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Giving Your Book a Second Chance: Relaunching with Marketing that Makes a Difference by Dr. Angela Yarber


Giving Your Book a Second Chance: Relaunching with Marketing that Makes a Difference



Have you ever wished for a book do-over? An opportunity to relaunch your book with a bigger launch team, better marketing plans, and maybe even a new book cover?

That’s how I felt about my eighth book. Like most authors, I had grand plans for Queering the American Dream.

Heeding the wisdom of the venerable Black, queer writer, Pauli Murray, “One person plus one typewriter constitutes a movement,” I committed, not simply to writing and publishing a book, but creating a movement. With my modern-day typewriter in hand, I dreamed of readers throwing off the shackles of an ill-suited dream, galvanizing retreats, coaching to help other marginalized creatives queer their own iterations of the so-called American dream.

I tried learning about book marketing and pitching companion essays and creating a launch team and all those things small-time authors without expensive publicists on retainer do. I tried so hard.

But when this book was first published in hardback in 2022, I was still reeling. Floundering. Struggling with bipolar II, chronic fatigue, parenting two children with disabilities, and having just been released from a residential eating disorder recovery facility that prompted a six thousand mile move across an ocean and a continent, I launched this book into the world, hoping for the best.

Mental health, grief, disability, and nearly five years living below the poverty line had other plans. They sucker-punched me back into bed for nine months, launch team untapped, book marketing plans out the window, the queer movement I dreamed of little more than the space between my bed and couch.

It sucked.

And when my doctors finally took me off the medication that was keeping me down, I came back to myself. I had energy, renewed hope, and the capacity to be the productive person I’d been for over forty years. I started a publishing company, Tehom Center Publishing, an imprint publishing feminist and queer authors, with a commitment to elevate BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) writers, and I found myself living into the movement I’d originally dreamed of with the initial publication of my book.

I wasn’t just awake and productive. I was flourishing. And I was helping other marginalized authors flourish in the process. It was nothing short of a revelation. Yet, the hardback of Queering the American Dream sat dusty in boxes, unopened for all those events I’d planned only two years prior when my health and life took a dramatic nosedive.

And I had to ask myself, “Do I let this book and this dream and this movement go? Or do I breathe new life into them?”

Girded by the wisdom of the revolutionary queer women who inspired my travel memoir, I chose the latter. No longer on government assistance or medication that caused tardive dyskinesia (a chronic condition that can cause involuntary and repetitive movements in the face and body), requiring fourteen hours of daily sleep, I grabbed those old books, with their unsuccessful cover and lack of aligned marketing plan, and I began to dream new dreams.

This time, though, I didn’t limit my consultations to revolutionary women from the past—the bold ones who inspired my travels and fill the pages of my book—but I gathered the wisdom of the revolutionary women who fill my life today. I talked with dear author friends, did trainings with renowned writers, studied feminist marketing, meditated with my queer clergywomen coven, and listened to the inner wisdom that had been silenced by faulty medications. And together, we decided to try again.

So, I released this book into the wild once again. This time, with a new cover, creative edits, new epilogue, and a movement that has already begun with Tehom Center Publishing.

Tehom Center Publishing

Whenever I coach the authors at Tehom Center Publishing, I always begin with the why behind their book. Recently, an author in one of my writing cohorts turned this question back on me, asking why it is that I want to publish.

The reason is simple, yet profound. I’m publishing this book, sharing my queer family’s story with the world, because I’m sick of seeing so many marginalized people bound to the so-called dreams that have been systematically designed to disenfranchise us. Heteronormativity. White supremacy. The 9-to-5 rat race. Broken education, medical, and criminal justice systems. We’ve been told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps by a country that has stolen our boots. And that’s not ok.

I wrote and published my book so that readers can see examples of what it means to live and dream differently. Because, in the words of Toni Morrison, the only life “you can have is the one you can imagine.” My why is an exercise in radical imagination, of dreaming what life and work and vocation and family can look like if we heed the wisdom of queer women of color who have been dreaming creative, alternative, dismantling dreams from the jump. It wasn’t easy, but my wife and I tried to follow this queer, intersectional wisdom. And it doesn’t end when this book ends either. Rather, it is a day-after-day joy and struggle to truly be comadres en la lucha, co-mothers in the struggle for justice and beauty. I deserve to live such a dream. And so do you.

That’s my why. And this why undergirds every ounce of my marketing plans, which are truly the key to a book’s success.

Like many women authors, I used to seriously struggle with marketing.

There was something about the very idea of marketing that conjured up images of a sleazy used car salesman with greasy hair and oil-slicked palms eager to pry money out of the hands of honest people. Gross. I didn’t want to be like that.

As I’ve healed over the past couple years, though, I realized that didn’t have to be my picture of marketing. I’m a queer feminist, and I can market my book in queer, feminist ways rather than adhering to the scummy tactics of bro-marketing. Once I shifted my marketing mindset, here are a few creative marketing ideas I’ve implemented for my own book and in the book marketing coaching at Tehom Center Publishing.

Queering the American Dream book covers, before and after

1. Align your book cover with your brand.

The book cover of the hardback of Queering the American Dream was a mess! In addition to being an author and publisher, I’m also an artist. Instead of staying in my lane as a writer, I insisted on having my folk goddess art on the cover of my book. While the art was beautiful, the cover was muddled, incohesive, and it didn’t align with my book brand at all.

Fast-forward to the paperback relaunch—the new cover is simple, and it uses both brand colors and fonts that are not only trending in 2024 cover designs, but also align perfectly with my personal and business brand.

The original cover didn’t lend itself well to creative Instagram graphics, giveaway bookmarks, or promotional materials. Yet, with the new brand-aligned cover, I have stickers, bookmarks, post cards, a selfie frame, graphics, promotional materials, earrings, and even a T-shirt to get readers excited about the book.

2. Reimagine book events and book tours.

I am 100% in favor or supporting your local bookstore by having a book event there, especially if it’s woman-, queer-, or BIPOC-owned. But I also encourage all my authors to get more creative when planning book events.

Throughout summer, I’m celebrating Pride with a 10-week-long book tour with most of the event locations quite out of the ordinary! First up, is a big weekly women’s networking group. Because it gathers weekly, there’s already an audience of over 100 members, who regularly attend, and I’m simply shifting the focus of my book talk to include an entrepreneurial angle. There’s food, photography, themed cookies, selfie stations with QR codes leading to my book page, and a warm audience ready to read.

In another state, I’m partnering with my favorite drag queen for “Drag Storytime for Children and Adults,” tweaking my book talk slightly to be funnier and child-friendly. That same selfie-station joins with Pride-themed face painting for an event that appeals to all ages. From there, I begin a preaching tour.

You read that correctly. Yes, I am a former clergywoman, but you’d be surprised at how many progressive churches are delighted to host book events that align with their values. In my case, I’m working with far-left faith communities interested in queer activism, feminism, and anti-racism work. It’s a built-in audience typically eager to learn with small groups already in place for book studies.

Along the way, there will be events at a public library, a tourism conference, and a bar hosting Sapphic Sundays.

Good, feminist book marketing involves being more creative than simply reading an excerpt at a bookstore and then signing a handful of books. Do that. But also expand your imagination and ignite the senses of readers with the sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and textures of your book at events. Partner with a mixologist to have themed cocktails, mocktails, or a signature tea blend. Create a book soundtrack or playlist. Maybe decide the “flavor” of each book chapter and develop a tasting menu in collaboration with a local restaurant.

3. Slow down!

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I first launched my last book was to treat launch like a sprint. I wanted fifty different feature articles, reviews, companion essays, and podcasts all launching the week my book came out. After one—not fifty—splashy piece came out in Forbes, I was already so exhausted and depressed that I couldn’t muster the energy to write or pitch anything else.

Now, I coach all my authors—including myself—to treat book launch like a beautiful, year-long hike along a meandering trail. Sure, there will be some steep, uphill climbs, especially during that first week of publication, but there will also be plenty of preplanned, meandering moments when you can stop and enjoy the scenery. We create a one-year launch plan with a mixture of big and small promotions that spread book magic every week rather than trying to cram it all into one sleepless launch week. Maybe you’ll get a splashy review during launch week, a couple companion essays a few weeks later, some podcasts the following month, and an earnest Facebook promotion from your great aunt to her 347 friends. All those big and small marketing efforts add up to have a lasting impact long after launch has ended.

Slow down. Reimagine book events. And align your book cover with your brand. These small marketing steps can help you successfully (re)launch your book into the world in a way that aligns with your values.



Angela Yarber

Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber is the award-winning author of 8 books and the founder of Tehom Center Publishing, an imprint publishing feminist and queer authors, with a commitment to elevate BIPOC writers. An academic, author, activist, and artist, she holds a Ph.D. in Art and Religion and is a highly sought public speaker. Through Tehom Center Publishing, she publishes feminist and queer authors at absolutely no cost to writers, in addition to offering book coaching programs empowering authors in book writing, book marketing, and authorpreneurship. Her work has been featured in Forbes, NPR, HuffPo, Ms. Magazine, the television show Tiny House Nation, and more. Currently in St. Petersburg, FL, she lives and travels the world with her wife and two children doing book tours, art shows, speaking engagements, and leading retreats as a comadre en la lucha.


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