing Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan

Publishers these days don't run to three-martini lunches and author tours - at least not for a first-time author who writes about New York and already lives there - so as the release date of Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan approaches I'm spending a fair amount of time thinking about marketing. This is far, far from my fields of expertise, so I make it a game.
Who do I know who's most likely to talk about the book to a lot of people if given a pre-publication copy? Make a list, and ask NYU Press to send galleys.
What periodicals and newspapers are most likely to publish reviews or mention the book? Keep a running list, ask NYU Press to let me know who they're sending review copies to, and suggest additions.
NYU Press will produce postcards and some printed material. What promo pieces can I produce inexpensively? "Moo cards" ( ) are extremely cute, but too small for any practical use. Instead, I designed print-at-home business cards with the book's cover on them, in hopes people will remember the image well enough to stop, look, and pick up the book if they see it in a bookstore.

This week's project was designing a promo piece to offer as a prize to the first five people who write good reviews for Amazon. I decided on a tote bag rather than a mug or mousepad, because the tote would presumably be carried around rather than sitting on a desk. But the minimum order for silk-screened tote bags is dozens, which would cost far more than I should spend. If I order only 5, the cost shoots up to $25 each. Youch. The solution: using Avery T-shirt transfer paper to copy the book's cover to a piece of fabric, which I can then sew as a pocket onto a mass-produced plain-color tote. That brings the cost of the totes down to $9 or so each, which I can afford as long as I only produce 5 of them.

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