A WRITER'S WIT
When you're 50 you start thinking about things you haven't thought about before. I used to think getting old was about vanity - but actually it's about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial.
Born October 16, 1888
Marketing the Self-Published Book
This week I’d like to share with you some thoughts that author friend Marian Szczepanski recently shared with me concerning the marking of one’s book, developing one’s platform. If her name seems familiar, it is because earlier I profiled her book, Playing St. Barbara, and she herself appeared as a guest blogger to talk about how she came to write her novel. And I have to say that when I check my stats each month, her guest post still receives up to thirty or forty hits! This helps to demonstrate my point that these days, an author must pull out all the stops (this from a former organist) when it comes to marketing his or her book.
Marian began her e-mail to me with “Ah, marketing. It’s the little invisible creature on your shoulder that keeps hissing, ‘More! More!’ There is no avoiding it if you want people outside your family and immediate circle of friends to know your book exists. I learned very early on that the engine behind any book . . . is the author. And a freelance publicist, if you can afford one.” [I can't.]
Marian continued with a number of ideas. Let me share them with you.
TEACHING—“One way,” Marian declares, “to get yourself and your book ‘out there’ is teaching.” At the time she had secured a gig through her publisher at the Ozark Creative Writers conference, where she taught a session entitled “Fabrication from Facts: Researching Historical Fiction,” as well as one called “Writing Good Sex for Great Fiction,” where “the real premise of the class is teaching craft basics (characterization, setting, tension, tension, tension) through the lens of sex scenes.” I can vouch for Marian’s idea about teaching. I took three different workshops from writer Pam Houston, largely because she writes in a way that exploits her autobiographical material, and it took all three for me to grasp fully what she was trying to teach. Also I own every book she’s ever written! When you teach, people buy your books.
BLOG TOUR—Marian used TLC Book Tours. Information at TLC states “TLC Book Tours is a virtual book tour site. Virtual book tours are a promotional tool for authors to connect with readers via well-read book blogs and specialty blogs.” This is something Marian took advantage of. You must apply, and I understand there is a fee, but according to Marian the money is worth it. “All kinds of books go on blog tours, and a large percentage come out of by NYC houses.” So if you get in, it would seem you are in good company.
GUEST BLOGGING—Marian wrote one for The Quivering Pen (20,000 hits a month) called “My First Cover.” She also suggests writing for The Rumpus. She even suggests whipping up something for the NYT.
ADVANCED REVIEWS—These are still a sore point with Marian because of a mix-up in which her publisher assigned two books the same ISBN number, and the other book came out first! Ew. But since I’ll be sending these out as a self-publisher, I myself will be contacting the likes of Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal, and others, like ForeWord (the only one that may honor self-published authors). I will be doing a great deal of homework learning about advanced reviews, press reviews, and the like!
I will speak more of Marian’s ideas next week. Please return.
NEXT WEEK: DIY Publishing 101-F, More About Marketing