A review of Open Secrets: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Book

Reviewed by Brice Maiurro

Open Secrets
The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Book
Tupelo Press
ISBN: 978-1-946482-57-0, $18.95

When I stepped into Denver’s literary community about ten years ago, I was entering a big world doe-eyed and ill-prepared as I could be. I didn’t have a college degree, I knew nothing about how to get published, and I’d never hosted a literary event in my life. For what it’s worth, I did find my way. I started attending open mics and listening to what the poets were saying, how they promoted their works, and I watched what they were doing on social media. When I decided I wanted to publish books, Google was a good friend. Over the course of that ten years, I went from a scrub to running a well-known local press having published eight titles and hosting hundreds of events both locally and across the United States. What I wish I’d had from day one is a guidebook like Tupelo Press’ new release Open Secrets: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Book.

Tupelo is the perfect press to release a book like this. Founded in 2001, their twenty years of knowledge shines through, as does a pragmatism that I’m afraid could be lost if one of the big five publishers attempted to publisher a similar book. It’s apparent that Tupelo has a history of what they refer to on their website’s call for submissions as “energetic publicity and promotion.” That energy is contained in the dense sixty-some pages of Open Secrets.

Open Secrets acknowledges the necessity in our times for an author to also be an avid marketer, extra timely in its considerations of publishing in the age of COVID-19. They approach their strategy of marketing in the three sections of the book: image, industry, and the publisher’s role. The book emphasizes how an effective marketing strategy should begin long before your book is in the world, and in swift segments breaks down the blueprint for making this happen. The guide looks at so many questions I myself had as a young person entering the literary world, such as how do I diversify my efforts? How do I find my people? Does word-of-mouth really work? It also answers some common curiosities, such as how long before a release does a press promote a book?

The book functions not only as a go-to for best marketing practices, but also as a road map to other valuable resources. Open Secrets is the kind of book I’ll keep beside me at my desk, ready to reference a plethora of websites and other resources for further expansion on things such as pre-launch strategy, online and in-person communities to engage with, and a full-on “Review, Interview and Submission Directory.” In the later chapters of the book, Tupelo even expands to draw on the resources and wisdom of some great Tupelo authors’, sharing quotes and successful manners of approaching the often-intimidating world of publishing and the marketing that inherently comes along with it.

As I look to my next ten years in the literary world and onward, I find myself grateful that Tupelo’s best kept secrets have been released out into the open, accessible to those who need them the most. Open Secrets serves as an excellent companion to any author, publisher, or book marketer looking to be in conversation with a press of proven merit.

About the reviewer: Brice Maiurro is a poet from Denver, Colorado. He is the Editor-In-Chief of South Broadway Press. He is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Hero Victim Villain and Stupid Flowers. His work has been featured by The Denver Post, Boulder Weekly, and Poets Reading the News.