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Ask and You Shall Receive. (Or at least ask and you shall know.)

photo by Bilal Kamoon

So you are having that first marketing meeting with your publisher for your book… or that first phone call. Is there anything you should be asking in particular? Should you push for anything specifically?

If this is the first call? You want to hear their plans. Then you and your agent should go over what they said and translate it – there can be code in their answers. Ask them what they are planning on doing and listen and take notes. When they say something like – We’re doing Goodreads- ask them to be specific and write down what they say.

Chances are the first call/meeting will be more than several months pre-pub. So lots of info won’t be available yet. They wait to decide some things till they get a sense of orders. But you still want to find out as much as you can. Just remember it is only the first call/meeting. There should be another before the ARCs are sent out. At that point they’ll know more. And then there should be yet one more once they have a sense of how those orders are looking.

At every stage there’s more you can find out and more you need to know. And at every stage you and your agent should be working on and refining a wish list of marketing and PR opportunities/efforts. To do that you’ll want to get a lot of questions answered so you can see if there are any holes and figure out if you need to bring in any outside services or if everything looks good.

Also all this knowledge helps you manage your expectations and that’s half the battle when it comes to having a good publishing experience. If you know going in that they are happy to be publishing you but aren’t giving your book the “it” treatment, you’ll be happy when you go back to press for a second printing. But if you have no idea how they see your book and are anticipating it getting “Gone Girl” PR, marketing and co-op treatment, you’ll be devastated when you don’t see stacks of books in B&N.

Here’s a checklist of what you want to find out to help you figure out what they are doing, what they aren’t, where your book ranks in terms in terms of effort and juice, and what you should be thinking about doing yourself.

Overall your goal is to get as much information as you can so that you and your agent can figure out what’s good, what’s bad, what’s missing and what you need to do to shore up your book.  And if you ever want to talk to me about figuring out a plan to add to what they are doing – feel free to write me at AuthorBuzzCo@gmail.com.

About M.J. Rose [2]

M.J. Rose [3] is the international and NYT's bestselling author of several novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. In 2005 she founded the first marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz [4], and is the co-founder of BookTrib [5] and Peroozal [6]. She's a founding member of ITW.