Last couple of days I’ve been doing my spousely duty, which in this household means sending out emails to everyone on our mailing list (1,100+ names) to tell them about Denise’s upcoming book, The Girls of Atomic City. The book’s available for pre-order but no one’s going to pre-order it if they don’t know about it. Hence the spam, er, emailing of longtime friends and colleagues.
As I do this, I can’t help think what I’d do if I got one of these emails. The book’s three to four month’s off at this point. That’s a hard sell, in my opinion. A really hard sell, given that the holidays are coming. People have tons of other buying to do at this point in the year. Why buy a book that isn’t going to come out until March?
And yet, we’re actually getting emails from people who are taking Denise up on the giveaway she’s offered in the spam—uh, e-newsletter we just sent out. I think the trick with these things is to focus the letter on just the bare essentials (here’s a book, you can pre-order it, here’s why you’d do it) and send only to those who have a vested interest in your cause. In this case, we’re sending to friends, family, and colleagues who have been asking her about this book for six years or so. It’s our way of saying, a) This has not been a figment of Denise’s imagination, b) Remember all those times you said you couldn’t wait to see it? Put up or shut up.
The fourth important group we sent the email out to is the people who live in the city where the book takes place, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Residents here are justifiably proud of the role they played in WWII, and this is arguably the only book about the city that’s been published by a major publisher. They’re excited, and they’re placing orders.
The fifth important group is actually kind of tricky: it’s the fans who’ve bought our previous books. It’s tricky because we’ve written books in different genres. It’s hard to ask someone who liked our freelance money book or one of our history titles if they might be interested in a WWII history title. But I think we have to do it. If nothing else, it’ll winnow the list down to people who are our diehard readers.
Going forward, it’s raising some interesting issues for us. We’re written a lot of books together, and there was always some strength derived from the fact that we were marching off into the world together. If people hated our book, we would deal with it together. But going forward, we’re writing our own books. Here Denise has authored this huge American history title. And I’m going out with more fiction work—a departure, given my previous work.
We’ll see how it goes.
If anyone would like to get on Denise’s list for future mailings, the list is here.
If you want to get on my list, sign up here.