By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine
Well of course he does, you think as you read the title. Wait...just hear me out. I know what's going through your mind, right now. You're saying, “Annette, John Grisham he has Doubleday and Penguin Random House behind him." Sure, so what?
Pay attention, y'all. Mimic the release of a seasoned author and see what you could do for your own books. Remember, John Grisham had a first book. It released before the age of the Internet and the existence of the social media venues at our disposal, today. Rejected by dozens of publishers, Wynwood Press (a tiny and now defunct publishing house) bought the manuscript and printed 5,000 books. 1,000 of which Grisham bought and drove on a southern book selling tour that he scheduled for himself. Sound familiar? Grisham said in interviews that he gave away his first book, A Time to Kill, to clients. He sold them out of the trunk of his car and used them as door stops. That was 1987. Now, fast forward to 2017.
John Grisham has brilliantly layered his exposure for the successful release of his 25th legal thriller. Here are some unique ideas he is using to entice readers. On his website you can read the first four chapters of his new book, The Rooster Bar. It's intriguing from the start. The story shines a light on the incredible amounts of student loan debt that for-profit law schools encourage their students to take out to pay the FP law school. These loans are owned by the very banks who, through various corporations, own eight for-profit law schools. The story spins from there in the voice only, John Grisham can write.
Grisham is doing a panel presentation in seven cities with various authors. He comes to River City (Memphis) tonight. The event is billed as "An Evening with John Grisham with special guest Memphis author, Hampton Sides." There will be a moderator with an exchange between the authors about their writing techniques and time for a questions and answers from the audience. Hampton Sides writes primarily non-fiction. It's a nice balance of fiction versus non-fiction authors. It will be an interesting perspective. It is not a book signing event. A purchased ticket includes a signed copy of his book The Rooster Bar. This is to be an evening to get to know the authors. The event in Memphis sold out quickly. Don't worry the event is being recorded and will be available via Podcast just like his latest non legal thriller, Camino Island similar book tour events.
The day before his book release, he was on Facebook Live being interviewed at a specific time. Of course, he pre-advertised on FaceBook that he would be doing a Live event. Questions streamed live and were asked of Grisham. Look at the setting, it would be easy to replicate. A table, the author, a computer with another person working the computer asking the questions is all you need. The backdrop was a bookshelf with books organized by color of books. Grisham's book was the only visible book in the center between the two men at the table. An easy fix would be to reverse all the books in your own bookcase as the background so only white pages showed except, of course, for your book. A friend could moderate on the computer the streaming questions from Facebook, and you could have a list of questions to answer in the event you need them.
Prior to all that Grisham is doing the week of his book release, he did pre-release offers on Facebook. He gave away 10 galley copies of his book, prior to its release. He timed that for the first week in October with his book releasing on October 24.
I picked up my signed copies on the release date at Burke's Book Store in Memphis and was delighted to see a marketing giveaway that came with the book purchase. It was unique and a direct tie to the book title.
What was it? No, not a bookmark but I'll use mine as one. The name of the book is The Rooster Bar. Any guesses? It's a bar coaster. Well done, John Grisham. Don't you just love it?
Does this give you some ideas for promoting your books?