Author Emil DeAndreis will join us next week to discuss “Hard To Grip” – a memoir about his experience finding new meaning in life after his promising professional baseball career was derailed by rheumatoid arthritis. We interviewed Emil to learn more about his experience marketing and promoting his books.
Emil will be at AM:PM PR on Wednesday, August 9th at 6 p.m. (2006 SE Clinton Street). You can RSVP at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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How did your baseball experience prepare you for your author experience?
In general as a baseball player you experience plenty of rejection. From that rejection, you learn that if you don’t push through, the world will keep spinning without you. So there is a level of resilience and tenacity learned as a baseball player that has helped me as an author. You don’t become an author without being rejected hundreds of times.
Is this your first time marketing yourself as an author?
I marketed myself for my first book, Beyond Folly. The book was smaller in all aspects, from page number to print run to publisher. So I had a bit of experience crafting emails to reviewers in hopes of generating buzz, preparing elevator-pitch-like synopses of the book to show why it was worth someone’s time. I wouldn’t say I enjoy marketing myself, but I do take solace in the fact that this is an essential part of being an author. How else will people learn about the book, the story, if I don’t push the information into their lap?
What’s it like marketing a book in 2017?
There is a lot of sitting on the couch, sending emails, gently nudging people with reminders, asking somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody to introduce us via email. I’m always looking for people who might be interested in the book. People on widely followed podcasts, people on social media with audiences relevant to the topic of my book.
What are some marketing tactics that have worked well for you?
A lot of people, especially journalists and authors in the sports world have been really generous with their time, and their connections. They’ve also been very complimentary about the book for its authenticity to the game of baseball. I’ve been very fortunate to be put in touch with prominent figures in the baseball world and have wound up with some great blurbs that have helped legitimize the book and put it on the map.
What marketing tactics have fallen flat?
I’ve found it to be really hard to get big book reviewers (or just any book reviewers, for that matter) to review a book from an indie press. It’s no knock on the book reviews; hundreds of books come out a week and there isn’t enough time to read them all. Books from the big 5 publishing houses get more attention, and so even if you have a great book, or a book that is regionally pertinent to a certain book review, there’s a good chance it will be left unread.
What role has social media played in promoting your book?
It’s been really helpful. I am by no means a social media guru, and I’m sure there is a lot more I could be doing on it, but being able to reach big time names in the sports world has helped my book reach wider audiences. Hashtags have also helped me penetrate markets that would otherwise have a hard time reaching.
What role did your publisher play in promoting the book?
My publisher has been very committed to this project since the beginning. I was set up with a marketing team as well as a radio agent, which took some of the weight off of me. It’s nice to have people behind you whose job it is to get your book in people’s hands. My publisher has been in the business a long time and has some good connections that have helped open doors. He is persistent and committed but patient.
What have you learned from this experience that you will apply to the next book release?
I want to investigate those authors who’ve marketed themselves into selling hundreds of thousands of copies of their books on their own. I’m sure there is a more efficient way for me to use my time when marketing my book, and I’d love to encounter it.
After your book is no longer “new” and conceivably newsworthy, how do you plan to continue marketing your book?
There are still markets and people to tap who are more interested in the story than the newness. One year (which seems to be the unofficial shelf life of a book) isn’t long enough to contact everyone–journalists, radio hosts, podcasts, ex-athletes, popular doctors, etc– who might be interested in your book, and sharing it to their audience.
What advice would you offer someone preparing to market their book for the first time?
So many people will say no. Don’ take it personally, as challenging as that may be. Be very thankful to those who say yes.