Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Marketing Plan

Now that it has finally sunk in that I am indeed a published novelist, it's time to crank up the volume on my marketing campaign.

I actually put together a 10+ page "marketing plan," but I realize that 95% of what's in it is not really actionable. What I need to do is "pick one and get it done." Here is what is underway and upcoming.

(The two biggest breaks I've had I can't really take credit for.)

1) Oak Tree Publisher Billie Johnson's excellent sell sheet and Jeana Thompson's targetted mailings got me an interview in my local paper, The Milford Daily News. 

2) Reporter Jessica Trufant's well-written article caught the eye of the Associated Press, and the story was immediately picked up by the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe.

(This good fortune gave me a chance to apply a little elbow grease....)

3) Since the story is set in New Mexico, I emailed all the Arts and Entertainment editors at all the major (and kind of minor) New Mexico papers with a link to the original story, telling them it was on the wire and that their readers might be interested. So far about 25 papers have run the story.

4) I have a website (, a blog (, a Facebook fan page ( and a Twitter account (@jasonrhunt), but I really need to invest more time in them. (A Chinese exchange student who lived with us 10 years ago emailed to tell me my site looked like it was from the 1960s! I didn't have the heart to tell him there was no Internet in the 1960s. :-)

(Now here's where my plan gets a little...interesting.)

5) Being a songwriter, I wrote a theme song for the book. The lyrics are on the OTP blog ( and I will soon put up a video of the song on YouTube. (Caveat: I am CONSTANTLY calling the book A Midsummer Night's Dream instead of A Midsummer Night's Gunfight. :-)

6) My son and I play guitar and sing, and we have official "busker's licenses" that let us perform on the streets of Boston and Cambridge, so we are going to literally "take to the streets" to play music (throw in lots of old gunfighter songs) and see if we can drum up some interest in the book. He refuses to wear a teeshirt with a picture of the cover, so maybe I'll do a sandwich board.

7) I am going to try to get more newspaper coverage out of the last item since a dad and his son who are street performers trying to sell the dad's first book has GOT to be interesting to some one! :-)

8) which brings me to "angles." I keep trying to think of angles, things that make my story weird and different enough to be news worthy. I am already trying to milk the old songwriter angle. (It helps that I bought my first pair of cowboy boots from Garth Brooks. That was a lucky purchase despite the fact the boots were always a little tight and didn't stretch the way Garth promised they would.)

9) I wrote a lot of the book while riding the commuter rail back and forth to Boston, so I will try to push the "wrote the book on the train" angle. I am currently negotiating a book signing in South Station.

10) Although it pains me to do so, I am also going to try to exploit the "It took me all these years to finally get a book published" angle. Lots of stories published, but until now no novels.

11) And I have a list of additional possibilities -- many of them from author and acquisitions editor Sunny Frazier and her posse -- that goes on for pages!

Key for me, though, will be getting out of the thinking stage and just plain doing stuff. Gen. George Patton said, "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." I would go further to say "Even a half-baked, kind of crappy plan will always trump doing nothing."

That's the strategy for now. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. :-)

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