I work with lots of authors who self publish as well as authors who are published with small presses or publishers abroad unfamiliar with the Irish system – in every case I find myself talking about their book’s AI – the Advance Information sheet that is the key tool for marketing any book.
The Advance information sheet goes out with every hard copy of a book sent to reviewers (usually at least 8 weeks in advance of publication), it is the key data sheet that is sent to distributors and to the media – to everyone in fact who needs information about your book. You should develop slightly different versions of this document to send to festivals (are you an experienced public speaker?) or the press. If you are using it as a PR tool, the ISBN isn’t as important as author contact information and a line on whether you are available for interview or for written pieces. Ideally fit everything onto a single side of A4 but if it’s crammed, go to two sides – NEVER any more!
Work on your bio to keep it succinct – I always suggest to the authors that they perfect a 50 word and a 100 word bio for use in various places. Include your twitter and website details where appropriate (and if you don’t have a website, join Writing.ie as an author member and your page will act in the same way – if someone needs to find you to speak at their book club you’ll pop up in a Google search). Sam Blake has a brand new website – www.samblakebooks.com, just launched, do take a look!
Also think about a shout line for your book – what makes it unique?
AI’s take different formats, sometimes include a (good!) photograph of the author but should always include:
- Author name
- Book title
- Cover image
- Publication date & format – trade paperback/paperback/ebook
- Author bio
- Contact information
Here’s my AI for Little Bones which will be hitting the book shelves in exactly 7 days on May 17….I write crime as Sam Blake, and this AI details the rights available for Little Bones and my agent’s details, so if anyone wanting Indian or Swedish rights is reading this, you know who to get in touch with! Little Bones is published by Bonnier’s fiction imprint Twenty7.
If you need help or advice on the whole book marketing process, Adrian White has recently joined the Inkwell team (the one-to-one arm of Writing.ie where you can get professional advice and guidance on every aspect of your book) and has extensive experience working with major publishers, self publishing, and of the book trade as a whole as he has spent years as a bookseller. Contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with him.
(c) Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin