Utah Residency, Optional

An LDS publisher recently requested to see a rewrite of my novel. (Hang on. Is that "An" or "A" LDS publisher? I'm going with "An" since it sounds better.) [Say it aloud and use the one that fits.] Obviously they haven't offered a contract, but for the sake of fantasizing, I'm going to pretend they will. Since I don't live in Utah, how will this affect the marketing of my book? For example, book signings, school visits, etc. Also, are LDS publishers wary of taking on authors who live outside of Utah for this very reason? Thanks in advance!

Since the huge majority of LDS books and products are sold in the Utah/Idaho corridor, living somewhere else means you won't have easy access to multiple promotional signings. It also means you won't be able to do co-op events with other LDS authors--like workshops or community events or Ladies Night at Deseret Book before conference. Unless, of course, you're willing to drive/fly out for a week or two and hit all the bookstores who'll have you. (That will probably not be paid for by your publisher, so think about taking a working family vacation.)

If there's an LDS bookstore in your area, we will set up a signing for you there and at any other local bookstores that will let us in. If you're going on vacation to an area that has LDS bookstores, we can try to set up a signing. You can also do RS workshops or firesides locally and within neighboring wards/stakes.

You're on your own with schools, as is every author. Living in Utah doesn't mean an automatic pass into the schools. It depends on the type of presentation you'll give, the content of your book and your connection with the school.

Pretty much anything else can be done regardless of where you live--thanks to the magic of telephone, fax, Internet, and good 'ole USPS. Radio shows, book reviews, websites, blogs, online interviews, press releases, postcards, catalogs, etc. can all be done no matter where you live.

So, no. Publishers won't turn you down if you live outside Utah as long as you're willing to make the effort and do what is within your ability and budget to help promote your book.


Tristi Pinkston said...

One thing to add to this -- sometimes it's a detriment to live in Utah. When you are sitting twelve feet from a Seagull and a DB, it's hard to get sales because people think, "Oh, I don't have to buy that book now. I'll pick it up next time I'm here." And then they never do. The fact that there's so much available here takes the urgency out of the purchase and sometimes that purchase never gets made. I do a lot better with my sales when I travel to more remote areas that don't have scads of LDS stores. So you might find that things go pretty well out where you are.

Stephanie Black said...

A publisher cares how good your book is and how marketable it is--not about your zip code. There are many successful LDS authors who don't live in Utah.

Jeff Savage said...

Nother big change I have seen over the last year or so is that Seagull and DB are cutting way back on author signings unless you are selling 30+ books at a signing.

Like LDS Pub suggested, you should plan on spending maybe a week when your books comes out to visit Utah bookstores if at all possible. But lots of signings are not that big of a deal anymore.

I would recommend that you come up with a good marketing plan, and make it part of your submission to any publisher.

Annette Lyon said...

Book signings are highly overrated--they really don't accomplish much. You can do a lot of promotion yourself from home now that the world is so connected.

Josi said...

To go along with what Jeff said, a marketing plan will go a long way. You will have the opportunity to show the publisher that you are aware that being non-Utahn presents some challenges, but that you are motivated to take advantage of what you can do and you understand how important marketing is to your book's publication.

Things anyone can do include Newsletters (even if it only goes to 5 people to begin with), blogging, e-mail campaigns, contests, mailers to book stores, local signings, radio interviews, newspaper interviews, online articles and a general online presence.

Good luck!