Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Marketing 101

Writing is a work of love. You are creating a story from words and letters. It is a birth of sorts.

On the flip side, marketing is the cold reality of writing that hits you after the birth of your literary baby. Like diapers, long and sleepless nights, spit-up and colic. 

So your book is finished. You set up a page announcing the happy occasion, usually on Facebook, and send out announcements, letting everyone you know about this new darling you created. You also have an author page, with all the bells and whistles (or in my case, the best that FrontPage offers. At my age, I wouldn't have understood any new bells anyway.)

               (My profound thanks to my publisher, Karen Fuller, for this fine banner.) 

But that isn't enough, whether you are self-published or with a large publishing house (and I did ask someone who is with Scholastic), you have to work hard to get the word out. My problem is, I am no spring chicken. This isn't the old days where you invested in a box of envelopes, a roll of stamps, found addresses in a book of contacts, and you shipped out notices and request for reviews. (Of course in the old days, you found a publisher or that manuscript ended up filling the desk drawer to be found later by your kids.) Now you find groups on Facebook (how about four and a half pages of groups . . . and counting! And again, my thanks to my publisher for finding those.)  

When I was bemoaning my fate at all the hours I had spent on FB, a librarian friend of mine suggested I join Twitter. "I don't tweet! The birds do that," I exclaimed. When I got serious, I added, "I don't have a smart phone." I got the strangest look. Oh, I realized, Twitter isn't just for smart phones. I joined Twitter. Learned 2 do short. 

Next advice was to get on Pinterest. I had already joined that one to get ideas for library lessons. Still trying to figure out that place. Very confusing to me. Then someone says, "Instagram!" Sounds fun, but I spent a butt-load of time on Facebook and Twitter paying attention to the important and deleting the unnecessary. (Didn't they say something about that in the FranklinCovey Leadership training?) I remembered another lesson in delegation and said, "Oh, no, one of my kids said they do that. I will let them pass the word along there." There were other social suggestions, but I can't even remember what their names are. 

Another suggestion was Goodreads. They are all about books. It's fun to talk about books, but then I have to remember why I am there.  I still have to figure it out. 

There is still a lot of good old-fashioned legwork. Probably the most satisfying moment recently came when I did a reading at a local Barnes & Noble last month, (no, not my book, Harper Lee's), and met the manager. Several steps later, my book is being sold in a B & N. That is one of those feel good moments.

If I wasn't working full time, I could spend most of day on the computer marketing. Since I am, (school is back in session), I now have to see where the biggest bang for my hour a night is going to be and go after it. Any time left over will see me happily creating more book babies.

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