Just think, if you're reading this blog, you have a ringside seat to the marketing strategies of the first book of a new, unknown author. I'm making my marketing strategies up as I go along, but I've read a lot about this and am happy to let you know of my errors and good choices as things progress. Also, please feel free to write to me if you have any specific questions. Since I have a new independent publisher (read: approximately zero marketing dollars or industry connections), I'm basically doing all my own marketing tout-seul from scratch.
Some authors may think that marketing is *beneath them;* they want to just write in their garret, but IMHO (in my humble opinion) if no one knows about your book you could have written the next Great American Novel, and it would not get into anyone's hands. Maybe your heirs searching through your old desk drawer will find your manuscript in 50 years and be amazed.
Marketing is an intensive enterprise without magic bullets. It's like picking up grains of sand: each humble opportunity is important. I have a little *Marketing* section on the side of this blog, so scroll down for a few tips. Let me tell you what I've done so far:
Most frustrating for me, I've had to put further work on two half-finished manuscripts on hold (my novel Nest Among the Stars, and my nonfiction book The Story Template) because between marketing and family obligations, I don't have the energy to write as well. I probably could if I really really tried, but for me to write I have to go into a well, and I'm interrupted so much it's hard to get the start-up energy. Right now I'm barely keeping my head above water as it is.
Let me say for this next section that I'm normally a shy person, although I've learned a strategy to overcome this: basically, I pretend I'm someone else. It works!
The box with ARCs (advance reader copies) arrived on my doorstep at the very end of July 2008, delivery squeaking just in time to take copies with me to a writer's conference in August. I pushed my book quietly but shamelessly: I put it on my desk for each lecture and I recruited whoever I could to also visibly carry it around. At meals or other socializing times, when people asked what I wrote, I told them and showed them the book. I collected and passed out business cards, and followed up after the conference. I was fortunate enough as a new published author to participate in a panel, so got to talk about my book to a full auditorium. I promoted a contest for book reviews -- you can see the results by scrolling down the right-hand panel of this blog. Carmen Leal, who did a series of workshops on Marketing, saw my book on the desk, held it up, and told the class that she'd seen several people reading this book with great interest (God bless her!) I also approached several faculty -- authors, blog reviewers, and such -- and asked them if they'd consider endorsing the book if they liked it. If they said yes they'd consider it, I autographed and handed them a copy. At the end of the conference I had sold 15 ARCs from the consignment table, and was told this was a VERY good showing for fiction by a new author, especially since money was tight and the table was full of how-to titles and works by well-known authors. I was happy.
OK, this blog entry is getting too long so I'll continue tomorrow. Let me finish with a quick piece of news:
The ACFW Book Club Poll to select March's discussion book is now on until Saturday 1/17. This is a run-off vote between Michelle Griep's Gallimore and my A Lever Long Enough; I've posted descriptions of both books under yesterday's blog entry *Ohhh Nooo* These two books were selected from a previous poll last week of seven books under consideration.
If you think my book is worthwhile and would consider voting for me in this poll, I'd be very grateful. Michelle and I have had a brief correspondence and we're both on good terms no matter who wins. I am praying that either selection advances God's kingdom, but even so have to admit I'd like to win because this is a great opportunity. So.
To vote, go to this link HERE. The banner shows *1 Poll Closing* which is the one of interest, or you can go to the navigation menu on the left top of the screen and hit *Polls.* The poll to vote in is the second one down the page, and is labeled *Runoff.* (be careful because the original poll with 7 titles didn't close -- don't vote here by mistake!)
If you are not a member of the ACFW Book Club, you can join by going to the link (HERE it is again), and hitting the *Join* button on the top right hand side of the screen. It is a free group, a loop with emails that you can receive either singly or in a digest once a day. You can quit any time you want to, although hopefully it will be interesting to you in its own right! NOTE: If you're a member of the main ACFW loop, you don't automatically become a member of this loop: they are separate, so you have to join. It takes less than a minute.
I can't know who votes or not, so if you don't want to for whatever reason don't worry! Thank you for considering my request.
Quiet but shameless?
That's all for today.
14 hours ago