Joanna Campbell Slan
Great having you here, Chester!
My first book is coming out July 7 and I’m working as hard on the publicity as I did on the writing. (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Preserving Food). I’m going the guest blogging route and also doing a road trip- Seattle to San Diego and Boise to Boston to promote it at hardware stores (sources for canning supplies) and book stores along the way. I’ve updated my website (www.karenkbrees.com) with an Events tab to publicize the tour and a Blog tab to link my blog and website. Also on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. Created a new group on Facebook (Practical Preserving) and will link that to the blog. While this book is nonfiction, I think the same techniques apply. My next book is a mystery 9of course) and I’ll have the groundwork in place.
Sounds like you’re doing a great job, Karen. Have you considered writing articles for magazines related to canning and such? When my first mystery came out, I did an article for the University of Tennessee alumni magazine, which goes to thousands of alums. There are all kinds of possibilities out there.
Chester, get paper and do some free associating. On one sheet put your name in the center inside a circle. On another, do the same, only put the book title in the circle. Then draw spokes out and write down ideas that relate to the book or to you. For you, start with every place you’ve lived and every job you’ve held, and go on from there. For your book, put down every topic touched on, even if you’re not an expert on them.
Do this until you run out of ideas. Then start thinking of how you could promote your book to each spoke.
(This makes more sense when I teach it in a workshop with visual aids.)
Chester,My experience with my first book is much the same as yours was, sounds like. I’m spending a lot of time on marketing and finding little time to get my revisions done for the sequel. But I’m hoping the learning curve will get easier as I progress! Good luck on your tour. I’ll be doing one the last two weeks in May.Heidi, Cowgirl Dreamshttp://www.heidimthomas.com
Karen, everything you learn, you can apply (although perhaps with some modification) to selling your fiction. I know, because I did.
Helen, I like the free association. I use it to brainstorm and I think stepping outside of linear thinking is very useful.
Chester, here’s a question for you. Do you ever wonder when you’ve done enough? Ever have problems prioritizing?
Prioritizing is something I have difficulty with, Joanna. It doesn’t seem like I’ve ever done quite enough. I can always find something else I missed. Like Helen’s circles and spokes. It has all sorts of possibilities.
I’ll need to do a bit of juggling, though. Both newspapers I worked for are long gone. The ad agency and PR agencies are gone. The governor I wrote speeches for is long dead. The trade association I ran for 18 years has changed its name and structure and no longer resembles the one I worked for. Guess I’ve been around too long. I’ll have to try the book part.
Think “off the beaten path,” as a member of our local writing group did to promote her book: You can’t smell the flowers if you’re pushing up daisies. She talked to some local nurseries and persuaded them to carry her book. Seems like if you can think of something related to your book, but not necessarily the typical location…I wouldn’t try the local poison control center. But I can’t help with suggestions because I don’t have a sense of what your book is about. Free association might help you come up with something. If you come to the Seattle Tacoma area, I’ll stop by one of your signings.
Sherry from Cozy Armchair
Thanks Chester!Great idea. I’ll start the old brain cogitating.
Sherry, I like that. Hmmm. So I went to a scrapbooking site and signed up to have a blog there. That’s on MY path since my book’s about a scrapper. We’ll see, huh? I wish there was one central hub for all these sites.
Chester, can you stop back by tomorrow in case anyone visits tonight? I wouldn’t want folks to miss out on getting to “chat” with you.
I’ll pick a winner tomorrow at 5 p.m., so everyone check back, okay? I know you want to try these benne seed wafers. They’re like peanut brittle but buttery-er.
One of the more creative marketing ideas I have heard of was a local author persuading local nurseries to carry her book, “You Can’t Smell the Roses if You’re Pushing Up Daisies.” Our small, novice group, published two anthologies, and we learned a lot about marketing and promotion (and did a lot of booths at summer fairs and farmer’s markets). Good luck, Chester, it sounds like a keeper.Sherry of Cozy Armchair group
Thanks, Sherry. I haven’t figured out how to tie in the poison part, either. The plot involves chemical pollution of the water supply, so I don’t think too many water companies would be interested. Jaz LeMieux, the number two character, is board chairman of a chain of truck stops. I think I’ll see if there are any possibilities there.
Thanks for hosting me, Joanna. I’ll stick around and watch for any more comments.
Chester, do you think promotions are MORE a part of an author’s job than ever? Can you detect a change in the emphasis?
HeidiWriter–You are our winner. Email me at email@example.com and put CHESTER in the subject line so I can mail you your yummy benne seed wafers!
Thanks to all for participating! And a special thanks to Chester!
Coming late to the party, Joanna, but I do think we need to be more proactive in the promotion part of our job today. With people spending less these days and the mass of books out there to choose from, we’re faced with a big task to see that ours are noticed.
I don’t believe you should give up on your spokes so easily. Other people worked for those organizations. Where are they now? Are they on LinkedIn? Has anyone created alumni type organizations? Is anyone writing a personal column in a newspaper? Are any anniverseries coming up for any of those orgs – birth or death? What about the govenor – any current events that could be tied to your work for him? You just never know.
Definitely promotion is as time consuming as the original writing.
Yesterday I spoke to Yosemite Romance Writers, today I’m going to a book fest. Next weekend is the L.A. Times Book Festival where I have three signing times.
Mostly though, I do Internet stuff like Chester.
Who knows how well any of it works, but if you don’t do it, you certainly won’t have results.
Marilyn a.k.a. F.M. Meredith
Gosh, Marilyn, you said it. What if we quit? Then we get none of the benefit, and that’s about all we know for sure.
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