11.15.2004

I think we should all do those reader reviews for our books on Amazon and BN.com, and books a million or wherever else, for each other.
No one, not even my mom! has done mine:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1876857951/qid=1100371772/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-4787905-6875101?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
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I would add that there's probably some demand for "how to put together a press kit" and "how to book a tour" type information here or on a site. While I know relatively little, I'm willing to chip in my 2 cents.
Your press kit needs to have a press release that has enough in it to lift out as a review or review-like item for newspapers.
You need separate press kits and sets of marketing materials for 1) booksellers, 2) course adoptions, 3) general public, 4) editors, 5) readings curators. For the general public, you have to reach them three different ways.
Something in the kits should be in color -- whether it is off prints of the cover, your one-pager that Jeffrey was talking about, or postcards --
and those postcards. They should be the large, costs 37 cents postcards, not the small ones (mistake I made last time). Do a mailing for each appearance. 100 per. If you can (if the bookstore will do it, if the reading's in a bookstore), mail 100 to the bookstore to put next to your book on display.
A good rule of thumb for books to give away to reviewers, curators, former teachers, future blurbers, etc. is 100. A well-known, well published female poet with a tenure track teaching position I know of has a book come out each year. Her last publisher published her book for her marketing "list" essentially -- for the marketing / profile having her would add to their list. She asked the publisher to send out *250* copies of the book. They ended up sending about 150, I think. With personal letters written on her behalf.
I've bought 200 copies of my first book thus far. There was no way to buy returns. I think I sold about 50 of them and used about 50 for applications to prizes, teaching job applications for schools which didn't return them (MLA schools are forced to, AWP -- forget about seeing your book or your SASE ever again). Used 50 for book swapping. I gave away at least 100. I also gave out about 250 .pdfs and 100 CDs of the songs I quote. I have gotten lots of interviews and reviews, but mostly online. 250 copies of the book have sold thus far (for a total of 500). This is above average sales for the first year for an experimental poetry book, I hear, but not enough yet to be a "best seller" for my publisher. I am about to do the first course adoptions mailing. In a sense the prizes are about right -- with travel to readings, etc., it costs a poet at least $2500. to support a book, above all of the money the publisher pays. I've easily spent double that, and I cancelled a UK leg of the tour, with poetry festivals and all, because I just couldn't justify the cost to myself, which would have become in the five figures. That's like a car.
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WOMPO's got a few sites that've stopped and started, including this one, which even has an old list of favorite books, I think:
http://www.catherinedaly.info/A555F0/wompo.nsf
It is a Lotus Notes database and I set it up in such a way that members could log in and update their stuff. But, you know, no one did, and I ran out of the time to take introductions off the list and put them in the site after about a year. I think that's what happened with the WOMPO site with the pretty front end, here, too, right?:
http://unixgen.muohio.edu/~wompo/ogn.cgi
which links to a short list of WOMPO books on someone else's site.
The deal is that unless there's a student intern charged with this and making at least minimum wage, maintenance doesn't happen. And it is maintenance which makes a website, and maintenance which is really dull, involves no advanced skills, and takes a load of time.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a site like epc for women's poetry? But they have a list moderator, a project manager (Loss P. G.) and student interns. HOW2 is doing what they can, but it is really a different animal (online journal).

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