Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel

Sponsored by Jeffrey Marks


Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions or suggestions for this section, please email Jeff Marks, moderator of the Murder Must Advertise mailing list.


Questions about Amazon are so frequent, we gave them their own page:
FAQ about Amazon


Q: What is a press kit and what goes into it?

A: Thanks to publicist Lisa M Dellwo, Taking the Mystery Out of Press Kits is available for download in Microsoft Word format or to read online.


Q: How do I get my books reviewed?

A: Betty Webb, author of Desert Noir and book reviewer for a large metropolitan daily, shares her tips for book reviews.


Q: What are ARCs, do I need them, and where can I get some?

A: Some of the big review publications want to see your book several months before publication, so you need to send them Advance Reading Copies. If your publisher can't do this, Allen Matthews tells how to make professional-looking ARCs for a relatively small investment of money and time. Then, you can check Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel to find places to send your ARC and review markets.

Be selective. The "big four" (Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus) have a big influence but there is a lot of competition to get reviewed by them. The most important reviewers for most mystery authors are the mystery magazines. Then if you have the time and money, consider sending copies to specialist mystery bookstores. If they like it, they will "hand-sell" it to their customers.


Q: Where can I find addresses for people to send my press kit and ARCs to?

A: Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel, by Jeffrey Marks, has complete contact information for mystery bookstores, groups, events, publications, and reviewers from around the world. Deadly Serious Press also sells mailing labels to make your life easier.


Q: I arranged for a bookstore signing. What should I do when I get there?

A: First off, know what kind of signing the bookseller intends for you to do. There are three basic types:

  • Drive-by, informal, or stock signing. These generally take place in the back room of the bookstore and involve no customer interaction. Relax, be nice to the bookseller, and don't overstay your welcome.
  • The no-big-deal event. The store may or may not publicize your presence, and there isn't an audience, but usually you will at least have a table to sit at with a small stack of your books. Author Diane Vogt describes how to avoid sitting there playing with your pen in her tips for a booksigning.
  • Formal signing event. Showtime! You are expected to speak to a group (often a regular reading group). If you read from your work, keep it short -- less than 5 minutes. Talk a bit about how you get your ideas. Be ready for a question-and-answer period before readers line up for your signature.

After it's over, no matter how it turned out, be sure to send a thank-you note to the bookseller. Mystery-theme stationery (yes, we mean hand-written notes) will make you stand out in the booksellers stack of mail.


Q: My local cable channel wants to interview me on TV. How can I look good?

A: Author April Henry contributes some TV tips that will help you present your best face to the viewing public.


Q: My book is published as an e-book. Is there anything special I should do to promote it?

A: Author Todd Hayes shares some terrific tips for e-book authors that will be helpful to "ink on paper" authors as well.


Q: Is there any special advice for those of us who are self-published?

A: Wisdom of a Chief Bottle Washer presents some good advice for ALL authors, based on personal experience from author/publisher Natalie Thomas.



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All text copyright © 2000-2003
Kate Derie and Jeffrey Marks.