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Swoon Reads Behind the Scenes: Trade Marketing

So, you’re a debut author, and you’re wondering how in the world the rest of the world will find out about your little book, since it was written by you, someone no one has ever even heard of? 

Well, new writer, that’s what marketing is all about.

I’ve worked in book marketing for the last 5 years. I started out marketing adult books across a ton of different genres: Sci-fi/Fantasy, Commercial Fiction, Diet and Cookbooks, Celebrity memoirs, and of course Romance. Next, I marketed Romance exclusively; mostly mass market (you know, the thick little paperbacks you see at the grocery store and airport) but a few big name authors who were still publishing in hardcover, too. Then, after a couple of years, I moved to books for teens and kids, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Here at Swoon, that’s what I do: I make sure the world knows about all of our awesome new books. Specifically, because I work in trade marketing, I focus mostly on getting the word out to people “on the trade side” (i.e. people in the book business). This includes our sales team (the smart people who sell our books to bookstores), the bookstores themselves (brick-and-mortar and online retailers), industry big mouths, and more. I also do consumer-facing marketing, which includes things like contests, sweepstakes, mailings, and third-party promotions where we team up with a company or an organization that is a good fit for a specific title to do something fun (like a giveaway of some kind).

That was a lot of information, so let me give you a real-world example:

Step 1: Yay! You wrote a book and Swoon Reads has selected it for publication!

Step 2: While editorial is busy working with you to edit and make your book as good as it can possibly be, marketing starts brainstorming.

Step 3: We come up with a marketing plan that starts before the book is even on sale. Our plan can include things like including the book in a mailing to all the top book stores that sell YA's best, or doing a contest on social media to get people excited. We might release an e-teaser to start consumers talking about it, or reach out to book clubs if we think that’s a good fit. Marketing plans vary widely—it all depends on what’s best for a book.

Step 4: We present the plan to Sales and they tell us what they think.

Step 5: We present the plan to Editorial and they tell us what they think.

Step 6: If we need to make changes to the plan, we make changes.

Step 7: We get to work!

That’s pretty much it. Of course this is just a simple example, but what I love about marketing is that it is so collaborative and you get to do different things every day. There’s lots of room for creativity, and it’s always fun trying to think outside of the box and come up with a fun, new promotion for a book that you love. 

Want to learn more about the publishing process? Check out the other entries in our Swoon Reads Behind the Scenes series:

– Managing Editorial

– Publicity

Advertising and Promotion

– Digital Marketing

– Social Media

– School & Library Marketing

Every weekday in November, we’ll be including a super special writing prompt at the end of all our blog posts! Check out today’s:

Prompt 11.24

Author spotlight

Ashley W.

Even though I work in marketing, I’m a consumer in every sense of the word: I love shopping, indie movies, …

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