Mark Terry

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Online Book Marketing

June 22, 2007

After my last post about online book marketing, Mary Reed, who I had mentioned in the post, responded in a personal e-mail. One thing she suggested that I had missed were reader's guides. Although handy for the casual reader, I would think, these are primarily aimed at book club and reading group readers. They provide a little synopsis of the books, suggest things for the groups to discuss, raise questions, etc.

Here's some of what Mary had to say:

Our theory is to keep folk coming back to a site, it is wise to offer them interesting things other than our yakking about our own writing, things of interest to readers of other writers too, such as the freebies & newlsetter lists. The current epic is listing free etexts of golden age mysteries -- I love those books and read as many as I can find, so thought other devotees would like a page to browse links already collected for them. I am trying to find at least five new ones a week, which refreshes the site nicely too.

One thing you didn't mention are reading guides. This presupposes a series, and reminds me we must update our guide, but the beauty of these is that book clubs and such are always interested in them -- if you contact these clubs, to be able to offer a reading guide is always a bonus. And who says you cannot have a reading guide to a standalone? Not yours truly!

I would note that AuthorBuzz has added a service targeted at reading groups as well. I know one of my fellow Midnight Ink authors (and I don't remember who it is, sorry) mentioned on the Inkspot blog that she was tracking down contact information for reading groups and targeting them via postcards, etc. Certainly an untapped marketing target.


1. The Serpent's Kiss utilizes the "ticking clock" motif that makes up the classic thriller format. How does Mark Terry exploit that in the structure of the novel?

2. There are numerous symbolic father-son relationships in The Serpent's Kiss. Discuss.

3. In The Serpent's Kiss, Derek Stillwater works closely with FBI agent Jillian Church. Mark Terry chose her name carefully. Why?

4. What is Derek Stillwater's religion? (I'll give you a hint. It ain't a church.)

5. "Choice" comes up several times in the context of The Serpent's Kiss. Specific characters under several circumstances have to make choices on a course of action that will drive the action of the book and affect their lives (and possibly their deaths). Discuss.

See? Kind of makes you feel like a literature professor, doesn't it?


Mark Terry


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I mentioned your entries on online marketing and had a few words about reading guides on my own blog.

Reading guides can be interesting, even if you don't really want to discuss books, because they give a good idea of what the writer thought was important in the books.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Mary Anna said...

An interesting wrinkle on readers' group guides is teachers' guides. For some reason I never foresaw, teachers have latched onto my books. They're darker than your average cozy, but still classroom-appropriate. You know--people get pregnant and people die, but you're not treated to the gory details of either process.

I'm a chemical engineer by training, and somehow that background creeps into my work. So I'm writing an article with a young adult literature professor on using my books to teach math and science. Did I foresee that? Heck, no. And I spoke to 170 writing teachers today about the same subject. Did I plan that? Heck, no, but bring it on.

So I've prepared teachers' guides for all my books and posted them on my website. It surely doesn't hurt.

8:31 PM  

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