What makes a marketing prospectus? When the time came for me to write my own, I had trouble finding information on exactly what to include. For those of you who may be in the same boat, today’s advice comes from CG Fewston, American author of A Time to Love in Tehran, which won gold for Literary Classics 2015 best book in the category of “Special Interest”. He was kind enough to come to my rescue when I needed help figuring out what to write, and has agreed to come to yours as well.
Here’s what he had to say:
CLAIRE CZOTTER: What is a marketing prospectus? Why is it necessary?
CG FEWSTON: The marketing prospectus is usually required when the agent/publisher feel the new author is (or could be) a risk and they want to see how professional and how serious the writer is in selling the book after it is accepted for publication. This is when you will need to stop thinking like a writer and more like a marketing guru and consider campaigns (e.g., I have three continuous campaigns going and I’m not even selling a book: 1) getting new followers, 2) reaching current followers about my writing, 3) reaching current followers about me as a human being separate from my writing). It will also help to better inform the publisher and their marketing team so efforts won’t be duplicated down the line.
How long should it be?
The document can be 2-3 pages, but more won’t hurt, because it depends on how much work you will put into selling your book.
So, what exactly should be included?
Your social media followers (on all accounts and quantative data) and what campaigns (videos, gift giveaways, etc.) you will do to get them interested in you, as a brand, and your upcoming book. The more specific the better. Like campaign 1, description, how much money you will spend on it, how long it will run, and what regions you plan to run the marketing campaigns in.
Any bookstores you plan to go to after the book is published to give readings (include names of stores, web addresses, dates, etc.). You don’t necessarily need consent at this time from the stores, but you do need ideas. Also, you can include literary festivals (like the Hong Kong – Macau Literary Festival. I personally know two authors who traveled here to take part in the book festival and one lives in Canada and the other lives in Scotland, but both were nominated for the Booker Prize a few years ago).
You can include radio interviews (the more famous you are the easier this will be) and tv spots you can do (this is a nice time to call in favors if you have any from people in the television and radio industry), and articles or essays you plan to publish on topics relating to your book. This is usually when it is tied in to non-fiction, so fiction writers like us have a hard time in this area, but you can write short stories or essays based on topics and themes found in your book. My last book was about Tehran in the 1970’s and I could’ve written essays about current events relating to the political events that took place in Iran at that time. This is also a good time to know people in publishing to help get your essays published, because, as you might know, the publishing industry is incredibly slow.
Also, include if you plan to hire a publicist (I’d recommend doing so. I will for my next book) and what that might entail. This is a lot, and it’s only the beginning (I once emailed every book store in America before my last book came out), so you can get creative. Maybe book parties you will throw at your local schools, and talks you can give at churches or podcasts.
The main thing to think about is Promotion, Promotion, Promotion. You need to promote yourself (in both meanings of the word) and your book. Think of it as a plan over the next 1-2 years and how you want to accomplish that plan.