Writers publish books in order to reach an audience and to influence it creatively, politically, socially or otherwise. As the publisher behind Anaphora Literary Press, I work closely to help writers achieve this objective. I asked three of the writers Anaphora has published to respond to a series of questions about the strategies that worked for them from this co-effort.
The metrics each writer used to measure their success varied, as some viewed awards or reviews as impactful, while others thought speaking directly with an audience during readings really connected them. Over the last decade, Anaphora has published over 270 titles, and with each book, I have been developing new marketing strategies. For example, I give away 100 ebooks for most new releases through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. I hope these reflections from Anaphora’s authors will spark some ideas in writers reading this who are also working on reaching an audience.
Dean Gessie: As a result of releasing three books with Anaphora, my exposure as a writer increased exponentially, as did my opportunities. My first book, Guantanamo Redux, was reviewed quite favorably by Publishers Weeklyand received a strong reader review on Amazon.ca. I was immediately interviewed in The Mirror, one of the Simcoe Country group of newspapers in Canada that reaches approximately 350,000. All my books were reviewed on LibraryThing. As a result of my author page at anaphoraliterary.com, independent schools have invited me to meet their students and provide workshops and readings. In a few weeks, I will do an author visit at Pickering College, where two of my books have appeared on the curriculum. Also, I was invited to provide a reading and market my books at the Springwater Author Festival in Simcoe County.
Mark Schlack: What a first-time author like me can do is start with your own personal network. That was very successful—we generated more than 200 books sales on pre-order and in the first week or two of sales. We got a small number of reviews on LibraryThing. I’ve done one reading and have another one scheduled in two weeks. I’m working on two more, trying to do one a month. People were enthusiastic and I hope will be a source of word-of-mouth promotion. I did an audio version of the first chapter for my website, which I promoted to my mailing list for the book. People definitely listened. Our overall marketing target are adults with an interest in climate change, social change and literature.
William Luvaas:My work has received a number of awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and Huffington Post’s2013 Book of the Year. Welcome to Saint Angel, published by Anaphora Literary Press, has received a number of glowing reviews, including by Peter Clothier in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Jack Messengerin Compulsive Reader, Elan Barnehama in Forth Magazine, and Robin Throne in The Wagon Magazine. The book trailer for Welcome to Saint Angel, filmed by my wife Lucinda Luvaas (I wrote the script), was awarded “Best Adapted Screenplay” at the Golden State Film Festival in Los Angeles in August, 2018 (actors: Leonard Kelly Young and Lillian AbelI’ve done various readings and book signings, including at the Anaphora Literary Press booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April, at the Why There Are Words reading series in Sausalito, California in May, where we had a good audience and I received some great feedback.
Anaphora and its director, Anna Faktorovich, have been very supportive of my book. She works tirelessly and regularly proposes promotional ventures such as book fairs and coop ads to her writers and helps writers obtain blurbs for their books. My page on Anaphora’s site is kept up to date with reviews and events added as they come in.