Be well prepared and enjoy it, says Jane Jackson. Jane Jackson’s novels include The Iron Road, Tide of Fortune, Dangerous Waters, and Eye of the Wind, short-listed for the Parker Romantic Novel of the Year 2002. She blogs at UK Historical Romance.
1. What kinds of marketing have you done as an author?
Press release plus copies of books for review to all local newspapers and monthly local glossy mag, Cornwall Today. Notify BBC Radio Cornwall and get a 20 minute slot on the afternoon show. Take showcards to my local library and independent bookseller, plus free postcards featuring the cover and blurb for use as bookmarks. Because my books are based in Cornwall, I focus my efforts in the West Country.
2. What marketing did you publisher do?
Supplies the showcards and postcards.
3. What essential things about marketing did you wish you had known from the start?
Try to come up with a hook or unusual fact or angle that the press can use. You have to do as much as possible yourself. Publishers have neither the time or money to market any but the bestselling authors.
4. What did you learn trying to market your books?
To be well prepared, to look smart but approachable, to appear confident (!). To remember that newspapers and radio stations need to fill pages and air time as much as I need publicity for my books so it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.
5. What’s the most succesful piece of marketing you’ve done?
I sent a copy of one of my titles with a letter of thanks to the manager of the Holiday Inn in Gilbraltar after she had helped me with my research and allowed me to use the hotel as a base for my heroine. She enjoyed the story and arranged a four-day trip for me, interviews with local TV and radio stations, plus a tour of the sights. It was unforgettable.
6. What advice would you give to new authors starting out marketing their books?
Go to interviews prepared. You’ll be nervous so make sure you have a crib sheet with notes covering the five Ws:
- Who is your book about?
- Where is the story set?
- When is it taking place?
- What does your hero/heroine want to achieve?
- Why can’t he/she?
List one or two amusing or dramatic bits of information discovered during your research you can talk about. Remember to mention the title and publisher and to speak slowly. This will lower your voice making it more appealing to listeners. Enjoy the interview – it’ll all be over quickly and then you’ll be back in your workspace beavering away on your next book.