When Terry McMillan’s first novel Mama was published in 1987, her publisher only sent out press releases and review copies — their standard low-level effort for first-time authors. So Terry took the promotion into her own hands.
She wrote more than 3,000 letters to bookstores, colleges, chain stores, African-American groups, and other groups asking them to stock and/or promote her book. She offered to do readings wherever they would give her space.
The response was so great that she ended up doing her own book tour to 39 cities. Her efforts gained plenty of rave reviews for her book as well as two re-printings in six weeks.
This story has been excerpted from About the Author by Alfred Grossbrenner and Emily Grossbrenner
I received the same question twice in 15 hours (once here and once on Facebook): How could this work for ebooks in today’s market?
My answer: Absolutely, it would work with ebooks, but instead of sending 3,000 letters to bookstores and organizations, you would send 3,000 emails or letters to online book sites, ebook reviewers, book bloggers, potential JV partners, other authors who write books like yours.
The key point of this story is not who she sent the letters to, but how many she sent. It’s a numbers game, and few book authors or even Internet entrepreneurs make full use of the numbers game.
First rule: The Numbers Game. Second rule: Create relationships around the people who respond. Build from there.
Also check out: The Mama Bestseller Video