Blogger: Michelle Ule
Location: Santa Rosa, Calif.
My comments about home parties from yesterday not withstanding, probably the people most interested in your book finally being published are your long- suffering family and friends. They’re the ones who have heard for years that you were writing a book; now you can show them a published copy.
That doesn’t mean they necessarily want to buy your book, but they’ll cheer you on–after they ask if you’ll give them a copy.
But not all of my relatives (read: the older ones with money) are on Facebook; so they’ll miss the release announcement made there. Not all my friends are on Facebook, either, and yet many have encouraged me. How do I let them know the book has been published without sounding like, well, Professor Harold Hill from The Music Man?
This is my plan.
People have been telling me for years how much they love and look forward to my Christmas letter. I even have had friends write about my Christmas letter in their Christmas letters (talk about pressure!).
I announced in the 2010 letter that The Dogtrot Christmas would be coming out in September. I encouraged folks to follow my writing on Facebook and my blog. I told them I’d let everyone know when the book was published. I got lots of positive feedback and rejoicing congratulations.
The best way to reach all these folks is through e-mail; so I’m going to announce the book’s release that way. But I want to be careful about my message.
It can’t be boastful. It needs to be winsome and full of other news, it can’t just be about my book. Or at least I don’t think so. Besides, why waste a good e-mail with one piece of good news if you have three exciting announcements in one summer?
Writing should be about meeting readers’ felt needs or, at the very least, entertaining them.
With changes made to protect privacy, here’s the e-mail I’m sending out this week to some 150 people:
Subject Line: A New Baby, a Family Adventure and a Shameless Sales Pitch
Dear Christmas Card friends and family:
We have a new addition to the family! J and A had a little girl, SR, on June 25. At 7 pounds, 4 ounces, she’s the smallest Ule baby I’ve ever seen . . . She has a sweet personality, and A is a lovely mother. All three of the adorable grandchildren have been blessed with wonderful mothers–and we’re very thankful. I’ll attach a recent photo of us from when N came home for a visit.
In other news, R, C and I recently returned from the jungle of Nicaragua following an eight-day eyeglass clinic mission trip. I’ve been blogging about the experience here.
A fantastic opportunity, we were honored and humbled to serve almost 1,100 people. We traveled with a 12-member team from our church, and after five days down river, we visited a lovely resort on the Pacific Ocean; so we got a vacation along with the satisfaction of seeing positive results from helping so many people.
And in final news, the novella I wrote will be published in A Log Cabin Christmas Collection on September 1. I’m in the marketing phase, now, and just have to let people know it’s out there. My story is The Dogtrot Christmas, and since this is a romance collection with Christmas themes, it can make an inexpensive gift for people who like that genre. Here’s the Amazon link, FYI. Feel no obligation to buy. 🙂
That’s it from me!
P.S. To whet your appetite, I’ve attached the first chapter of the story.
I sent out a version of this e-mail two weeks ago to six friends and received back three enthusiastic, “You sold me with the chapter.” That’s a 50 percent return . . .
Here in Santa Rosa, I have several other groups of friends to inform about my book. Our church is in on it, and we’ll probably have a launch party there, but the business manager and I had a lengthy conversation about how to celebrate without making people feel obligated to purchase something. The last thing I want to do is turn a church into a marketing tool. I’m quite familiar with Jesus’ comments about the money changers and sellers in the temple.
To that end, we’ll have a small party with log cabin-themed games, a cake decorated with the cover, and me telling a story from the book. I’m not going to sell anything, but will tell them where they can purchase a copy if they want one.
Similarly, I’m giving away copies of the book to my local Pregnancy Counseling Center as a fund-raising donation.
I’ll post a flyer of the book cover at the gym, the library and outside my husband’s cubicle at work, with direction on where in the community to purchase copies. My colleagues all know about the book . . .
This book is my newest baby, though it weighs considerably less than 7 pounds 4 ounces. The writing has been a total family adventure. I just don’t want to be shameless in the sharing of a story I really love.
What are your thoughts on marketing to friends, family, and acquaintances? How has your church handled events like this in a respectful manner? Do you see any problems with what I’ve done? (I’m not sending that e-mail until tomorrow . . . ) Any other ideas about how to tastefully let people know you’ve published a book?