How do you market something that doesn't exist? Hell, I'm in advertising, so if you count the "benefits" of the various products I've shilled through the years, it should be second nature for me. But when my agent asked me to put together a "marketing plan" so he could submit my novel to a smaller press, I froze up. I wrote a novel, for cryin' out loud, isn't that enough? Apparently not for some smaller publishers, who actually require a marketing plan as part of a submissions package. My agent said sometimes that can be the deciding factor between two books of roughly equal caliber.
So I rolled up my advertising sleeves, sharpened my pencil and immediately emailed the only published author I know personally to ask him what he did. Springboarding off some of his brilliant/shrewd tactics (he just secured his place in the acknowledgments), I augmented and free-formed the rest of it and sent it along to my agent--just a Word doc that ticks off one by one the "ideas" I have to hype my book and get my face out there. Doesn't mean any of it will actually happen, but it shows I'm eager to participate in the process.
Ideas I left off the list:
2. Printing "Ring of Fire" on Simon's, Randy's and Paula's drink cups
3. Stalking Oprah
No response yet. But as usual, I'll keep you posted.