A QUICK OVERVIEW OF PUBLISHING: The Importance of a Marketing Plan

Never has getting published been more difficult than it is today. With computers, more people working at home, and the use of digital, lap-top, electronic, print-on-demand, and self-publishing, in addition to traditional publishing, manuscript submissions are at an all-time high. Publishing houses are inundated. With competition being at the level it is, less than 3 percent of all submissions are accepted for publication. This is astounding! Because of this, it is absolutely imperative that writers do everything they can in order to create their own edge. That includes preparing a workable, realistic marketing plan.

Whether a writer is approaching an agent or a publisher, professionalism is a must. This means clean submissions, properly formatted, carefully edited, and sent to the correct editor or agent with an appropriate cover letter. It also means following the specific guidelines requested by the agency or publishing house you are submitting to. It is like going to war with defined rules of engagement, beginning with the elements that must be included in a good cover letter: title of manuscript, word count, background information on the author, brief synopsis. Attach sample chapters and, of course, your marketing plan. This is such an important “first impression” step to getting a manuscript read that many times a writer will pay a professional editor to write the cover letter.

It used to be that once a publisher contracted for a work, he took on the responsibility of also marketing that work for the purpose of gaining the most sales. The most an author had to do was occasionally show up at a book signing event that had been arranged by the publisher. Today, most publishers reserve the bulk of their marketing budgets for their big-name authors already under contract. All of the other authors pretty much have to fend for themselves. This means going out and beating the bushes for book signings, speaking engagements, attending book events, writing news releases and anything else you can do in order to sell your book. Creativity is a definite plus.

I first got the idea for my novel, Shyla’s Initiative, when I read an article about a little-known offshoot from the ancient religion, Santeria. The story explained how even today it is practiced throughout the country, especially in South Florida. I immediately began visiting all of the botanicas I could find, interviewing Santeria priests who would talk to me. This background paved the way for Shyla’s Initiative, my story of a writer who was starting to feel trapped in an unhappy marriage. The fact that she had married outside of her culture contributed to the problem, among other things. Throughout the story, there is an underlying, mysterious thread that eventually connects my protagonist, Shyla, with Santeria that eventually reveals her purpose in life. In doing my research, one Santeria priest in particular was helpful and invited me to one of their services that included animal sacrifice. I even offered to pay him for any inconvenience, but he adamantly refused, saying he would be punished by the orishas if he accepted money. He asked only that I give him a copy of my book when it was published.

When my book was published, I returned to the botanica several times in order to give him a copy of my book, but he was never there. Weeks passed, and with the passage of time I began to get an overwhelming feeling of apprehension that I had failed somehow. Perhaps I had even angered the orishas.  I needed to get my book to that priest!

Eventually I did, and even though it had been several months since I had spoken with him, he recognized me. He smiled when I gave him a signed copy of my book, then he spoke in the ancient language of Santeria. I believe it was a blessing and not a curse since my feelings of apprehension quickly disappeared. After that I went back to all of the botanicas I had visited when gathering my research and left books for them to sell. It turned out to be a wonderful marketing tool.

So how do you go about preparing a marketing plan to include with a submission—either to an agent or to a publisher?

BE SPECIFIC: What can you do, personally, to promote your book? For example, if you are a school teacher, perhaps you can promote in the schools. What about business connections? Your activities in the church or synagogue? Does your best bud belong to a book club? Will the owner of the little gift shop you like to browse in be willing to display some of your books and sell them on consignment?

My novel, The House of Kane, is a mystery that takes place inside a major New York publishing house. Aislinn Marchánt, a writer and editorial consultant, is hired by the major New York publishing company, Kane Publishing House, to help determine why several submissions sent to them have mysteriously disappeared only to be published later by another publisher. Are the editors at Kane simply not being diligent enough with the in-coming manuscripts, or is there something more sinister going on? Because of my work within the publishing industry both as a published author and a literary agent, I was able to realistically portray what actually goes on with submissions behind the closed doors of major publishing houses, and because of this realism and the story itself, The House of Kane was considered for a Pulitzer nomination. Two years later, my novel The Gospel According to Prissy was also considered for a Pulitzer.  I didn’t win a Pulitzer, but the fact that both books were submitted for consideration has been a useful marketing tool.

BE PREPARED: Once your book gets published, marketing takes a great deal of time and preparation. Remember, the publisher is saving his marketing money for his big-name established authors, so it doesn’t hurt for you to plan a budget as well. Know in advance how much you are willing to invest in marketing your book. Personally visit the bookstores in your area and outside of your area if you are able to travel to let them know you are available to do book signings. Show the bookstore managers your book and leave information that they can review later. Send out news releases. Send out announcements. And get involved with social media on the internet.

BE CREATIVE: Think outside the box. One of my own personal favorite things to do in marketing is to introduce myself to the directors of libraries locally as well as regionally. I do this in person whenever possible thereby building a relationship with the people who work in the library. Then, when my next book is released, I take a copy by to donate to the library or to their “Friends of the Library.” Invariably, that leads to sales.

You will be able to come up with your own ideas based on what is going on in your life. Organize those ideas into a good plan that you can include with your submission to an agent or publisher. You will be surprised how this one element of your submission will contribute to your getting an offer of a publishing contract.

Good luck!

Barbara

Virtual Super Book Blast Tour: THE COACH’S WIFE BY BARBARA CASEY

SBB The Coachs Wife Banner copy

My mystery/suspense novel, The Coach’s Wife, has just been released in paperback and is available through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and all leading book retailers.  Reviews and comments throughout the United States and several foreign countries will be posted on my virtual blog tour at www.GoddessFish.com as well as on each of the links below on Friday, May 2. I will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter, so I hope you will be able to stop by and visit.

Barbara

The Internet Web Hosts who will be carrying the tour are:

1: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
2: Our Families Adventure REVIEW
3: Books Direct
4: The Book Review REVIEW
5: Room With Books
6: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock REVIEW
7: Beckstar Reviews REVIEW
8: Deal Sharing Aunt
9: Welcome to My World of Dreams
10: Beer, Books and More 
11: My Devotional Thoughts
12: The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
13: Brooke Blogs
14: Book Bling
15: Booklover Sue
16: Book ‘Em North Carolina
17: The Write to Read
18: Sexy Adventures Passionate Tales
19: Writer Wonderland
20: Andi’s Book Reviews
21: Literary Lunes Magazine
22: Reviews by Crystal
23: Bookgirl Knitting
24: Blood Moons and Nightscapes
25: The Cerebral Writer
26: My Odd Little World
27: Tina Donahue Presents
28: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
29: Dawn’s Reading Nook
30: Queen of the Night Reviews
31: It’s Raining Books
32: Straight from the Library
33: Long and Short Reviews

Another deafening roar exploded from the coliseum, and when it did Marla threw down her partially smoked cigarette and ground it into the polished tile floor with the toe of her shoe. Quickly she reached for another cigarette from the opened pack in her small red handbag. She lit it, sucked the smoke into her mouth, held her breath, coughed, and then slowly released it. Marla didn’t smoke, but when she paced up and down the hallways of basketball coliseums, puffing on cigarettes seemed appropriate. It gave her something to do with her hands, and it helped keep her sane.

Marla Connors, recently married to head basketball coach Neal Connors, travels with her husband to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the Piedmont State University Coyote team is playing in the NCAA Finals. Marla has not been accepted by the Coyotes, that loyal bunch of fans who follows the university team, partly because she is almost twenty years younger than Coach Connors and a divorcée, but also because the fans are afraid she will distract her husband from his duties as head coach. They see her as someone who married Coach Connors just for his money. Only Gale, the older wife of assistant coach Stu Simmons, goes out of her way to be a friend to Marla.

The Coyote team is plagued with problems from the very beginning of the season, and when they finally manage to reach the NCAA Finals, it’s even worse. Their center is caught using drugs, Athletics Director Charlie Morgan, who is also in Albuquerque for the games, makes a pass at Marla in her hotel room, and Coach Connors comes down with the flu. No one believes that State can win the big game.

With so much happening, Marla can’t shake the feeling that something evil is taking over her life. She tries to convince herself that it is emotional anxiety left over from the abuse she experienced during her first marriage to Dr. Martin Andrews and that the stress from the tournament has brought it once again to the surface. She soon learns, however, that the evil is real and it threatens not only everything she loves, but her very life.

Illegal drugs, illicit affairs, murder, and scandal that shakes the entire university system are woven inextricably into Marla’s life until eventually she comes face to face with her real tormentor. It is only then that she realizes the full depth of her love for her husband–and his love for her.

 

THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES WINS THE 2013 IPPY “LIVING NOW” AWARD

I have just learned that my novel, THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES, has won the Independent Publishers “Living Now” Bronze Medal Award. This is such exciting news.

About the Award:

The Living Now Book Awards celebrate the innovation and creativity of newly published books that enhance the quality of our lives, from cooking and fitness to relationships and mature living. The awards are open to all books written in English and intended for the North American market. The gold, silver and bronze medalists in this year’s Living Now Book Awards offer a list of books representing the fastest-growing segments of book publishing today, and the Living Now Book Awards help demonstrate the importance of these books to readers and their vitality in the marketplace. The awards are presented by Jenkins Group of Traverse City, Michigan. Jenkins Group has been involved in book packaging, marketing and distribution since 1988, and is dedicated to promoting books that improve readers’ lives, bring families together, and make the world a safer, healthier place.

THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES was also reviewed by the Smithsonian Institute for its List of Best Books and included on Amazon’s List of Best Reads.

Brief Description:

Dara Roux, abandoned when she was 7 years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan.

Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan.

Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was 16. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan.

Three high-spirited 17 year olds, with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Carolina’s purpose in planning the trip is to remove her gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can’t cause any more problems (“expressions of creativity”) for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity. Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and search how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted – a search, more dangerous than she could have imagined, that will fill in all of the missing pieces of her past and help each of her students to discover something meaningful within themselves.

THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES GOES ON TOUR

THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES, written for both the adult and new adult markets, will be featured in the virtual book tour by Goddess Fish Promotions on Wednesday, August 28, 2013.  The hosts who will be discussing my book are listed below.  If you get a chance, do stop by and make a comment.  I will be checking in all day and will answer any questions you might have.

A brief description of The Cadence of Gypsies follows:

           

Dara Roux, abandoned when she was 7 years old by her mother.  Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan.

Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan.

Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was 16. Exceptionally gifted in music and art.  Orphan.

Three high-spirited 17 year olds, with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women.  Carolina’s purpose in planning the trip is to remove her gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can’t cause any more problems (“expressions of creativity”) for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity.  Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and search how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted – a search, more dangerous than she could have imagined, that will fill in all of the missing pieces of her past and help each of her students to discover something meaningful within themselves.

For more information about The Cadence of Gypsies, visit www.barbaracaseyagency.com Available from Amazon.com and selected for Amazon’s List of Best Reads.

HOSTS FOR THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR
1
 Blood Red Shadows
Full Moon Dreaming
LizaOConnor
Out of the Lockbox
Danita Minnis
Writer Wonderland
Reading In Twilight
Andi’s Young Adult Books
Sexy Adventures, Passionate Tales
10
 Reviews by Crystal
11 
Cabin Goddess
12 
Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
13 
You Gotta Read Reviews
14 
On the Broomstick
15 
My Devotional Thoughts
16 
Dawn’s Reading Nook Blog
17 
Deal Sharing Aunt
18 
My Odd Little World
19 
Hope Dreams. Life… Love
20 
Dalene’s Book Reviews
21
 The Cerebral Writer
22 
Chris Redding Author
23 
The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
24 
Red Wine and Books
25 
A Writer’s Life
26 
The Simple Things in Life
27
 Bunny’s Review
28 
Farm Girl Books
29 
Renee Luke
30 
Nickie’s Views and Interviews
31 
Who’s Reviews
32 
Fiction Writing and Other Oddities
33 
Andi’s Book Reviews
34 
Wake Up Your Wild Side
35 
Hope Dreams. Life… Love
36 
fuonlyknew
37 
Musings and Ramblings
38 
Sharing Links and Wisdom
39 
Becky Flade Author


AMAZON SELECTS THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES FOR ITS 2013 LIST OF BEST BOOKS

THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES, written for both young adult and adult readers, has been selected by Amazon for its “2013 List of Best Books.” This is especially nice since it was totally unexpected.

A brief description of THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES is as follows:

Three high-spirited 17 year olds, with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Carolina’s purpose in planning the trip is to remove her gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can’t cause any more problems (“expressions of creativity”) for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity. Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and search how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted – a search that will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more dangerous and exciting than any of them could have imagined.

The storyline is woven around the ancient Voynich Manuscript and the mysterious Kaulo Camioes, black gypsies, in a contemporary setting that takes place between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Frascati, Italy. All of the facts concerning the Voynich are accurate, as are the facts relating to gypsy customs, beliefs, and practices. The story itself is fiction.

I had a tremendous amount of fun researching the Voynich, as well as gypsies for whom I have a new-found respect and understanding. If you get a chance to read THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES over the summer, I would love to hear what you think of it.

Barbara

 

 

PRISSY SELECTED FOR PULITZER NOMINATION, “2013 BEST SUMMER READS”

I am excited to announce that my latest adult novel, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY, has been placed in nomination for a Pulitzer Award. Winners will be announced in early 2014.

I also am pleased to announce that THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY has been selected by “Conversations Book Club – Conversations Live Radio” for its 2013 list of 25 Best Summer Reads.

It is available in soft cover as well as Kindle and Nook and can be ordered through the Internet or from your local book store.

BARBARA CASEY’S VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR IS SCHEDULED

Below is the schedule for my “Virtual Book Tour” featuring my latest novel, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY. I will be making 22 stops between May 20 and June 14, so if you are free to stop by and visit, please do.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY has just received the IPPY Award for Best Book in Regional Fiction. The issues and conflicts I address in this story are complex, as are the characters. But in the end, I think you will be glad you read it and be left with a sense of joyful inspiration.

I hope to hear from you in the weeks ahead.

Barbara

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR

5/20/2013 MeganJohnsInvites
5/21/2013 Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
5/22/2013 Margay Leah Justice
5/23/2013 It’s Raining Books
5/24/2013 My Devotional Thoughts
5/27/2013 Novel Moments
5/28/2013 Christy McKee Writes for Women in the Sweet Spot of Life
5/29/2013 Tinasbookreviews
5/30/2013 Nickie’s Views and Interviews
5/30/2013 SECOND STOP Fiction Writing and Other Oddities
5/31/2013 Deal Sharing Aunt
6/3/2013 The Life (and lies) of an inanimate flying object
6/4/2013 Illustrious Illusions
6/5/2013 Book ‘Em North Carolina
6/6/2013 Hope Dreams. Life… Love
6/6/2013 SECOND STOP Stitch Read Cook
6/7/2013 Straight from the Library
6/10/2013 Read Your Writes Book Reviews
6/11/2013 4 the LUV of SANITY
6/12/2013 The Ink Spot
6/13/2013 United By Books
6/14/2013 Welcome to My World of Dreams

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY WINS IPPY BOOK AWARD FOR BEST REGIONAL FICTION

I have just received notice that my latest novel written for adults,THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY, has won the IPPY Award for “Best Book in Regional Fiction.” This is especially good news since it is the second IPPY I have received, the first awarded a few years ago for my novel, SHYLA’S INITIATIVE, for “Best Paranormal Romance.”

Launched in 1996, the “IPPY” Awards were conceived as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and are open to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English and intended for the North American market. Now in its seventeenth year, the Independent Publisher Book Awards are presented annually to honor the year’s best independently published titles.

As in all of my novels, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY deals with several themes driven by strong characters. Spousal abuse, teenage crime, women’s prisons, our military veterans trying to get acclimated back into society, and children who are born “special”—either physically or mentally. Prissy is one such child, born with the “gift of prophecy,” and the ability to apply that gift to whatever problems she is confronted with. Prissy was first conceived in my imagination from a beautiful oil painting of a little girl I discovered in an art museum in Madrid, Spain. She was kneeling in the grass examining something fascinating–a bug, a pretty flower, a shiny rock.  What I most noticed, though, was the look of rapture and total wonderment on her face–a look that expresses something that only an innocent child can experience. My heart was touched deeply by her. If you get a chance to read THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY, I hope your heart will be touched as well.

Barbara