Thursday, August 7, 2014

I Got a Contract! Um. Now What?

Guest Post from Mike Hancock

All those ridiculous hours of drafting and editing a novel have come to a close, and you’ve signed on the dotted line with a publisher. But don’t shelve that voracious tenacity just yet.

These days, maximizing sales falls mostly on the author’s shoulders, so for those that are keen on technology and salesmanship will have a distinct advantage. The following is what I did, but everyone’s strategy will differ.

When the Contract was Signed

Share the news through your social media outlets (what? You’re not on twitter or facebook? Yeah. Do that). A facebook trick: post your status update at about five to six-ish in the evening. The traffic starts to pick up then, and continues to escalate until nine or so. New likes and comments get the post “bumped”…so even more people will see it. I have a thousand friends, and close to 200 interacted with the post. Then, do the same with twitter. Post new updates regarding the novel every week or so, just to keep it fresh in people’s minds.

Get a website. I had a guy design mine, but it isn’t terribly complicated, and you can do it yourself. My splendid luck: was taken, and, much to my chagrin, it’s a gay porn site. Sigh. You’ll fare better with this. So, it was.

About a Month Out From the Release

Make a trailer: Here, you’re looking for an enticing synopsis of the book conveyed through a two to three minute video. Again, I had a guy do mine, but lots of authors do their own. Upload it to youtube, then share that link like crazy.

Have some business cards made with your contact info and website. Pass these out as you attend bookstores or literary events.

Guest write. On any blog or topic you/they like, but always include, at the end, your website and publication date.

What’s this? You’re published in numerous literary journals? Tell them the news about your novel! They may want you to write an article about writing, or interview you. And that goes out to all their present and future readers.

Release Date and Beyond

Compile a list of independent and chain bookstores in your state. In my case, I’m shooting to do one signing a month for the foreseeable future. Have that list? Cool. Organize it like this:

September: Dallas, TX, Barnes and Noble

October: New York City, TBA

November: Portsmouth, NH, River Run

December: South Padre Island, TX Paragraphs on Padre

January: Colorado Springs, CO, TBA

Now go there, or if it’s too far, have someone go there for you. Here’s the caveat: You or they must have a copy of your book with a business care in hand. Since I teach full-time, I tell them I can do any Saturday in November, for example. That’s enough flexibility for them to work with, usually.

Something else that’s most excellent: there’s Facebook groups and other outlets like that are book clubs that review a book a month, for example. One’s doing mine in late October.

Promote other authors: query literary journals and the like about an interview you do with another author. They get to promote their book, and you get to promote yours with a blurb at the end.

Okay, now your turn. What are some creative ideas for promotion? A gay porn shoot on with my novel in the background? Heyyyy…

Mike Hancock runs an English Dual-Credit program via Texas Southmost College. He lives and writes from South Padre Island, Texas. His novel, Fallen, was released by Black Rose Writing on July 24th, and explores the similarities between cultures spanning circumstance and time. Read more about Mike at