Unbelievable as it may sound, but an incredibly lucky novelist by the name of James Hayman had his first book published by a major New York publishing house. St. Martin's Minotaur, in not one but a two book deal, made The Cutting their lead title for July 2009.
To begin the book campaign, they assigned a staff publicity person to help promote it. In the month before publication, Minotaur sent nearly two thousand advance reader copies out to reviewers, bookstore owners and other key influencers. This certainly paid off because The Cutting was named to the American Booksellers Association IndieNext list for July and was named a pick of the week by the Boston Globe. He also got reviewed by a half a dozen online reviewers as well the two major newspapers in his home state of Maine (The Bangor Daily News and The Portland Press Herald) and one in the near neighboring state of Rhode Island. He was featured on a major interview show called 207 that follows the evening news with Brian Williams on his local (Portland, Maine) NBC affiliate and appeared on a debut authors panel moderated by best selling thriller writer David Baldacci at ThrillerFest 2009 in New York. He also had successful readings and signings at bookstores in Maine and a few elsewhere. I’ll be appearing on a panel at CrimeBake New England in November.
Not bad for a debut author, don't you think? But he didn't stop there. James knew it would take a lot on his part to keep the book moving.
"While it all helped, and The Cutting is doing pretty well," he says, "it still wasn’t nearly enough for the book to really break out and head for best-sellerdom. And the St. Martin’s publicity folks had other authors to help."
It became apparent that the gods of commercial success in book publishing would help those who helped themselves. It was then he knew it was up to him to push the book further.
"I looked into hiring my own book publicist," he says. "But that was way too expensive. I was on my own.
"The first step was a good website with a blog. www.jameshaymanthrillers.com. I got that finished even before the book came out on June 23rd. The second step was a Facebook fan page for The Cutting. I got that done about a couple of months ago. To take a look, just log onto Facebook and put The Cutting in the little search box on the upper right. I’ve got about eight hundred fans on the page and would be delighted if you want to add your name to the list.
"One of the great benefits of Facebook is that it is a classic viral marketing tool. Viral as in virus. One Facebook fan catches the excitement for your book from another. Every time you post something on the fan page and one of your fans likes it or comments on it their comment goes to all their Facebook friends who can then click on it and be taken to my Fan page. Try it. It works.
"I also did spend a little money running an ad for The Cutting on Facebook. You only pay for the people who click on your ad so its pretty efficient advertising and it seems to have worked pretty well so far.
"The next step was to get more reviews from online reviewers and guest posts on other people’s blogs. For that I turned to Dorothy Thompson’s Pump Up Your Book. She arranged a virtual book tour for me that started October first and ran through the end of November last year. I am on virtual book tour again with Pump Up Your Book in March of this year.
"If your book is a good one the best way to promote it is word of mouth. Or word of blog. Get your book into as many hands as possible both online and off. If readers and reviewers like it they'll tell others all about it. The more people talk about it the more copies you'll sell."