Friday, April 22, 2011

Seekerville Welcomes Guestblogger Julie Gwinn of B&H Publishing

Cheryl here yet again.

We are fortunate to have Julie Gwinn, Fiction Manager of B&H Publishing Group as our blog guest today. She's the marketing director for many authors you know and love. She has some great advice. Without further ado, here's Julie with sound advice on how authors can partner with their publishers in the realm of marketing.

Marketing Advice from Julie Gwinn

The book is written—now the real work begins!

Marketing can be a four-letter word for some authors. Either they dread it, don’t know a lot about it, are unsure of their role or love it and don’t want to step on their publisher’s toes. So how can an author successfully partner with their publisher to help market the book?

First, ask to see the marketing plan for the book. That way you have an idea of what the publisher is going to do and can start thinking of ideas to supplement their plan.

Secondly, most publishers will work to with national media outlets (tv, radio, magazines) to generate reviews and exposure for the book and author. The author can dovetail their efforts by tackling local media. Ask for a copy of all press releases and do your homework on media in your area. You can email or fax the same press release they are using to your local, state and regional media to try to garner additional attention for your book.

Thirdly, publishers will want you to connect with your fan base through events and social media. So as soon as the contract is signed, start developing your website, Facebook fan page, blog, enewsletter, etc.

You can offer contests, freebies and additional content building to the release of the book. You can also work with the publisher to place Facebook ads that will help direct new readers to your page and/or website.

Lastly, keep shooting ideas to your publisher. I receive emails almost every day from my authors giving me ideas of new blogs to check out, websites they like, contests a fellow author is having, etc. Effective marketing cannot happen in a vacuum. It is a team sport and takes communication between the author and the publisher.

EXCELLENT advice Julie. Thanks for being with us today!

If you have marketing questions for Julie, now's the time to ask. She's graciously agreed to hang around the island today and answer any questions that come her way.

Julie Gwinn has been a professional in the public relations, advertising industry
for more than 20 years for organizations such as The American Red Cross,
the YWCA and Dye, Van Mol and Lawrence public relations and advertising
agencies in Nashville. She joined B&H Publishing Group in January 07, in the
trade marketing and publicity department and is responsible for marketing their
fiction line.


Some upcoming releases from B&H that you won't want to miss: Fiction books on B&H's Web site.

Among my favorites are suspense books by Robin Caroll, Kim Woodhouse as well as genre fiction by John Olson and a fabulous new industry voice, Ginny Yttrup.

There are tons more!

Check out the link and don't forget to leave a comment or question for Julie who has the most adorable southern accent. So, to that end, I cooked us up some southern grits for breakfast. Butter them up and add milk and sugar if you like, or eat 'em over your eggs which are fried over-easy today and served with grilled ham steaks and whole grain toast. Mixed with Helen's signature coffee, yum, yum!

Dig in!

Cheryl Wyatt & Julie Gwinn


  1. Coffee's in progess. Will be ready for the early risers.

    How patient are publishers with newbie authors who don't have much marketing savvy?


  2. Delightful Southern accent... Is this lovely lady based in Nashville?

    If so, we're practically neighbors!!!

    Thanks so much for being here, Julie!

    Marketing... I'm weird but I love it.

    My book is releasing this summer and I'm working hard on any and all ideas for marketing. I've learned so many things from this blog, and others, that I'm trying to plan what might work best for me.

    If you would please address book signings, that would be great. I've heard comments all over the place. And... if you have experience with school visits (mine is a middle grade adventure) that would be great too!

    Thanks! :)

  3. Julie,

    thanks for coming by.

    Marketing can certainly be the gorilla in the room for me. Just when I think I have a great marketing idea, I find I really don't. I suppose it is more a matter of plugging away and working with others as you say.


    Tina Pinson

  4. Hi Julie:

    I’m a marketing person and I suggest that authors put the marketing into the book before they write it. A change in location can attract more readers. Think of the things that you’d like to appear on the cover art to attract readers. I found that when the marketing goes into the product, like popular features in a software product, the marketing job is made much easier.

    What do you think?


  5. Welcome to Seekerville, Julie! Guys, this woman is SO CREATIVE! I always try to be creative with my marketing efforts, too--with the support of my publisher, naturally! :)

  6. Hello, Julie.

    I see that your company published The Moon in the Mango Tree. When you have a book with an unusual setting such as Siam, what part of your marketing plan changes to tie in that aspect? (I ask as my WIPs are set in medieval Japan and 1st century India.)

    Thank you,


  7. Ah, coffee...


    I love you!

    Julie, thank you so much for being here today and being a good friend and mentor to Christian fiction. The books look wonderful, and what a great group of names to have connected with B&H.

    Oh, Walt, GREAT QUESTION!!! Exotic placements might make marketing different. I can't wait to hear Julie's response to that and KC's question about book-signings.

    Julie, I love donating books to libraries to give them a taste of my work, so I do mailing campaigns to get myself stocked in various areas.

    I think that gives me the greatest exposure bang for the buck because money for new authors is often a challenge.

    Does that make sense to a marketing gal like you?

  8. Good morning, Julie and welcome to Seekerville.

    Great, great PR suggestions. Thank you

  9. Good morning, Julie and welcome to Seekerville!

    Wonderful ideas for marketing. This is an area where my creativity falls short. BUT, I'm a great student and learn from the suggestions of others. Time is in such short supply that I'm only able to dedicate time to a couple of avenues.

    I agree with Vince. Marketing needs to be incorporated into the book concept before the book comes out. I love promoting Colorado and cowboys. I guess half the work is done for me, LOL!

    Thanks for joining us today, Julie!

  10. I have always enjoyed Julie's talks on ACFW conference recordings, in fact that is what I said when I filled out their survey yesterday, that is where I really first heard about the Pure Enjoyment line.

    It's too early for me to form a coherant question, I'm normally just trying to get out of bed, and I'm headed out of town, so have a great day and thanks Julie for the great advice!

  11. Aww, Julie's being modest. Every time I send her an email about a marketing idea, the woman is on it like a duck on a june bug. If it's feasible, she's game to try it. And thinking outside the box is this lady's forte! Take heed...the woman knows what she's talking about!

  12. Marketing? I haven't thought beyond the possibility that someone might actually publish my book someday! I'm so glad there are people like Julie who are so creative in that area.

    A quick question - what do you think is the best way for an author to develop loyal readers - ones who will pick up a book just because a certain author wrote it?

  13. Thanks, Julie (and Cheryl).

    Although my novel is unpublished, I'm always looking for marketing ideas for "the day when..." It seems we're always told that marketing is up to the author, so it's nice to learn that there is help out there from the publisher.

    I'm in the process of creating my proposal and feel this is the weakest area for me--thinking outside the box when it comes to marketing my book. We all have the websites/blogs, social media, booksigning, etc.

    What are some of the more unusual, but effective, ways you have seen to market a book?

  14. Welcome Julie!! I'm not good with names, but as soon as I saw your picture I remembered meeting you (I THINK it was you?!*grin*). Were you at the ACFW conference in MN in 2008? That was my very first conference to attend, and I was truly overwhelmed (in a GOOD way!!). Anyway, at one of the meals I'm certain I sat by you, and you were super nice. Of course, having a "southern accent" especially made me feel at ease with you *wink*. ~ Thank you for this great advice today---I learn so much on these Seekerville posts! ~ I've brought along my Georgia pecan pancakes to share--hot off the griddle! ;)
    Easter blessings, Patti Jo Moore :)

  15. I agree with Sandy. It was refreshing to hear how the publisher interacts with the writer on marketing. Thanks for such an informative post!

  16. *groan* I know this time is coming... But it seems almost fun by this post! I'm setting up a blog through wordpress and it atcually wasn't too hard.
    Grits!!! I wrote a book called 'Pride, Prejudice' and Cheese Grits' once. It was a modern P&P set in Mississippi... :D
    P.S. Those covers are GORGEOUS.

  17. Hey Julie! Great to have you here.

    Question for ya: If an author's time is limited (ha ha!) what are the top handful of marketing ideas they can pour their time into?


  18. Walt, the more you mention that book, the more I'm dying to read it. I love novels that are set somewhere I've no connection or knowledge about. Medieval Japan, wow! I would so pick that up...
    (And Slam was amazing. You would never think a teen pregnancy could be funny... ever.)

  19. That sure sounds like a good breakfast. Gotta have homemade jelly too!


  20. Hi, Julie! What a delight to have you visit us in Seekerville today!

    I have to echo Pam's question. Which marketing venues would you say give the best return on an author's investment of time and resources?

    I'm especially curious about your thoughts concerning the exploding number of blogs now hosting author tours. Speaking from the author's perspective, it's hard to keep interview content fresh when you're answering the same or similar questions from blog to blog--which is what I look for as a blog READER if I'm seeing the same author/book featured on several of my favorite blogs.

  21. Virginia, thank you for your kind words. I hope it becomes reality someday.

  22. Welcome to Seekerville, Julie! Thanks for the excellent marketing suggestions. I prefer chatting with book clubs and church groups, but I know press releases and social media spread the word far better.

    I brought dessert in honor of Julie's visit. Small cream puffs filled with white cheesecake pudding and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

    Have a blessed Easter!


  23. Hi, Julie! Thanks for coming by today.

    Do most publishers set up the book signing tours, interviews, and things of that nature or do they leave that primarily up to the author - a first time author?

  24. Hey Julie, it's nice to 'meet' you.

    Recently I've read many blogposts which say don't show your bookcover months in advance or the readers will be so familiar with it they'll think the book is 'old news' by the time the release date rolls around.

    But I like your idea that an author should start promoting as soon as the contract is signed and a title is confirmed.

    Thanks for the valuable ideas and information.

    Anita Mae.

  25. Hi Julie,

    Thanks so much for being with us today and for the great information about marketing. Keeping the editor and publishing house in the loop is so important.

    Cheryl, love the grits!

  26. Waving to Robin! Great cover and title! Can't wait to read the book!

  27. Thanks for the excellent advice, Julie! I hope I can put your ideas to good use soon.

  28. I haven't gotten far enough to try an market anything, but as someone who loves to read and would love to meet authors of the books I love, I wondered if author's ever joined up together to promote their books? For example, a meet and greet type-thing where seasoned authors team up with first time authors of the same publisher? I can just picture having something that books lovers can buy tickets for, go in, meet authors, buy books, have book signings and Q & A time, etc. Maybe that's done all the time and I just didn't realize it!

  29. Hey, JULIE, SOOO good to have you in Seekerville today -- WELCOME!!
    It's always incredibly enlightening for authors to hear from the other side of the table, to pick an editor's brain, so to speak, so thank you for coming.

    AND I agree with Virginia -- the covers are GORGEOUS!



  30. Great post Julie! Can't wait to read your answers to all the good questions asked.

    Hope everyone had a Good Friday :)

  31. Thankfully I don't have to navigate the marketing world until I finish my manuscript and edit it a million times. Yes, it terrifies me.
    Thanks Julie for the reassurances about the world of marketing.

  32. Hi TravelingStacey,
    Authors do have events for readers. Also if a writing conference is held in your local area, check the website to see if the writers are having a book signing. Those are usually open to the public. Authors love to meet new readers...and don't worry, you need not buy the books. Just having someone to stop by their table and say hello means so much.

  33. I wish I could have posted earlier...better late then never right? That was a great post, there were things that I never really thought of doing. Thanks so much.

  34. Hi Julie, thanks for all the great advice...I'm saving this info. and working on more marketing at the same time:)

    thanks for giving us your time and wisdom!