Blogger: Michelle Ule
Location: Santa Rosa, Calif.
I’ve assumed all along that, as you begin your marketing journey, you’ve tapped into the obvious places: your publishing house’s marketing staff; your professional organizations like ACFW’s Fiction Finder; and The Writer’s View monthly roll call of new releases. Some of you may have alumni magazines willing to tout your latest accomplishment, and certainly your own Facebook pages, blogs, and websites are logical places to promote your book.
Some of you may organize blog tours with your friends, you may arrange book signings, Facebook parties, take out ads in the paper. You’re limited only by your creativity and your pocketbook.
You’re the best person to market your book because you’re the one who knows the story and the themes better than anyone. You may be exhausted after all the effort put into creating the manuscript, but perhaps its time to have a little fun with your story. Gather around some of your more creative, crafty friends, and see if you can brainstorm some novel ideas.
For writer Sarah Sundin, creativity means that to publicize her latest book, Blue Skies Tomorrow, she enlisted the help of fellow writer Marci Seither. Using a cover of Sarah’s latest World War II book, Marci fashioned a World War II-era apron. You can bet those aprons garnered plenty of attention when several women wore them at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference last spring.
Keeping with her theme, on Sunday, August 28, Sarah will be signing copies at El Campanil Theater in Antioch, California, during a screening of the WWII classic film, The Best Years of Our Lives.
This is how Sarah pulled it off: When she received the cover art for Blue Skies Tomorrow and saw how well El Campanil was shown off, she posted the cover on the theater’s website and mentioned the connection. The owner was thrilled and asked Sarah to do a signing there. She told him of her dream to have the book’s launch party at the theater.
He suggested coordinating with their monthly classic movie showings, and asked for ideas for movies. Sarah’s top choice, Cover Girl, which is featured in the book, on the cover and also has an Antioch connection, wasn’t available. They settled on The Best Years of Our Lives, which, of course, is a WWII movie with a flying angle and a small-town element and therefore is a good representation of the kind of story Sarah wrote.
Marci Seither is a busy woman; she also joined up with friend and writer Lisa Bogart to produce a video trailer advertising Lisa’s next nonfiction project, Knit with Love: Stories to Warm a Knitter’s Heart, set to release in October. You may not be a friend of Marci’s, but you probably know clever people–particularly young people–who could help you put together a video or even a Power Point presentation easily uploaded to the Internet.
Lisa also has plenty of ideas and with the help of her publisher, purchased 2,000 pair of knitting needles with her name, website address and the title of the book inscribed. She’ll be touring the U.S., visiting family members, and holding knitting parties at nearby knitting stores, where knitters will create squares for blankets for Warmup America, a nonprofit organization (which give Lisa’s appearance at each store a news hook–an author traveling around the country, joining other knitters to help needy people) . Lisa also attended a recent “Stitch N Pitch” night at the local major league baseball team (the San Francisco Giants, in this case), where she handed out knitting needles and cards with information about her book. Lisa has gathered a following and built a buzz about Knit with Love, too, through the Ravelry.com website, where more than one million knitters and crocheters trade information and share patterns.
For A Log Cabin Christmas Collection, one of my co-writers, Erica Vetsch, produced a clever item using the log cabin theme. You can read her directions for making a log cabin quilt potholder on her blog site.
Using your friends’ talents and your own can provide both beautiful and exciting options to launch and publicize your book.
Not every idea is going to work well, of course. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of book trailers. Whatever you do, it should be done well. Even though “they” say any publicity is good publicity, you may want to rethink that–especially if you’re the one whose face is on the screen.
For a final laugh, feel free to watch the very amateur video my daughter and I shot, trying to explain just what a dogtrot cabin is.
Have we got your creative juices flowing yet? What have you seen work well (for you or for a writer friend)? What has not? Do you know why?