Pandemic Book Marketing

The final edits are done, the book’s turned in to the publisher and the next step: marketing. Marketing is actually not a single, solitary step; it’s many, many, sometimes wobbly, steps over a large body of water. The steps that aren’t wobbly are the warm, kindly and familiar ones: visiting the friendly bookstores and libraries you’ve promoted in before. But the fact is, expansion of promo is a must with each new book in order to build readership. How does this work during a pandemic? That was the question on my mind last May.

Usually I team up with another mystery author whose book release date is near mine. But most authors I asked weren’t up for marketing during the pandemic. And most were unfamiliar with virtual appearances. I was just beginning to learn myself.

Then Zoom and other video conference platforms showed up in full force. Now we had a means, and thanks to my day job running a legal non-profit, Zoom and I became fast friends. Right about that time, my publisher started to hold author-wide meetings via what else, but Zoom. That gave me an idea: maybe I could team up with another author or two within my publishing house and go virtual.

After one of my Level Best Books publisher meetings, I put out a call to other authors about teaming up. To my delight, three authors responded. Three wonderful mystery authors motivated to make virtual promo work. Within two months, we started booking events. Two of the authors, Tina de Bellegarde and Carol Pouliot are in New York and the third, Jen Collins Moore, lives in Chicago. Between the four of us, our bookings were coast-to-coast, which provided new sources of readers for us all. Hooray!

We put our mystery author heads together and came up with a theme; using common threads in each of our mysteries. We all had sleuths and sidekicks! So started the Sleuths and Sidekicks cross country virtual tour.

A format was organized with questions relevant to our hero/ines and their trusty (or not so trusty) sidekicks. The best part is that we four meshed splendidly and have lots of fun talking mysteries and books. I couldn’t have imagined such a lovely quartet.

Not to worry, if you are an indie publisher, you can still find pandemic virtual book promo teammates. If I hadn’t found my co-authors the way I did, I would’ve expanded my search to writing groups which I’ve joined (Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, etc.).

If you missed one of our live panels, check my events page to watch the recordings. Having fun can be catchy!

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