How to Announce Your Book to Readers

How to announce a book deal to your readers

But first, the publishing stories worth reading this week:

How to Use Guest Blogging to Promote Your Book (Beth Hayden on JaneFriedman.com): This is a great all-in-one post on why writers should be guest blogging and how they can go about doing it, with an easy step-by-step process to follow. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll find it’s not as intimidating as it seems!

Not Enough Hours: Marketing Priorities for the Author Without a Team (Chad Cannon): “So what about the author without a team? I often hear frustrations and concerns from authors who want to market their books well, but who feel there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to hit all the ‘perfect marketing plan’ check boxes.”

‘You May Also Like’ and ‘Pretentiousness: Why It Matters’ (Jennifer Szalai for The New York Times): “The word ‘tasteful’ can, like its well-bred cousins ‘refined’ and ‘agreeable,’ function as either compliment or insult, depending on the thing it’s modifying and the person who’s doling it out. Does the thought of spending a day in tasteful company sound enjoyable or unbearable? Would you want to see a tasteful movie? Hear a tasteful joke? Do you think a professional critic should be tasteful? Does ‘tasteful’ entail a cultivated aesthetic, one arrived at through formidable powers of judgment and discernment, or a contrived affectation that degenerates into an automaton-like weakness for bamboo cheese boards and artisanal-coffee-shop playlists?”

The Powerful Case for Developing Your Fiction Writing Platform (Emily Wenstrom on The Write Life): “Your author ambitions don’t stop with one book deal, right? Most writers consider a book release a stepping stone, rather than an end goal. You want to keep growing your audience so your next book sells even better, and so on. This audience growth over time is called the long tail. A platform is key for this.”

How to Announce Your Book to Readers

{By the way, I have a fun little giveaway at the bottom of this post, so scroll down to catch it!}

Last week was one of those weeks I got to say my favorite words: “We’d like to accept your offer.”

I love saying that. It’s one of the shining moments of being an agent, especially when you know how much an author deserves that deal and how much they’re going to love working with that particular editor.

That moment naturally always brings me to this moment: Announcement Day, one of our favorite days around here. Today I have a big “congratulations!” for Rachel Tiemeyer and Polly Conner of the blog Thriving Home, who will be writing a whip-smart practical cookbook called From Freezer to Table: Whole Foods Recipes + Strategies for Cooking Ahead, Freezing, and Eating at Home. Here’s the official Publisher’s Marketplace deal listing:

Rachel Tiemeyer Polly Conner Thriving Home book deal

I have had so much fun working on this project. Polly and Rachel are just dream authors (says the broken-record agent who thinks this about all her authors…but they really are!), and we had a blast coming up with creative ways to make the book even more useful and helpful to readers.

Here’s a little sneak peek at how I described their book in my pitch letter to editors:

When Rachel Tiemeyer gave birth to her son, she had a rude awakening: dinner was not happening anymore. Most nights she would throw her hands up, open up the freezer, and pull out a boxed lasagna or frozen pizza. Her family wasn’t eating well, and she didn’t have a clue what to do about it. That is, until a friend invited her to a Freezer Club in the spring of 2007. She realized that if she wanted to eat healthy, easy, affordable, whole food meals, all while spending less time in the kitchen and more time with friends, then freezer cooking was the ultimate solution.

Now, in From Freezer to Table, Rachel and Polly will share their foolproof freezer recipes that hit the coveted trinity of healthiness, ease, and affordability, as well as step-by-step instructions on exactly how to freeze meals correctly (and how to make sure your friends stay your friends even when the cooking goes wrong!). With over 6 million page views in 2015, Thriving Home has already carved out a large majority of the readership in the freezer cooking world: the site is a top 5 Google search result for all freezer cooking search terms, making it the go-to resource for millions of freezer-curious cooks.

Rachel and Polly announced their book deal on their blog this week, and they did it the very best way:

By thanking their readers.

Announcement days are all about gratitude—gratitude for finally achieving such a big milestone, gratitude for being able to serve your readers in a new way, and most importantly, gratitude for your readers’ support up until then.

That’s why when my authors ask me how they should announce their book deal on their platform I tell them one thing: host a giveaway!

A giveaway is such a tangible way to give your readers a big thank you hug and let them know that you wouldn’t be writing a book if it weren’t for them.

You don’t need to have a million dollar sweepstakes—just like always, it’s the thought that counts. It can be something as small as a free bonus item you created or something as big as a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, and everything in between.

It also provides a great opportunity to build buzz and anticipation around the book, as well as get feedback from readers to make sure you’re creating a book that serves them. Some authors like to have readers enter the giveaway by sharing the post on social media and tagging friends, some by signing up for their email list, some by leaving a comment about what they love about their favorite books. (Rachel and Polly gave readers three options to choose from!)

Asking for feedback is especially helpful at this stage, because there’s still time to incorporate what your readers are hoping to see. And it powerfully underscores to your readers that you’re truly creating this book for them, and you want it to be something they turn to all the time.

As for me, I already know I’m going to be turning to Polly and Rachel’s book all the time. That’s how I knew I was the right agent for this project—as soon as I talked to Polly and Rachel about their idea and platform, I knew it was a book I wanted to own and use myself.

I’ve learned so much from Polly and Rachel just during the proposal phase, and they made freezer cooking seem so irresistible that I went ahead and gave it a try myself.

Here’s how it went–I hope it inspires you to give freezer cooking a try (and if so, trust me that you’ll want Polly and Rachel’s book by your side so you don’t flub as many things as I did)!

Experiment #1

I got together with one of my best friends for a freezer cooking marathon. We met in the morning at a coffee shop to plan the menu, then bought everything we needed at Costco and went to my house to cook it all up.

What went right:

We had a ridiculous amount of fun drinking wine, chopping all of the onions, spilling tomato sauce everywhere, rolling one million meatballs, drinking wine, ordering Jarrett around, using every dish in the house, and drinking even more wine.

What could have gone better:

We made the amateur mistake of trying to grocery shop at Costco and cook everything on the same day. By the end of the day we were twelve different kinds of wiped out.

Output:

2 gallon bags of cooked black beans, a whole lot of meatballs, a gallon of marinara, a gallon of red lentil curry.

Experiment #2

Jarrett and I wanted to bring some ready-to-go meals to our close friends who are having a baby this month, so we picked a few recipes from the Thriving Home Freezer Meal Archive.

What went right:

We tweaked Polly and Rachel’s Spinach and Lasagna Roll-Ups recipe to use Bolognese instead of marinara, and then we made a giant pot of it. This was great because we ended up with some leftover jars for us to freeze for ourselves. We also decided to use disposable aluminum trays, which made it easy to wrap up the food, freeze it, and carry it over to our friends the next day.

What could have gone better:

We couldn’t restrain ourselves and ended up cooking 2 or 3 things for dinner while also trying to execute the freezer meals. This was stupid. We are stupid. And yet, we never learn…

Output:

1 Lasagna Bolognese and 2 trays of Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal. (Try this recipe from Polly and Rachel—it’s a keeper!)


 

And because I am an absolute glutton for punishment, I decided I had—just had—to design my own freezer labels for our meals. Even though we were panic-cooking until late, didn’t have ink in the printer, and hadn’t even wrapped up our baby shower gifts for them yet. Why did I do this? I still don’t know.

But please help me justify by bad decisions by putting them to use yourself! You can print them in a set of 4, or just 1 at a time, and attach them to your next freezer meal. Freezer meals make the perfect gift for anyone going through a busy season, a rough patch, or even to stockpile for yourself for later! 🙂

Free printable freezer cooking labels

Click here to download the 4-pack of freezer meal printable labels.

Click here to download a single freezer meal printable label.

By the way, you won’t hear from me next week with a new post because I’ll be away on vacation (in Puntacana for my bachelorette party). We’ll chat again the week after!

How to announce a book to readers

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