Where should your book be reviewed? What literary journals and magazines should you submit excerpts or adaptations to? Which bookstore events will be worth your while? Are there podcasts or radio interviews you should book to promote your new release? These and other questions you may have when you begin to put together a marketing strategy are not easy to answer.
Studying your comp titles can help. If you are preparing a book proposal, you will need to put together a list of comparable or competitive titles. These are books that are similar to yours in that they are competing for the same readers. And these authors have successfully found their audiences so it behooves you to study their efforts.
Start by looking at the comp titles’ product pages on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. You’ll notice there will be short excerpts from reviews and blurbs from those who have endorsed the book. This will help you grow a list of places where you might get your book reviewed. While publishers may send out advance review copies to Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, or Shelf Awareness, they need you to tell them where else galleys should be sent. If you are writing for children or young adults, should your book be reviewed at The Horn Book? School Library Journal? Where else? See where the books on your comp title list have been reviewed. If you’re a female author with a book that interests women readers, do you see your comp titles list a review from Story Circle Book Reviews? There is no one place to find a list of where to submit your book for a review. You’ll need to figure out which venues are the most appropriate for your specific title. If you’re writing nonfiction, there may be academic journals or professional trade magazines which review new books. Books that are similar to yours may have been reviewed in such publications.
Go to the websites of authors who have published similar books. Take a look at theirs to get some ideas for your own. See how the competition is using social media and what they blog about. What do the authors have on their website? Study how they have created an online presence to promote their books. Look on their navigation bar for tabs that say news and reviews. See where their work has been reviewed. Then search for these venues to see if your work would be suitable to submit for a review.
You will also find on author’s websites information about their book events, new stories, and reviews. You’ll get plenty of ideas about where you might schedule an event, guest lecture, or book signing by studying your competitors. And see who has interviewed these authors on podcasts or radio. You’ll have to do some more digging to find out if each of these places might be right for your work, but you’ll get lots of new ideas for your marketing plan.
Another strategy is to do a Google search of the author and title of your comps. You can go through several pages of search results to gather leads for marketing opportunities. Do the same on Twitter. Use the search bar to look for who is talking about your comp titles or the subject of your book. You’ll find book clubs, associations, organizations, conferences, book fairs and festivals. You can learn so much from those who have walked in front of you on the path to publication success.
One thought on “How Studying Comp Titles Can Help You Develop a Marketing Plan”
Excellent advice, Jill! I wish I had known some of this before, but it’s useful information even after the launch. And something I can apply out here in Germany!