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Friday, May 14, 2010

Killer Campaigns: Promo Bucket List

Even books have bucket lists. While some tomes last generations, others can fizzle into obscurity within weeks. Give your book the time of its life by making a promo bucket list.

If you've sold even one title, you know how overwhelming it can be to stage your promotional schedule. Planning ahead is critical and making a bucket list of potential promotional outlets will make that job so much easier.

A bucket list is like a dump file, you're going to toss every idea in there, no matter how far fetched or common place.

Your bucket list is going to list digital venues, swag, tours, signings and other appearances. Throw it all in there. Don't worry about it making sense right away, we'll organize them in a minute.

Got 'em in there? Good.

Sort your bucket list by type first. Some of these could fall into more than one category, but this is the way I like to sort them.

Internet Presence
This include interviews, reviews, blog posts, articles, press releases, book trailers, and Tweets that will all go in one pile. These are all static, already written pieces that need a home.

Personal Appearances
Book signings, lectures, workshops, readings, book club appearances, radio, tv, podcasts.

Careful about going overboard here. Go through my old Killer Campaign posts on different types of swag. Invest only as much as you can afford. Some good standbys are business cards, bookmarks, pencils/pens, magnets and candy.

Launch parties, contests, anywhere readers interact.

This one can also break the budget, that's why I'm leaving it to last. If you have a few bucks to invest in a digital or print ad in one of the bigger markets, consider it. Otherwise, let this one slide back into the bucket for another day.

Now that you've sorted your list, expand.

Start with Internet Presence: Interviews.
From here, list EVERY site that will host an interview with you.

Go down the line and do this for every item.

Under Blog Posts, list EVERY blog that will host you, including any posts you will write for your own blog. Remember that you don't want to sound like a used car salesman. Treat your readers to posts they'll enjoy. Promo is entertainment first, offer second.

Under Personal Appearances, list every bookstore, library, club, or show that will have you.

Under Swag, set your dollar amount and shop around for the best deals on two or three items that you think will represent you well. Same goes for Advertising.

You can end up with a pretty extensive list if you work at it. And most of this is FREE. All it requires is a little planning on your part.

At this point you will have made scheduled commitments to some of these items. Go through your list again and schedule the rest of your venues so that you have an entire month of opportunities covered.

The trick to a successful bucket list is to cast your net wide and then sort the fish once they're in your bucket.

To recap, you are going to follow three simple steps.
• Make a list
• Expand your list with detailed venues
• Schedule your promo

Try to do this at least a couple of months ahead and promo will be a snap.

So what do you think? Have you ever made a bucket list for your book?

How about for yourself? What would you like to do before you kick the bucket?


Copyright © 2010 Maria Zannini --

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Joanne said...

What a great idea ... It just goes to show you how with a bit of innovative thinking and planning, marketing can be really interesting, cost-effective and definitely finetuned to each project/author. Thanks for sharing this.

Krista D. Ball said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I'd add getting on the program at conferences you might be going to.

But as a YA writer, I wonder whether these techniques need to be modified to reach my audience. It seems to me that many of them just reach the echo chamber of other writers.


Maria Zannini said...

Joanne, Krista:


Maria Zannini said...


Ref: conferences
I listed that as workshops, since the best workshops are often at cons.

Ref: YA market
The romance (and mystery) markets have a voracious fan base. Readers even go to the writer conferences because they know they'll get to meet their favorite writers. They also frequent many of the blogs and forums, so the audience is already there for us.

But for YA, you might have to concentrate more on school visits. Your core audience is limited to where they can congregate. Short of the mall, school may be your best bet.

I would also concentrate on a strong web presence so you could run contests and kid-friendly media events.

You have a double rail guard in that not only do you have to appeal to the parents/teachers, but also to the kids.

Shelley Munro said...

Excellent post, Maria. I'm about to sort out my promo for the print version of one of my latest releases, so your post is a timely reminder.

Tia Nevitt said...

Great post! I'm going to look at your Killer Campaign posts now!

James Garcia Jr said...

Thanks for the ideas. I have been doing this PR stuff since my novel came out in February. What a lot of work! Little did I know that the writing of the thing was the least of my worries! LOL! Thanks again. You posted a lot of things that I had yet to consider. Thanks again.

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks for popping in, guys. Glad it was useful.

catie james said...

Haven't ever made a "bucket list" of promotion venues/ideas, but I think it's a fantastic place to start - esp. for people like me who tend to be intimidated & overwhelmed when it comes to emerging from my shell. Thank you Maria.

I <3 <3 <3 Killer Campaign posts and am so glad they're back!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Super post. I'm bookmarking it!

Maria Zannini said...

Catie, Amanda: Thanks.

The thing I like about the bucket list is that it's super simple. It takes a big job and breaks it down into little tasks. That makes it a lot less intimidating.