I just finished reading two more gay books that were the antithesis of each other. Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate by Justin Lee is about his journey from a fundamentalist Baptist background to acceptance of himself as a gay Christian. The other was American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Sex, Love, and Politics by Sex Advice Columnist Dan Savage who is legally married to a gay partner, has been in a relationship for 18 years, and has a 15-year-old adopted son. He is virulently anti-religion even though he was raised in a very strict Catholic home. I won’t give a review of these books since I have written lengthy ones on Goodreads if you’re interested.
These books (and the one that I reviewed by Jeff Chu) are mainstream books and not from the gay press. Dan Savage has written five previous books and is editor of The Stranger, Seattle’s weekly newspaper and has become something of an outspoken gay media star. Justin is the director of the organization and the web site http://www.gaychristian.com He has a podcast and a regular weekly radio show. In other words, they each have a strong platform even though they are directed to very different audiences, and they both went through a traditional publisher who helps in getting pre-publication reviews.
When publishers used to inquire about the platform of a prospective author, they wanted to know if he or she was a public speaker, what other books they had written, in what subjects were they considered experts, would they be willing to tour, etc. Now it’s how many Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest followers do you have? Are you on YouTube, and do you have a website, a blog, and a podcast? If you are writing non-fiction, what is you niche (genre) and what is your hook? If you’re self-published on Kindle, how many free downloads and reviews do you have? Amazon ranks your book not only on sales but also on the number and ratings of your reviews. Guy Kawasaki self-published his latest book, but only after he had become dissatisfied with the royalties and promotions of his traditional publisher. He still used a traditional book publicist in addition to his website and blog, and of course he is a well-known public figure.
Book marketing and promotion is a complicated, time-consuming, and expensive process. In 2010 Jay Conrad Levinson Michael Larsen, and Rich Frishman updated the decade-old Guerilla Marketing for Writers: 100 Low-Cost, No-Cost Weapons for Selling Your Work. This book is not focused specifically on books and includes ideas for freelance magazine writers. Media Bistro and Publisher’s Weekly are the trade publications/web sites. The Australian writer Joanna Penn has an interesting web site and blog: www.thecreativepenn.com You can find dozens of book marketing/publicists, tips, websites, etc. Take a look at www.bookmarket.com