Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book launch grunt work

It's been a busy few weeks. I might have said this before, but when you write a book, the hard part starts when it's in print and on Amazon. This time, I'm working with Summertime publishing, a publisher with many contacts in the expat world. That's great as it means the books gets exposure in far flung places where I know no one.

However, unless you're on the top ten best sellers list, every writer knows that you have to do a lot of your own PR. In my case, because I've written a book for international students interested in studying in the USA, that would mean contacting high schools all over the world. No really! Kids, families and teachers from Australia to Madagascar, Brazil to Norway are my target audience and since most of their daily newspapers aren't interested in my little book, I have to get to them directly.

To do this I usually find a list of high school somewhere on the web (Wikipedia has been great for this), and then I start writing. Obviously the body of the e-mail is the same - describing the book, listing the chapters, and giving links to the Amazon page and my author web site where there's a free download of the Intro and Chapter One. I like to send a more personalized e-mail if I can, which means going to the school's web site, finding out the name of the head/principal or the college advisor, and addressing them by name. As you can imagine, this takes some time.

Last week I hit Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday, Japan and Singapore on Wednesday. In-laws arrived on Thursday so I only managed to do some African countries, Germany and Austria, then yesterday I got side-tracked and started on the international clubs in the Middle East and the UK. (Trying to be more methodical in my approach, but I am writing everything down.)

By the time I've trawl through each web site and edit the standard e-mail, I can maybe hit thirty schools per hour. If I tell you I've sent out about 450 e-mails already, you'll get an idea of the "work" I'm talking about that comes once the book is out. Still.... I have had several enquiries about placing orders, and the book is having to be re-stocked on Amazon, so something's working.

Zzzzzz. (That's the sound of me, ten seconds after my head hits the pillow!)


  1. Wow! You think once you've written the book and got a publisher you're all home and hosed! This is like a full time career ...and you already have one. Good on you for getting two books under your belt. What about The Times education section (doesn't all the papers do an education section, maybe its at the beginning of summer - they would love your insights.

  2. ALW - I did an interview with a GUardian Education writer a few months ago and that's due to come out. I was also on BBC Radio Newcastle and they did a great job of plugging the book - especially since I completely forgot to mention it!
    have approached quite a few others so will wait and see. Gotta keep trying no matter how many "non-replies" I get. Pah!

  3. I had no idea it was such a slog. Fingers crossed you get some results from the emails, you deserve it x

  4. Oh, I'm so glad you wrote this - I absolutely will forward this to the counsel(l)ing office at #2's school here in Seoul. Most of the students are foreign passport holders (eg, not Korean) but many/most of them will go to Uni in the US. I had meant to send a link to them back when you first mentioned the book, but it all got lost in the shuffle of summer and Home Leave. I'll do it today!

  5. Wow, that sounds like work! Next time, write a novel ;)

  6. MsC - Thank you. There's a free download at my web site of the Intro and First Chapter for anyone who is interested.

    Mike- I have very little imagination, so a novel would be a bit like the proverbial snowflake in hell.

  7. I forwarded the links to #2's school counselor, who had not heard of it and was very appreciative. Hopefully it won't drop off his radar in the bustle of back-to-school. Make sure you have Seoul Foreign School on your e-mail list!

  8. It sounds like you're doing a great (full-time) job promoting the book- well done! You're absolutely right that there is a pressing need for this book in expat communities - here in Dubai, so many of the teenagers head to the States to study and I've always wondered how they (and their mothers) navigate the whole system. I'm sending the links now to my friend who is just starting a careers advisory job and will be helping expat kids fill in all the forms...and also, I will plug it on my Circles in the Sand Facebook page. Do include Dubai on your email list- honestly, i can count numerous friends who will be so pleased to see this! Keep up the good work and well done again! Marianne

  9. Hi - am sure you have contacted them but the Sydney Morning Herald has an education section - - definitely worth an email. Also various schools here club together for American information evenings, will try and find out who organises them and send you a link.

    Congratulations on having the finished article - what an achievement.

    Just Another Day in Sydney


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