Blogger: Michelle Ule
Location: Santa Rosa, Calif.
Some people actually major in marketing in college and get degrees. They like to talk about new products and to sell things–it’s exciting to them.
I’m not one of those people.
Sure, I can appreciate a new product that will change my life for the better or a terrific book a friend assures me I’ll love. But to deliberately draw attention to myself or something I’ve done just makes me uneasy. I’m better in the background than out front.
But the publishing world doesn’t have much room these days for a reclusive writer hiding in an ivory tower penning words without notice. It’s a shame because people who write lean toward the more introspective curve of the personality chart.
So what do you do?
If you’re a famous writer with enormous advances, you can hire a publicity firm. Or your publishing house may provide you with expert advice and a marketing campaign.
I’m a first-time published author, one of nine writers for a Christmas novella collection. Even my long-suffering husband wasn’t prepared to call in the professionals for a marketing campaign.
So I did the next best thing.
At the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference earlier this year, I took the morning track called, “When You Need to Get Noticed: Breaking the Publicity Barrier” with Jeane and Tyson Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media.
This friendly couple, good humored and knowledgeable, led us through four days of intense discussion on publicity: what you need, how to get it, and what to do with it once it comes your way. As they spoke, the synapses went off in my brain, and I scribbled ideas all over my notebook.
Tyson is the IT branch of the company, and he carefully dissected Facebook, Twitter, Fusemail, Echosynch apps, book trailers and the broadcast media–to name just a few items. I had just enough personal experience to be able to follow what he said, and since he patiently answered questions, by the time we finished I knew a lot more about what I was doing in the land of the worldwide web. Thank you, Tyson.
Jeane explained how a marketing campaign works, giving us a rough timeline to follow and plenty of ways to creatively get out our message to the world. It felt so much more doable after listening to her.
I particularly appreciated how much they understood about the book business and that the point is to connect readers with great books. Prodding writers to publicize their product might be their job, but they understood the hesitancy of a Christian to talk about him or herself too much.
What a relief!
I couldn’t afford to hire someone to help me weave through the maze of social networking and media relations. But I have enough experience in journalism to know how to write a press release, and I can recognize a good story; I just didn’t feel comfortable framing it for the rest of the world. Taking a class from two professionals helped me to realize that resources are available to help me.
You don’t have to attend a writer’s workshop to learn some of the skills necessary to publicize your project. Our local community college system offers classes in web page design, Facebook, Power Point and so forth. Youtube is full of “how-to” videos explaining a multitude of things. A Facebook for Dummies book must be out there somewhere…It is.
The Wynns pointed us toward successful writers who have put together effective web pages. From those pages you can glean publicity ideas that they’ve used to good success. If you’ve heard of the book, someone has done a good job of publicizing it, haven’t they?
One of the keys is not to forget who you are–your personality–or why you wrote your book. You have the most to win and lose from the marketing of your book. If you cared enough to spend countless days of your life writing it, shouldn’t you care enough to try to find readers?
That’s only if you think you wrote a good book, of course. 🙂
What types of professionals have you used in your writing career? What forms of passive sales have you used? Aggressive techniques? What feels the best and why? What marketing campaigns can you recall for specific titles? What made them stand out in your mind, and what can you learn from them?