Cathy McGuinness Talent Agent (Real and Imagined)
Promoting Leadership One Character At A Time 

Marketing My First Novel.  
Or, so now I talk to birds....

5/18/2011 8AM     I finally reached and clipped the mother-of-all figs I have been trying to pull off my tree for three days.  As I am doing so, talking to the bird who is competing with me for this fig, the tape in my head starts playing, softly at first and then louder and louder:  Finish the marketing plan for Emperors' Clothes.  So here I am. 

Where to start:
  • Who do I know in marketing, pricing/distribution, Branding/design, campaign mgmt?
  • Research book and other consumer product marketing sites for ideas, contacts for assistance.
  • Specifically research books about marketing books (Greenleaf recommends one).
  • Check out other marketing plans (harken back to work at Dell as well as Preod).
  • Break out elements of the plan and organize in a Powerpoint.
  • Consider who are influencers.  Who and where are the target audiences (gets to distribution, costs).  Think through how and where to reach them:  how to leverage direct networks, social media/other tools.
  • Determine platform for speaking:  What topics will be valuable to others? 
Book design: 
  • create focus group:  what do these images say to you? what do they tell you about the novel?  What appeals to you enough to want to read the book cover copy?  Solicit responses and categorize demographically (compare results to demographics of print and e book buyers.  Learn anything about distribution?).


  • Create publicity campaign (think business racketeering stories; find out who those reporters are; gather contact info and have pitch ready).
  • Public Relations:  Where should this book be reviewed?  College (alum) publication; HR publications; What about WSJ?
  • Who would be open to endorse? 
  • How to approach?

And that fig, it was more like the big-sister-of-all-figs.  I should have let the bird have it. 
5/19/2011 8AM Chose beautiful picture from Jenny Hartgrove Photography for book jacket.  Tough decision given Jennifer's great work!  So many choices!  Which one says:  This woman will tell a good story?   We got it!  Correction: Jennifer got it!

Need cumulative two days/week focused on marketing.  Today:  Researching reporters, possible reviewers, considering endorsements.

Oh!  Opened Twitter account.  Need to learn best use of tool before tweeting.  Recommendation from friend: Open Twitter account for Sal Scruci.
5/21/2011 5:00pm
Endorsements:  Careful review of HR leaders, Business leaders with whom I've worked (credibility, mutual interests).  Reached out to specific individuals with information about novel, endorsement process, timeframe.  Requested endorsements. 
5/22/2011 7:00pm
  • extensive research to understand who all does book reviews (everything from Library Journal to book bloggers to periodicals and newspapers). 
  • Deep research on which book reviewers have  reviewed satires or business fiction.  Who'd want to review my book. 
  • Determined strategy to focus on traditional venues first (Library Journal, Magazine and newspaper reviews), followed up by online book bloggers next. 
  • Requested information from publisher to understand how to evaluate and engage with book bloggers. 
  • Also, seeking personal connections to book reviewers (through linked IN and other business sources).
5/23/2011 7:00pm
  • updated page with picture, bio, Emperors' Clothes book summary. 
  • Spent great deal of time reaching out to many former colleagues. 
  • Before the end of the day, my first 'viral' contact:  someone saw my connection to someone else and reached out to link in.  Mentioned the book so clearly he had read the updated profile!  Social media success!
Reached out to affiliate link programs of on line retailers to enable a link to etailers for book purchases through this website.  Updated this website with my novel photo and book jacket design.  Renovated website some (shifted pieces around and cleaned up some verbiage).
6/1/2011 6:00am Reviewed Advanced Reader's Copy of novel for opportunities, consistency before it was sent to printer. 
Building marketing base; joined additional online groups.  Research Meet-Up and other sites.
6/2/2011     1:00pm
Met with reviewer at Texas Book Festival and dropped off manuscript.  Asked to provide ARC when ready; will do.
6/8/2011 7:00am Organizing addresses for ARC; researched additional book reviewers at major publications (newspapers nationally and regionally as well as business publications which have reviewed fiction (Emperors' Clothes is on the bubble (business readers are prospective audience)).
6/13/2011 9:00PM Exchanged some helpful messages with a reporter at Forbes about book reviews for that magazine. Reached out directly to the book reviewer for Business Week, Austin-American Statesman, others. Researching Texas Monthly, Austin magazines, People, other major national and regional publications. Composing tailored note to pitch specific audiences. 
Dinner with good friends who have successfully published many books (Thom and Sara Singer:  Thom's The ABC's of Networking, among many others.  Mad at Martha cookbook is the creative genius of Sara and a colleague.)  Great suggestions about leveraging radio, pricing e books and thoughtful discussion around how to compete as new content explodes globally.
Initiated contact with regional rotary club to investigate options for speaking/presenting.
6/28/2011 7:00AM
ARCs ready and sent to select individuals to review for endorsement.  Message from B&N: Moving to new provider for affiliate program.  Just when I figured out how to link to their site through Google! EC image also finally up on B&N and IndieBound.  Rework the links to allow the novel's image to pop up associated with those links on my website.
Leverage Costco photo center and cover image JPeg: create postcards with novel summary and teaser (note to self: next iteration of postcard should be specific as to where to purchase). Created stickers for other applications and fantastic pocketbook with cover design.
7/1/2011           7:00AM    Sending ARC-version of prologue along with Happy Birthday message to specific people/former colleagues (per birthday reminders from Plaxo).
7/4/2011 6:00PM Great response to pocket book with book jacket image.  Really eye-catching.  It is now my everyday bag.  Planning cross-country drive and time on east coast:  Bringing the bag.
Facebook:  Tweaked profile picture; now book jacket design (given positive response to pocketbook!).  Getting good reaction to that.  Reminder to make sure website is easily accessible as FB and LinkedIN connections comment on novel.
7/6/2011 Time to review marketing plan.  On-going question:  how to build pre-sales (publicity!), particularly without actual books until October.  Bit risky. 
Planning October launch:  Book signings; also leverage annual enrollment period for benefits by sending note/prologue to HR leaders around country.  Also, found cookie cutter in shape of crown.  Daughter and I plan to bake cookies to distribute at book signings!
7/12/2011         6AM     Fantastic endorsements from two wonderful people!  Reviewed ARC for final tweaks and sent those to publisher.  While on business travel, reviewed airline magazines and found whole new world of book reviewers!  Researching those reviewers today and reaching out with pitch.  Also, spoke with major booksellers locally about opportunity to read/sign books coinciding with launch in Oct.
Publicity?  President Obama's line about 'peas' in debt-ceiling talks gives rise to news headline: Give PEAS A Chance ....which is a line from Emperors' Clothes! 
7/25/2011 6AM On the New Jersey shore for vacation.  Sun and sand, volleyball and bbq's.  Great relaxing and family time....and opportunity to get creative juices flowing.  Have been focusing around online opportunities for marketing:  joining HR, recruiting as well  as appropriate alumni association groups on LinkedIN; started Twitter account for Sal Scruci so that he could tweet about his own unique brand of leadership development skills (his bio links back to this website); facebook activity strikes me as decidely quiet this summer (maybe it is most summers....?)).  Also, been promoting Emperors' Clothes through personal discussions with book club members.  Sharing the prologue and other information about the upcoming novel to engage book club participants (largely in the NY area which is a significant demographic audience for the novel).  Also, continue to share prologue with business associates, former colleagues as birthday gifts. 
Planning October message to HR groups to coincide/commemorate HR Benefits/Open Enrollment season.
7/27/2011 7AM Wonderful news: BookPeople to sponsor an event to showcase Emperors' Clothes in October!  Great independent bookstore in Austin. 
8/4/2011 7AM BookPeople event confirmed for Saturday Oct 29th.  Details to follow! 
8/9/2011 9AM HR Capitalist blog references upcoming Fortune article about downfall of Pfizer CEO and his unwitting (?)HR accomplice.  Perfect tie-in to Emperors' Clothes theme, particularly how the trappings of success can influence even the touchy-feely types to do the wrong thing.  Reached out to Fortune article authors to offer services/insights as SME with regard to future, similar, articles.  Also now following this blog and a few others specific to HR.  Sent prologue to HR Capitalist for his review, to share with followers.
8/10/2011 8AM Making bigger push into book clubs as WOM is huge with novels.  Connected with several personal contacts/friends who are engaged with book clubs in their respective areas.  Sent email specifically designed for book clubs to share with members to help make decision on choosing Emperors' Clothes.  Offered to meet with members, discuss book, answer questions (variety of topics, driven by book club members).  Can meet in person, via skype, web chat.  Several clubs interested.
8/12/2011 7AM Attended great Fordham ALumni event last evening at the Spring Lake Bath & Tennis Club.  Mary Higgins Clark honored!  Spoke with Mary, an incredibly gracious, thoughtful and generous lady, who rubbed my Emperors' Clothes bag for good luck!  She also offered wonderful advice and encouragement.  Thanks, Mary!
8/15/2011 9AM On the road back to Austin from the New Jersey shore.  Leveraging the cell phone to engage additional outlets for publicity. Using the time to research radio programs across the country as possible venues for discussion about Emperors' Clothes.
8/19/2011 7AM Back in Austin building categories for direct mail campaigns, from announcements about appearances to recipients for plays on HR events (like October's Open Enrollment period). Will engage several online forums with specific marketing to targetted audiences.  Continue to build awareness with physical book clubs, moving into online book clubs.  Sal Scruci twitter account gets more active as the mobster-cum-executive recruiter opines about leadership judgements (or lack thereof) referenced in business and general news publications.  He's picking up some followers...:).  Completed Sal's personal profile on Twitter so followers get the point, with a link to this website.  Planning to deliver crown-shaped shortbread cookies to soccer games this fall.  Need to review marketing plan, specifically timeline, for activities.  Also making heavier effort/push on e book activities.  Will run ebook promo when print book is launched (approx Sept 30).













Need to determine how to move up in online searches.  Too many "Emperor's Clothes" titles.  My book doesn't pop up on first page until title and my name are used.  Have connection to Web genius; need to work with him.  Also, investigating Amazon's new "Search Inside the Book" feature. If viable, I can add PDF version of prologue to Amazon site with book so that readers can preview this part of the novel which can help make a positive 'buy' decision!

Update: Added SITB features to Amazon and B&

Created detailed timeline for marketing plan of Emperors' Clothes, through to end of year.

Engaged in partnership with great new web association for heavy business travelers (  Emperors' Clothes giveaway to initial members of this website dedicated to improving the customer experience of this well-heeled group.

Prepared material for bookclubs/added note to website about bookclub engagements. 

Connection to Board member of KOOP in Austin.  Interested; providing material to program hosts who make program decisions.

Purse continues to get great reviews.  Investigating possible section line of product for Emperors' Clothes....

Met with retired executive for broadcast network to understand behind the scenes process of networks, radio stations.  Looking for angle, process knowledge for advantages in garnering attention.  Introduction to Regional TV producer for morning show.  Awaiting next steps.

Initiated discussions on various LinkedIn Group sites regarding employment, hiring, search firm practices.

BookPeople:  Met with Marketing Manager to discuss logistics, advertising, recommended structure of book reading/signing on Oct 29th (3PM).  Planned timeline for this event.

Great encouragement and assistance from friends, including introductions to major Austin publications.  Fingers crossed.

Prepared database specific to marketing for Emperors' Clothes.  Referenced by relationship, geography.  Aim to utilize database in targetted manner, depending upon event, promotion.

Hired PR assistant to gather contact data, organize materials, research venues.  Great assistant!

Determine best vehicles for free e book promotion. Who is the best target?  Also, don't forget the original influencers.  How best to create buzz? (Make sure vendors are aligned on timing; check with publisher once a week up til promotion starts).  Set up staggered approach for this promotion, over multiple-day period?

Barnes & Noble reports a buy!  Yeah!  Don't know details yet......

Preparing press releases for book launch, BookPeople reading.

Reviewed multiple Texas Women events from Sept through end of year.  Attending Austin Woman magazine's seminar (Celebrating 9 Divine Years) Sept 30th at Weston Domain.  Exciting speakers, great venue.

Initial setback with an e-vendor for free e book promo created stress in the system for a few days.  Creative publishing team found successful work-around.  Kudos to the team.

Heavy web research to understand and take more advantage of social networking sites, links, etc.  Made some changes to website, added FB Fan page as result. 

Introduction to Texas Women's Conference Director responsible for Author session (Houston;November).

How to reach influencers?  Paperbacks, e books.

Engaged with Austin Public Library:  Individual i/c of bookclubs has material and is circulating.  Also, board member will research best approach to libraries directly (readings, etc).

Creating marketing material for BookPeople Oct 29th event.  Working with various small businesses with regard to advertisements.  Don't forget UT angle/advertising opportunities.  Saturday before Halloween; location adjacent to REI.

Sal is very busy tweeting.  Every time he sees a dopey leadership decision, he just can't help himself.  His character grows and ideas flow for The Juice.

Heavy research into online book blogs.  Initiating some inquiries with those indicating interest in fiction.  Next: Online book clubs.

Emperors' Clothes getting good reviews on vendor sites.

Additional buys reported by wholesaler to publisher!  Starting to feel some momentum!  Focus, focus, focus.

Imbed prologue onto website (like SITB feature on website).

Checking out websites dedicated to recruiting.  One offers online reality show....Interesting.  Tie in possible?

E book buzz increasing, particularly as economy moves slowly.  Word is that many bookstores are emphasizing online sales over in-store sales.

Emperors' Clothes cookies!  Delicious shortbread in shape of crown.  My daughter loves to decorate them.  Note to self:  Make a bunch for book club readings/discussion.

Research radio for business programs.  Pitch recruiting in hard times (How to Get A Head without Losing Yours).

10/5/2011 7AM Great launch weekend.  Many nice remarks from friends and colleagues.  Great support from folks spreading the word via e mail, LinkedIN, FB, general WOM. 

Heavy promotion work:  Press release sent to major TV and Radio stations around TX and NY, including Austin, NY morning/daily shows.  Following up on some introductions to discuss pitch, arrange meetings.

Reached out to bakery with regard to theme refreshments for BookPeople event. Prepared flyer to share about Oct 29th.  Local business interested in displaying novel. Prepare database of people who've expressed positive response to Oct 29th reading so that I  can send reminder note/email.

GoodReads:  Two members have Emperors' Clothes on list of 'to-read'.  Yeah!!  Tweaked Author page to include BookPeople event and add press release.
Press Release added to FB as well as several LinkedIN pages (profile and my groups).  Posted free e book promo on several LINKED IN group sites.  Won't know for few weeks the results of the e book promo.

Austin Women magazine event very successful.  Wonderful, inspirational speakers (Carla McDonald, Michelle Valles, Kathy Valentine, Judy Maggio, and Irene Williams), great energy, lively conversation, delicious food too!  Spoke to several people about Emperors' Clothes; many indicated desire to attend Oct 29th BookPeople reading.

PR assistant:  Focus today on internet research to support online sales.  Also, further research into NY media regarding promotions.

10/31/2011 5:00pm
Saturday afternoon, Oct 29th:  All systems go for BookPeople reading.  Approximately 40 people RSVP'd.  Coordinate details with Mandy Brooks re: refreshments, seating, microphone, introduction.  Delicious Emperors' Clothes cookies provided by pastry chef at Randalls.  Amazing.  Five dozen disappeared.  Great use of logo on cookie.

Later: Reading well attended.  Great response to selections chosen.  Several Sat afternoon bystanders at BookPeople joined the event.  Sold more books than typical Saturday sale per BookPeople staff.

Wonderful dinner with friends to celebrate then home early for good night's rest.

Sunday: 6:45am arrival at KXAN.  Wonderful, attentive staff even at that hour on a weekend morning!  Met producer who gave me lay of the land.  Watched local news awaiting my 3-4 minutes of fame!  On the fly introduction to Chris Willis, news anchor who clearly had read Emperors' Clothes given his insights and questions!  Quite impressive considering his hectic professional schedule (not to mention kids and Halloween parties).  Great segment and so fun to kick around themes from Emperors' Clothes.  Boy did the time fly....

Next:  Organize invitations to Emperors' Clothes coffee break in Austin mid-November. 













Review of logistics and final headcount for Nov 15th Coffee Break with Emperors' Clothes

Nov 15:  Wonderful event hosted by strong supporters of literature.  Signed many books, discussed themes, my background, publishing industry today.  Received multiple requests to speak at local book clubs.

Early morning ride to Houston for Texas Conference for Women.  Simone Krasan to lead expert session; can't miss that!

Afternoon:  Wonderful conference!  Amazing session on social media marketing.  Incredibly helpful as I meander the vast toolbox available (what's best for Emperors' Clothes?).  Mel Robbins session:  So exciting!  Invited to speak with Sharon Jenkins on her radio program.  Can't wait!!

Nov 25th: No rest for the energized!  Direct mail campaign to reach broader Austin/Texas community with news about Emperors' Clothes.  

Continued Social Media interaction/engagement re: relative articles.

Prepare for discussion with book club Dec 2nd.

Connected with Sharon Jenkins of about her radio program!  So excited about this wonderful opportunity.  Tune in Dec 14th!

Wonderful conversation with ladies of book club the previous evening.  Great, fun banter about work, NY, life in general.  Continued over wine and ice cream long into the evening!

Thought-provoking commentary and interview with The Master Communicator, Sharon Jenkins, through her blog radio program on The Literary Showcase.  Great comments from listeners.  Link will be useful tool to get out the messages and themes of Emperors' Clothes, particularly to other regions of the USA where Emperors' Clothes can be found at Powell's Books or Books-A-Million, as well as many other regional bookstores.

BookPeople placed a new order!   Austin is selling out of Emperors' Clothes!

Endorsements:  Careful review of HR leaders, Business leaders with whom I've worked (credibility, mutual interests).  Reached out to specific individuals with information about novel, endorsement process, timeframe.  Requested endorsements. 

12/21/2011 1pm Set personal goal of helping BookPeople who have been so good to Emperors' Clothes.  Goal achieved with direct marketing campaign.  BookPeople sold out Emperors' Clothes!  New problem: BP new order hasn't yet arrived and there are, on average, 500 customers an hour in the store each of the last few days leading up to Christmas.  Offered to get copies of Emperors' Clothes from publisher which might be quicker. 
12/22/2011 8AM Think I'll take a drive to BookPeople today....might have a box of Emperors' Clothes in the back of the car in case they are needed....
Other personal goals: Get at least 500 hits on KXAN video (at about 350 now) by new year.  Second, leverage that 500 into 1000. 
Invited to meet with 4th graders at Carraway Elementary in January to work on editing skills (need to set date).  Follow up on 2 book clubs interested in meeting in new year.  Also, Austin Women's League: follow up on introduction/possibly March meeting.  Lastly, confirm that Mel Robbins' team received contact.  Also, leverage InMail/Premium features of LinkedIN to reach readers across country corresponding to locations of Emperors' Clothes (Powells, Books A Million).  Utilize Literary Showcase materials for book clubs.
Connected with Marketing Manager for AESC who is possibly interested in speaking to membership, blog interview on Emperors' Clothes (follow up in New year).
 1/22/2012 7PM
January has been a busy month.  In addition to applications for two major awards (Foreword and Benjamin Franklin) recommended by Greenleaf publisher, the Austin direct marketing campaign led to many discussions, conversations, book sales and bookings with book clubs.  Great results! 
Invitation to discuss Emperors' Clothes with HRDRIVETHRU, the #1 HR internet radio show.  Check out these hosts who offer practical advice for real-life situations.  And they are fun, too!
PakMail, Bee Cave Road, Austin:  Very generous local business is showcasing Emperors' Clothes!  Thanks to their support, local awareness is growing.  Great business, too!  Bring your packages to this location and they will take care of you and your mail!
2/7/2012 8AM

Great interview by Association of Executive Search Consultants' Joe Chappell:
Joe asked good questions that enabled us to tease out the issues that would be of interest to the thousands of executives who are engaged with this organization.  Might participate in Houston panel discussion later this year.  Stay tuned!

BPE Bobcat Fest is considering local community booth to showcase talent of the community, including Emperors' Clothes.  Watch for updates on this March 31 event here in Westlake!

Invited to address a California book club via Skype!  Great use of technology to drive engagement and awareness.

Wonderful attaboy mention on this great blog for authors by an author:

Working on book blogs, online book clubs and radio shows this month!  Also planning book club meetings in the NY, NJ area for April.







Endorsements:  Careful review of HR leaders, Business leaders with whom I've worked (credibility, mutual interests).  Reached out to specific individuals with information about novel, endorsement process, timeframe.  Requested endorsements. 



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