Bottom is not the place to be on the learning curve, but that’s where I found myself. I’m betting you’ve experienced it, too – unless you’re famous and have a giant publisher. This is how I’ve made progress in marketing my wife, Loyd Kinnett’s book, Beyond the Affair: The Healing of a Marriage. Loyd and I are strongly motivated by our intention to have as many people as possible know there is an alternative to separation and divorce in the face of betrayal. In this case it was me, but it is just as likely the wife – fifty percent of all marriages are affected by infidelity. We also hope the book will build Loyd’s personal coaching practice and our relationship skills workshops for couples – both of which we love doing.
We fortunately got the endorsement of a person of renown, Desmond Tutu, whom we met at a church conference. It’s on the back cover. A strong purpose will overcome your fear. Have courage, take heart! Send your manuscript with a short note to as many well-known people as you can afford, who might have an interest in your subject. Ask them to read it, and comment on it and allow you to use their comment. The worst that can happen is no answer or a “no” answer. You won’t die from rejection – it’s not about you personally. Although I’ll admit I feel a brief sting on turn-downs at first.
How we got 58 bookstores to carry Loyd’s book:
+ Find support. The Western North Carolina Writers’ Guild members have freely given us of their experience.
+ Do your homework. Read M. J. Rose & Angela Adair-Hoy, How to Publish and Promote Online; Dan Poynter’s The Self-Publishing Manual and Jason Epstein’s Book Business. These flesh out much of what I say below.
+ Promote your book with enthusiasm! If you can’t, forget marketing. The sizzle (your enthusiasm) sells more than the steak (content) although there’s no sizzle without a good steak. If you’re a vegetarian, substitute rose and aroma.
+ Have a long and short form News Release
+ Start in your area – a simple way to learn what you can duplicate elsewhere with confidence. Next, increase your reach to places within a two-hour drive, farther away later. Take your books everywhere you go. We started with independents then learned Borders Books is friendly to new authors. Ask them to apply for a BINC#. That makes it easier to get into their stores you can’t personally visit.
+ Visit bookstores personally. Call for appointments, speaking with the manager or owner – the decision maker, not someone else. After they buy your books, set a date for a reading and signing, allowing two or three weeks for the bookstore to get publicity for your signing. Be conscious of their time – be brief. Same for libraries that’ll buy your book. Every store we’ve visited has bought books. TIP: Bookstores tend to buy as many books as you carry under your arm. Loyd can now carry ten gracefully!
+ Get publicity from local papers, usually around a reading and signing. They want local tie-ins. Meet personally with the Features or Book Review Editor. Same for radio and TV interviews. Advertising is a waste of money, whereas people respond to articles and interviews.
+ Use invoices. Your word processor works fine. Fill it out on the spot, and get the “Received by” line initialed. Ask them to photocopy it or write out a copy for them. Keep records. We use Quicken Home and Business 2002 for accounts receivable, personal and business income and expenses and ACT! 2002 for our database for follow-up reminders and categorizing. Examples: Independent Bookstores, Chain Bookstores, Media & Reviewers, Schedulers (of signings), Prospects.
+ Use your sphere of influence. Our book is about forgiveness and I am an Episcopal priest. We’ve found local church and Christian bookstores very receptive. Write for prepublication reviews. You can choose any date as ‘Publication Date’ for prepublication submissions even if your book has already been published.. See page 173 of Poynter’s The Self-Publishing Manual or your library’s The Literary Market Place.
+ Start a website and list it with search engines.
+ Contact national TV interview shows. They need guests. Watch them to learn how to apply. If you get on Oprah tell us your secret 🙂
Ken and Loyd Kinnett formed Kinnett Partners, LLC six years ago to teach relationship skills to couples, one at a time, at their N.C. mountain top home, Mariposa, Spanish for butterfly, a symbol of transformation. They also do seminars for small groups on relationship skills in churches, not-for- profits and small businesses. The workshops come out of what they learned in rebuilding and transforming their marriage after Loyd discovered Ken’s affair seven years ago. Her personal, emotional and spiritual journal through this is detailed in Beyond the Affair: The Healing of a Marriage. The Kennett’s have been married forty-five years, have three grown children and are expecting their first grandchild.
Ken is a graduate of The University of the South, “Sewanee,” Sewanee TN with a BA. He returned ten years later after a stint in the Air Force and a successful career in the insurance business as co-owner of an agency. He earned his Master of Divinity in 1969, served as a hospital chaplain, parish priest serving Episcopal churches, and a counselor as a member of the American Assn of Pastoral Counselors. He and Loyd have worked with Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity in Calcutta. The vision of Kinnett Partners is to build, in partnership with others, a world in which people treat and honor one another and the Earth as worthwhile and deserving of love and respect. Ken is active in United Religions Initiative, representing sixty religions, indigenous traditions and spiritual paths in fifty-eight countries. Their purpose is “to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.” This is done by autonomous local groups. See www.uri.org for more.