Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marketing - A Learning Curve Part 3

As happened with my first post on marketing, the suggestions raised in the comments were superb. So I've put them up here before I reveal my next marketing suggestion.

Kate Lord Brown provided a key tip...remember you are promoting your BOOK not YOU, which in theory should make it easier...maybe even easier if I pretend it's a friend book....

The brilliant Sarah Duncan (all aspiring writers must read her blog) provided the following tips from her experience...
'Coverage in the national media has, for me, been the most important re sales. The publicists know all the relevant people but I think you make their job easier by:

- writing a list of pitches for possible articles you could write

- providing a list of anyone or any place where you have a connection.

- Offering to contact local papers & radio yourself - no publicist will have time do do this. All the circulations are down, but you'll still get some coverage.

- coming up with 'angles' about yourself - but don't offer any personal info that you don't want them to use.'

And Jane Rusbridge suggested joining forces with other writers to organize writers' events because it's easier when you are not on your own (so true and I could promote some else's book while they did mine...)

So now onto a marketing tip that should be done well in advance of even finishing your first book.... Volunteer. Yes, this is something you can do even before you write THE END on book one. I can hear the cries that it will take away from writing time - true but what it gives back is amazing.

I joined the RNA in 2005. I attended the conferences, parties and made friends. I listened and watched. But things really took off for me when I volunteered to 'own' the RNA blog and shortly thereafter I pushed the RNA into twitter with RNAtweets. Because of my involvement with the RNA and twitter I became friends with my agent long before she was'mine'...and as they say the rest is history.

I love books so offering to help the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature was a natural thing...and the connections I have made through this will hopefully stay with me a long it was brilliant fun.

These two examples became part of my writing became part of being professional. It demonstrated that I took writing and the industry seriously. Because of the work for the RNA, I allowed myself more time to study the benefits of blogging etc. I treated it as a job. At the literary festival I learned I could stand up in front of a crowd and introduced authors (and get a close-up of how the pros do it)...and at one point last year I began a writing workshop because of a timing mix up....

So volunteering, I think is key to, shall we say, pre-marketing....

Tomorrow I have one more tip, if that's what it is....


D.J. Kirkby said...

I am so pleased to read that you are all for volunteering as I have read a lot of posts who say an author should never be willing to sell themselves short by doing unpaid appearances. I think it takes time to raise your profile high enough for people to want to pay for appearances.

liz fenwick said...

DJ - I'm big on volunteering...especially early on. I do believe in giving back and the RNA has nurtured me and I believe in books so the Lit Fest is another cause I'm happy to give me time.

I think as a career goes you have to look at things on a case by case basis...what the 'cause' means to you personally, what you will gain from it personally, and the cost of your time.

I can imagine the more successful you are the more pulls on your time which each less writing time...its a balance.

I do think at the start or pre-start to a writer's career giving of your time, your vital.

Liz Harris said...

What an excellent series of articles, Liz. Many thanks for them. I have learnt masses from them, which I hope like mad I shall have occasion to use on a book of my own before too long.

Good luck with the face-to-face sessions with readers. Not that you need luck - I'm sure you'll be brilliant.

Liz X

liz fenwick said...

Liz - I'm so pleased you've enjoyed them and I have a feeling that you will be putting them to use soon.

Sarah Duncan said...

Thanks for calling the blog brilliant!

Volunteering to help out when you're unpublished is one thing, because you're swapping your time and energy in exchange for making contacts and garnering useful information.

And at the start of one's career you do lots of things for free because you're promoting your books.

However there comes a point when, given a choice between doing an event or sitting at home watching the TV with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio, putting your feet up wins every time - unless money is involved.

As Liz says, you look at things on a case by case basis. Getting involved in the publishing world I think is vital at the beginning, in whatever capacity.

liz fenwick said...

Sarah...ah yes the wine vs money :-)