Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Promote that Non-Debut Novel -- Guest Post by Anna Staniszewski

Today I'd like to welcome Anna Staniszewski to the blog. Her newest novel is THE PRANK LIST, released July 1 from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. She's here to talk about a subject I'd personally love to hear more about: marketing a novel when it's not your first -- when you don't qualify to join debut groups or otherwise capitalize on "debut" buzz. What do we do when we have to gear up for promo again, but on a second or later novel? Anna has some great tips. 

Marketing a Non-Debut Novel 
by Anna Staniszewski

When people ask me for advice on promoting their debut books, I tell them to try anything they can think of. If something works, use it again! If something fails, you’ll know better next time. But what should you do when your second (or fifth) book comes out? If you’ve been taking notes on what worked or didn’t the first time around, you’ll have a better sense of where to start. Here are a few other things to consider.

--Have a launch party. Do you feel guilty making your friends and family come out for yet another book event? Don’t! Think of it this way: wouldn’t you want to come support your friend or family member’s newest accomplishment? If your publication dates are close together (like mine are) then it might be fine to forgo an official launch, but make sure to have some event to help celebrate the book’s arrival. (I’m hosting a cupcake-decorating party at a local bookstore, for example.)

--Reach out to your community. Hopefully you’ve been keeping track of enthusiastic booksellers, supportive bloggers, etc. to contact again about your newest book baby. If people were excited about your first book, they’ll want to hear about your new one. Make sure to help promote them in return. Not only is this good etiquette, but it helps forge relationships for the future.

--Find your book’s implied audience. Is your title particularly good for mother/daughter book clubs, for example? Great! Put together a discussion guide and reach out to local libraries to see if they might be interested in using it. Is your book about a robotics competition? Awesome! Maybe there’s a local club you could team up with. Remember that every book--even if it’s part of a series--comes with its own marketing opportunities.

--Don’t be afraid to say no. If you know you hate doing school visits, for example, it’s okay not to do them. Use that time to write, instead. You’ll never be able to do everything, so you want to make sure that whatever marketing you choose is enjoyable and worthwhile. Again, keep a list of what you like and what works, so you can focus on those types of opportunities.

What are your marketing tips for debut or non-debut novels? Do you have any fun out-of-the-box ideas you’d recommend?

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. Currently, she lives outside Boston with her husband and their crazy dog. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time reading, daydreaming, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series and the Dirt Diary series. Her newest book, The Prank List, released on July 1st from Sourcebooks. You can visit Anna at


Anna Staniszewski said...

Thanks so much for having me!

Kimberly said...

I second the launch party. I did a virtual release party with my CP, Leandra, and created a FB event. I invited everyone. I posted links to our blogs. We did a giveaway. It was well attended and really helped me boost sales and get the word out about my book.

Marcia said...

Anna -- You're welcome. Thanks for coming!

Kimberly -- I'm glad that worked so well for you, and thank you for stopping by.

Mirka Breen said...

Anna is an inspiration. She does everything so well, not least of these are her wonderfully funny spot-on MG books. I'd like to hire her for cupcake making, also.

Claudine G. said...

Group giveaways are helpful, too. I love the idea of a cupcake event!

cleemckenzie said...

Knowing when to say no is the best. Glad Anna reinforced the idea that we just can't do everything. Thanks, Anna.

Marcia said...

Mirka -- I think "spot-on" is always a special pleasure.

Claudine -- Groups and food sound like a winning combo.

Lee -- I think we need someone to give us permission every now and then to not do everything.

Kelly Polark said...

Great tips! I love the mother/daughter book club idea. Good idea to reach out to them and libraries!

Vijaya said...

Anna, thanks for these tips. Each book needs to be celebrated, not necessarily in the same way as a first book. I liken them to babies. A couple of years ago, I went to celebrate the impending arrival of the 8th child in the family.

Leandra Wallace said...

You always hear so much about the debut launch, it's good to hear some tips for when it's not the first book. Marketing is so fascinating to me, so I really enjoyed this post!

Marcia said...

Kelly -- I agree that those two are great. And where would we be without libraries?

Vijaya -- I guess it's balancing what you like to do and find effective with finding the right audience for that book.

Leandra -- You've hit my feeling on the head: It's like, "What do you do AFTER the first time?" But we're learning as we go in the marketing aspect, just like we are in the writing.

Dawn Malone said...

I'm late to the game here, since we've been traveling. Great post! And just to add: connecting with scout groups is a good idea, too!