Marketing and the Small Press Author by Rebecca Jaycox

 On January 21, 2014, I signed with Rocking Horse Publishing, which is a small press based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, I was thrilled! I had spent seven and a half years writing and rewriting The Other Inheritance. I had shopped it around for a year, receiving frustrating comments from agents like, “clearly you’re a good writer, but I’m just not in love with your book.” So once I got the email from RHP, I actually cried—on the subway, in public. I thought the hardest part was over. Boy, was I wrong.

The hardest part comes when your book is actually out there, especially when you’re with a small press that just doesn’t have the funds to pay for publicity. And that’s not a problem that only indie authors have, that’s also a problem for first-time writers that sign with big publishing houses. The lion’s share of the marketing and publicity falls on your shoulders, and you’d better learn what to do and fast.

Twitter and I became BFFs. I learned how to use Facebook to my advantage, even thought it’s not really geared to a YA audience anymore. But guess what? 60% of YA readers are adults; so don’t abandon Facebook for Snapchat just yet (although I seriously need to get on there STAT along with Instagram). Go to all your favorite review blogs, and ask if they’ll review your book and if they can’t do that, see if you can do a guest blog or interview. You need to figure out social media. For me, it’s still a learning process but an absolutely necessary tool.

Join all the social media writing groups you can (or can manage), help support your fellow writers and they will respond in kind. Network people! I had a leg up; I am the creator and curator of the YA Lit series at 92nd Street Y. I got to meet major bestsellers and their publicists and get tips, make connections, and of course, talk about my upcoming book. That’s how I ended up doing my launch at Books of Wonder in NYC. They were my official bookseller for my series, and I used that connection to have a wonderful book signing. Make friends, y’all; you’re going to need them.

The other thing you have to do, and I know people hate to hear this, is to spend money. The old adage that you have to spend money to make money is absolutely true. You can generate a lot of sales by advertising through sites like The Fussy Librarian or Free Kindle Books and Tips. I’ll be completely honest; you probably won’t earn back the money you spend in royalties. But if no one knows your book exists, no one is going to buy it. For me it’s worth spending a little dough now to build an audience that, I hope, will keep growing.

All you authors and aspiring authors, learn how to market with the free tools and not-so-free tools you have available. Don’t expect that readers will just find your book. With all the competition out there, you have to make your book noticeable. It’s frustrating and hard work, but for me, totally worth it. 

The Other Inheritance
By Rebecca Jaycox

ISBN-10: 0990829537
Rocking Horse Publishing
Trade paper, 304 pgs.
November 14, 2014, $12.15

Also available in ebook formats

She touched the frog. Just once. It leaped into the air and hopped away, disappearing under the classroom desks. It had been awaiting its fate as a science experiment, fully dead, the stench of formaldehyde permeating the room . . . 

Seventeen-year-old Reggie has been having a tougher time than usual. As if dealing with her alcoholic mother and fighting school bullies isn’t enough, dead things keep coming back to life and this biker dude shows up in her dreams, babbling about magic and a world called the Other. 

Reggie’s life is changing, and she has no idea why. Or whether she should believe Rhys, the man in her dreams, who claims she’s in danger and that someone is coming to take her to a safer reality. 

And when Asher shows up, things really get crazy. 

Rebecca Jaycox's bio:

Rebecca Jaycox grew up in the tiny town of Berryman, which borders the Mark Twain National Forest and the Courtois River about 70 miles south of St. Louis. The beautiful landscape fed her imagination, and she began writing stories at age 10 and never stopped. Always seeking adventure, Rebecca moved to France after she graduated college with a journalism degree to teach English at a French high school.

Bitten by the travel bug, she has recently visited Italy, Greece, Austria, Spain, and finally made it to her bucket-list destination of Istanbul last summer. Rebecca now lives in New York City with her husband, Gregory. She is the curator and program director of the YA Lit Series at the 92nd Street Y—one of New York’s premier cultural centers. She enjoys reading and writing fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction. The Other Inheritance is her first novel.

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Your post is very sad, but also very true. The real work begins once you have that book in your hand and it never ends as long as you want it to sell. Enjoyed reading your thoughts. Marketing is a good skill to learn well.
Thonie Hevron said…
This post was so true as Jackie said. But I have to add that because I read this post, I discovered the FussyLibrarian. Now, I have one of my books featured in the coming weeks. Thanks Marilyn and Rebecca for this resource!
Rebecca Jaycox said…
Hi ladies! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post! It is sad but true, and quite frankly, marketing my book has become a second full-time job. I did a radio show earlier this week, and I'm looking for new sites to do paid promotions. The Fussy Librarian is a wonderful site because your book doesn't have to be on sale to be accepted. It's reasonable and the results are decent. Many sites only accept your book if it's deeply discounted.

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