Book Marketing, Part 1

[Apologies for the drought in postings this past week. I was on the road, and I’m not accomplished enough yet to compose and upload from my smartphone. This will happen one more time in May, but then the summer looms wordy.]


Book marketing is an area of unlimited angles. I’ve decided to start a thread devoted to it. Thus the title Book Marketing, Part 1.

Book marketing is practically as multifaceted as the books being marketed. I just read this headline in the e-newsletter Publishers Lunch Deluxe: “Progress: Sarah Dessen will dispense three flavors of Whoopie Pies from truck at BEA.” BEA stands for Book Expo America, and it’s a yearly event that tries to bring everyone on earth together who has anything to do with books. We’re talking—and I’m sure this list is not exhaustive—authors, readers, publishers, printers, booksellers, book distributors, publicists, agents, IP (intellectual property) lawyers, and rights negotiators—who may also be authors or publicists or agents or lawyers or publishers.

Back to Sarah Dessen, our Whoopie Pie dispenser of the day. She is a YA (young adult) book author, with her most recent What Happened to Goodbye, published this month by Penguin Young Readers Group. I don’t know, but I suspect Whoopie Pies are not a topic in What Happened to Goodbye. Since that is her eleventh novel, Sarah Dessen is a brand in herself and that makes her a perfect fit for dispensing sweets associated with teenagers to grownups who never completely overcame the addiction. It’s the grownups who will consign or buy Dessen’s books to make sure they’re available to the teens, or to their parents for gifting to them. Even if I’m wrong, and Whoopie Pies are somehow associated with a particular character in the book, that just makes the marketing even more persuasive than I already thought it was.

Anyway, my point is, this gig at BEA is brilliant marketing, and I make it my good example number one. I will comment on other good examples as time goes on, when I’m struck by them in the book news I read. By the way, the three flavors Dessen will be dispensing are red velvet, chocolate, and a customized “Sarah’s Strawberry Surprise.” I wonder what the surprise is …?

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