Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Marketing Wednesday

Marketing Wednesday is back. Sorry I took another hiatus with the holidays. Hopefully no more interruptions. So last post was about covers and today we're going to talk about creating your own databases. This will prepare you for when it is time to get your book out there and is something you can do now, unpublished, that can help you in the future.

I interned for an agent about two years ago and this is one of the things she had asked me to do for her. It was a real eye opener for me to see what agents do for their authors as well as what their authors can do for themselves.

The first database I created was for book bloggers. When your book is coming out you want as many people as you can get talking about it. Book bloggers are a great way to spread the word.

First thing you have to do is open Excel and setup your spreadsheet. Mine was as simple and basic as you can get:

The first column was the name of the blog. The second the link to the blog. The third, description. What types of books did they review. If you only write one genre this is not necessary. The fourth, the name of the person you need to contact. The fifth, their email address. The sixth, the number of followers their blog has. And seven, how many Twitter followers they have.

You can add as many columns as you'd like to your database. Such as how many Facebook followers they have. How many comments they get. Anything that will be beneficial to you. The database I created listed 356 book bloggers. I'm sure that number has grown and I'm sure many of those blogs no longer exist.  That's why it is important that once you have your database created you keep it updated. Check in every so often to make sure the blog is still active.

I also created a database for independent bookstores that sold children books and YA books. This list contained 380 independent bookstores across the country. This database was also simple:

The name of the store
The address
Phone Number
Name of Contact

Another database I created was for libraries that had a children's/YA section. This list contained 743 libraries across the country. It followed the same format as the independent bookstore database.

You may be wondering why you need these databases. It's simple. These people and places are the key to getting your book out there. You can send postcards to the independent bookstores and libraries with the information about your book and hope that they will be willing to carry it. The bloggers, you want to reach out to as many as you can. You want them spreading the word about your book.

Not all publishers will take every step necessary to market your book and you may have to take it upon yourself to do so. Be prepared. Don't let your hard work and dedication sizzle out and die just because your publisher doesn't fund the marketing efforts. There is so much you can do at little cost that will keep your book alive. And I want to help. So come back next Wednesday for another tip.

Have you ever thought about creating a database?


  1. No, I have not. But I will now. :)

    That's a terrific idea actually. I have my list of agents in Excel. I don't put much down for them, just if they especially like contempo or something. And what they require for queries. But I always check it before I send a query, cause you never know when they might change somethin.

    1. I used to have a spreadsheet for agents too. It was so much easier to keep track of than a notebook with a million scribbles in it. But I will admit sometimes the notebook was more convenient :)

  2. This is a good idea, Theresa... but my techie pedantic-ness is squirming. Excel spreadsheets are not databases. They are spreadsheets. I work with databases daily. You can import these spreadsheets into Access (which IS a database), and each spreadsheet can be a table. But the concepts behind spreadsheets and databases are different (but I'm not going to bore you with that now).

    Does this change what you do? Not at all. I'm simply trying to encourage correct terminology. You can certainly use spreadsheets this way, and if it works for you, that's perfectly fine. It's just not, strictly speaking, a database.

    OK, I can relax now. :D

    1. I'm not a techie by any sense so thank you for the clarification :) My understanding of a database has always been a structured collection of data. I had no idea. Plus it's what the agent I interned for called it so I just stuck with it. lol