Francine Silverman






Infinity Publishing, March 2005
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

What kind of parent are you to your books? Like a mammal with a cub, do you raise and nurture your book and introduce it to the world, or, like a reptile, do you lay your eggs and walk away? Your brainchild has a lot better chance of survival if you stick around after publication and support its entry into the world.

As a member of the reptilian variety, I knew I could learn a lot from upwards of three hundred writers talking about their experiences publicizing their books. Francine Silverman, editor of Book Promotion Newsletter, encourages her readers to write in with their tips. BOOK MARKETING FROM A-Z is a collection of these submissions, ranging from short anecdotes to long, organized outlines.

It is estimated that one percent of the books actually published get a full publicity campaign. A book needs to get noticed in order to sell, and it needs to be an obvious sell to rate a publicity campaign. That means it is up to you, the one who cares, to get it noticed.

Silverman has laid out an Index of publicity techniques, including the well-known ones of reviews, readings, and book signings but going beyond those to “Contests and Competitions,” “Humor and Enthusiasm,” “Internet,” “Press Kits,” and “Snowball Effect”. There are also categories whose meaning is less obvious: “Donations,” “Moving Up,” “Performing”. Each is explained with multiple examples.

Many authors have contributions in several different publicity categories. Meeting them several times, as they write in their own words, means that we begin to know some of them as people. It makes the whole book rather like a mutual-interest chat. You may find authors here whom you have met elsewhere – to me one of the pleasurable aspects of an otherwise daunting topic. These are people, not pedestal-dwellers. We may discover that without their proofreaders’ help they don’t know the difference between “peek,” “peak,” and “pique”; or that knitting stimulates their creativity; or that the only way they can get through a reading is by visualizing their audience in their underwear. Humanity is rarely the hallmark of a reference book, but in BOOK MARKETING FROM A-Z, it is.

“The proof is in the pudding,” goes the old saying. How successful can these techniques make you? There are no household names here, telling us the secrets of how they got that way. One suspects that there is something more than publicity to making a book or author a success. Looking at the bestseller lists but naming no names, it is plainly not required that you write with quality to sell well. Possibly it is in telling an exciting story, with a compelling structure and only a minimum level of good writing that must be met. Certainly the subject must have wide appeal. BOOK MARKETING FROM A-Z has a long section contributed by a New York Times bestselling author, telling you how to organize a book signing until it squeals. Her marketing experience is impressive, but an even more likely reason for her books’ success is that she writes on the popular subject of angels.

BOOK MARKETING FROM A-Z has some tasty sections at the end that don’t have to do with self-promotion. “Zero Promotion” gives the stories of a few authors who bucked the odds and became happily successful with little or no promotion. This is followed by a section on author resources, from idea development and various degrees of editing, through publication, to people who do your promoting for you.

BOOK MARKETING FROM A-Z is a friendly and useful reference work to keep for the long term. My inexplicably extroverted writing partner will have a field day when the time comes, trying out every people-oriented suggestion in it while I experiment with the internet possibilities.

Francine Silverman's Book Promotion Newsletter can be found here .

May 2005 Review


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