Monday, September 26, 2011

Marketing - A Learning Curve

THE CORNISH HOUSE comes out in May 2012 (gulp and squee at the same time). And you can pre-order it here on Amazon (a fact which still blows my mind)....but it does make it seem more 'real' somehow.

I am unbelievably excited. In fact so excited that I almost dance when I tell people about it. This embarrasses the children no end because according to them I tell everyone - no one is spared... from the check out person to the stranger next to me on a plane. And how can I not tell them??? This is the dream that I have wanted all my life and through hard work and persistence I have made it happen.

But now comes the hard part, or a more difficult part...I need to help these books sell. People meeting me now have a hard time believing that I am a shy person. I am. However I have learned to shove that to the back for certain situations in my life. I am also now of an age where I care a whole lot less about what people actually think of me. This helps...a lot.

I digress....I have a book to sell and I know in the current market a lot of that work will fall on my shoulders. This is début from an unknown. I am not connected to anyone famous.  I have not been on a reality tv show. I am a wife, a mother, an expat, a friend....all wonderful things - the best, unless, of course, you need to market yourself.

So while I have been writing book after book I have been watching others to learn what they have done. What seems to work and what doesn't. I am so grateful to all the writers who have shared their wisdom. So I thought I would share what I have learned so far...

1. Be excited - it's contagious...and it makes approaching people like booksellers easier (it's still like having your teeth pulled). Because I am still pinching myself, I shove aside the 'I can't say anything and draw attention to myself'...I have to or this book won't sell or won't sell as well. In the face of my enthusiasm...people smile. They are probably thinking she is mad let's humour her, but they just may remember the mad woman who danced in front of them when they see the title on a list...

2. Ask...this a hard part. Asking for help...but if you don't then there is no possibly of that review or article or window display

3. Be professional....I hear this again and again from uber successful authors and it's true. I may be dancing with excitement, but at the same time I remember that this is my job. So if the proverbial door gets slammed in my face that's just part of the job. Walk away and move onto the next... (remember all the practice of getting rejection after rejection...)

4. Think out of the box....the likelihood of getting a review in the women's magazine or papers is slim (I am hoping that it's not impossible, but I'm not holding my breath). So I have put on my thinking hat...who is my reader? Since I don't know that yet I went back to - who did I write the book for??? Well, me. I wrote the book for women like me who are living there lives struggling with all that entails. Hang with me here...so I looked at my life. What do I do, what do i read....what do i listen to and so on. Yes, I do read the book reviews in magazine and newspapers, but I also read other things like property magazines, blogs, school newsletters.... So when trying to plan where to find places to promote - look at your life, your friends, your children, your work place and so on....could you do an article for the school newsletter? The church one? For me I might try and go back to the corporate magazine I wrote articles for in the past (expat life and travelling with children could become finding a career after being a trailing spouse...). I think you get the idea....even if the distribution of the church newsletter is 50 it's a start and its good practice for the next book...

At the moment I'm collecting blogs...blogs on Cornwall and blogs on old houses and living in them. I am also girding my loins to ask people if I can do an article or be interviewed...I keep reminding myself that if you don't ask you don't get....

On that note...have you liked my Facebook Page yet? I'm not convinced about their usefulness, but until I hear otherwise I'll keep going with it....

P.S. I'll let you know if any of this works...

21 comments:

Sarah Morgan said...

Liz, I'm not surprised you're excited - it IS exciting and I'm sure the book is going to sell really, really well. I can't wait to read it :)

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Sarah...I think the really scary part will be when people are reading...nail biting

lx

S C Ransom said...

Hi Liz
All so very true- the writing is nit the hard bit! My debut was published in January so I'm well into my own marketing campaign. One other tip I would add is to grasp any PR which your publisher arranges with great enthusiasm. It'll help them arrange more if you're keen and available. Good luck!
Sue

catdownunder said...

Why shouldn't you be excited? It is a BIG achievement. Reading what you have just said terrifies me too! But you WILL do it.

liz fenwick said...

Sue - thank you for that...I will grab with both hands. Good luck with your PR too!

Cat...it's terrifying but it has to be done so one puts a brave face...which is a heck of a lot easier because I am so darn excited :-)

lx

liz fenwick said...

Sue - just checked out your website and loved your book trailer...question did you do it yourself or did you have help? You don't have to answer if you don't want to...

One other question...what age is you book geared to YA is quite wide...I'm asking because I think dd may like it but she's 12....

lx

marthawilliams.org said...

Congratulations on your book! Have you planned a blog tour? A friend of mine's currently thumping his way through a 30+ day blog tour, one interview a day. With all the ensuant tweeting and FB links, it seems to spread the word pretty well. (No idea what it does to sales, I haven't got there myself yet -- but I did buy a copy of his book!) On an unrelated note, your blog's making me smile -- I've done some of those Helford walks -- we've spent many summers sailing around the Fal & Helford.

Marcus Speh said...

risked a rare glance at cornwall from berlin this morning. fondest of memories: bicycle tour along the coastline. it helped that the tent was much too small. good luck with your book—i like your presentation & keep blogging and blowing your horn, it's the way of the writing warrior/ess. i'm trying to find a publisher myself right now for a story collection. i've begun to call it "book" on my site already...title and cover art done. embraced Red Lemonade as a new publishing experiment etc. let's exchange some lucky charms. life will never be boring, the way you go at it! cheers from berlin!

saffinadesforges said...

Great post Liz and so true! As others have said, the writing it the easy bit!

Good luck with your book and your marketing strategy. I think the key bit to remember is - enjoy the ride!

I don't know if you're aware of it, but Kindleboards is a great place to start. http://www.kindleboards.com

Saffi

JO said...

Do keep us posted on how you get on - you are learning for all of us.

Sue Guiney said...

This is all so exciting. And you're absolutely right -- in this day and age the author has to assume she'll do the bulk of the promotion herself, regardless of the size of her publisher. And it doesn't stop. I'm still doing it all, if not more, with my second book. I think all your ideas sound great. But here's couple of more -- especially from one expat to another. Don't forget book clubs, women's groups, events like that. Actually getting out and doing readings and signings and meeting your readers. Like you said - ask, and most will be thrilled to have you. And don't forget to start working on your next book.That's the only way you'll remember what you're doing all this for!
I'm thrilled for you. And if you think it might be helpful for me to interview you on my blog, just ask.

Helen said...

I'm still excited for you so I'm not surprised that you're excited! I love your marketing ideas and the ideas mentioned in the comments. I think you've got exactly the right attitude and approach. x

Frances Garrood said...

Enjoy the excitiement adn anticipation, Liz. It's such a great time, isn't it?

I wish I'd known what I know now when my first book was published. I did virtually nothing, and would do so much more if I had my time again. You seem to have all the right ideas, and deserve lots of luck!

Debs Carr said...

I'm so thrilled for you and don't forget I'd love to review, A Cornish House, interview you and also love to have a My Writing Place piece from you for Novelicious.

Anything I can do (blog tour etc) please just ask.

charlotteotter said...

Well my blog is neither about Cornwall, nor about old houses, but you're welcome to do some marketing on Charlotte's Web! Let's talk closer to the time.

Voula Grand said...

Loved your piece, and your advice... as a just published debut novelist myself, your good sense is grounding, thank you! And good luck... Now must rush to Amazon and buy your book! x

liz fenwick said...

Martha...I'm working on the idea of a blog tour and trying to reach out beyond my normal haunts on blogs (reading/writing ones). I often wonder if these tours make a difference but like you I too have bought books based on them so we can't be the only ones. So pleased you enjoyed the posts on the walks :-)
lx

liz fenwick said...

Marcus good luck on your publisher search...from what little I know trying to place short stories is a tougher market. Fingers crossed for you.

Saffi - i am enjoying the ride tremendously...I will venture towards the Kindle boards (biting nails)today! Thanks.

lx

liz fenwick said...

JO - I will keep you posted. i think it's important to share the knowledge!

Sue - thank you for your wise words...will add all to my list. Sacred to death of readings though...but that has to do with my dyslexia more than anything else! Oh, and yes, the pesky next book...

lx

liz fenwick said...

Helen... thanks and I agree the ideas raised in the comments have been superb

Thanks Francis...what would you do if you could do it all again? What do you think or have you learned would make a difference?

lx

liz fenwick said...

Debs - thanks and you were on my list to ask :-)

Thanks Charlotte will be in touch!

Voula - thank you! Can you share what you have done?

lx