Monday, December 05, 2011

Marketing - A Learning Curve Part 5 (I am a Product)

me - thinking hard
Here are the posts I did a little while ago on marketing and PR in case you missed them.

marketing - a learning curve
marketing - a learning curve part 2
marketing - a learning curve part 3
marketing - a learning curve part 4

I'm now only six months from publication of THE CORNISH HOUSE. Uncorrected proof copies are out in the world and people are reading it - GULP(more about this another time). The book is no longer 'mine' it belongs to who ever reads it. If it works, which I hope it does, it becomes the reader's THE CORNISH HOUSE. But God is this scary - as my kids would say sh*t scary - of course they would never say this in front of me!

These proof copies are a key marketing tool and I have begun posting them to reviewers and interviewers - fingers crossed they love it. But as I prepare to send these out and draft yet another email to another magazine or blog I have to think of myself as a product. I want to promote the book, but that may not be what they want. They want an article they can feature that fits their publication...

So I have to step back and think about myself differently. It is a time to put all bashfulness aside and ask...
- What about me is different?
- What about me is interesting? (nothing i hear you say, but look harder and go all the way back to primary school if you must)
- Think of the meme things that were so popular on blogs a few years ago - you know the ones where you confessed the world that you had been a runner up in a beauty pageant (yup - yes at 18 or 19, memory happily fails - trying for a branch in the Boston area of the Irish American Rose of Tralee Contest and a trip to Ireland) and that you won a poetry contest (not to my knowledge) etc...

I have been reading back copies of writing magazines, Alison Baverstock's book - MARKETING YOUR BOOK: An Author's Guide, and looking through my notes from Jane Wenham-Jones' talk at the RNA conference this summer. You do have to separate yourself from yourself if that makes sense. Make a decision about what you are willing to send with the wide world. You need to know what you are comfortable with sharing. How do your family feel about being dragged in? Be sure you know before you proceed!

So in order to put together a list for the publicity department at my publishers, Orion I had to dig deep - in fact it was more like having your tooth drilled without the benefit of pain relief. I also can say I haven't done a very good job but I did do it. I would suggest before you begin making little paragraphs - a simple list of one or two words...

For me it began with ...
- writer (stating the obvious but then it's not longer a blank list)
- wife
- mother of 3
- expat expert
- cat lover
- traveler
- fearful flyer
and so on... you get the idea. With that list it's easier to build pitch paragraphs and you need them. You need to be thinking out of the box all the a debut author (by the way see Nicola Morgan's post here and make sure you click through and read Nicola's interview with Catherine Ryan Howard) chances are you won't be reviewed so you need to look at other ways to get your name and your books name out there...

This is where the list comes in handy...I was reading a writing mag on the flight on Friday. They mentioned a new magazine in Bahrain. So I dog eared the page and then yesterday I did some on-line research to see what the magazine was about...once I figured that out, I went to my list to find a fit....and twenty minutes later I had drafted an email to the editor highlighting a feature of my life that might just fit their magazine. Look at it like the children's game where you have a list of names on one side and pictures on the other....

me -losing the plot completely!
This also help to keep 'you' out of it...after all you are just taking a little paragraph and matching it to their needs....simple - sort of....

Have you ever thought of yourself as a product?

(the pictures were taken by the wonderful Adam Gibbard and you can find him here.)


Debs Carr said...

Lol! Love these photos, they made me laugh.

Good luck with the marketing. It must be strange having to think of yourself from a different perspective.

liz fenwick said...

Debs - it's very strange and I have a feeling this will happening to you soon too!

Liz Harris said...

Good tips there, Liz. Many thanks for that.

I'm getting out a pad and a pencil, and I'm going to think about what I could say/will admit to about me.

By the way, I love the pics.

Liz X

D.J. Kirkby said...

Lovely photos of you! I found this post quite helpful, and plan on following the links so I can read the rest too. With any luck I'll be able to follow your advice too :)

liz fenwick said...

DJ - thanks and I hope they help!

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

Hello Liz,
Congratulations and I will be following your path to publication as it's one I am about to tread too! I enjoyed Jane's book and found it enormously useful. All my promotion work has encouraged my publisher to accept a second book already, so I am doubly excited. I think the current difficult climate and the world of the internet have given a push to writers - we really must get out there and promote our books. Hope it goes well for you! ciao catherine

liz fenwick said...

Hi Catherine...well done on book two and all the promotion - the later being so necessary now. Best of luck with your launch in April.