How is writing like giving birth?

cherry-blossom-3308735_1920I recently took a walk with a friend who writes but hasn’t committed herself fully to being a writer. There is a difference! Someone who writes doesn’t necessarily need to take on all of the responsibilities that being a writer requires, including publishing and marketing her work. Her response to all of the things I’m currently going through (finding Advanced Review Copy (ARC) reviewers; seeking interviews; setting up readings—and so much more) as I prepare for the release of a new book, was “I couldn’t do that!” Continue reading “How is writing like giving birth?”

Book Marketing 101: A Refresher Course for all Writers

In many ways, we writers are innocents, especially regarding the selling side of the publishing

business. As long as we can stay in front of our computers, engaged in the dream world of our fictions, we don’t have to think of how these narratives will find their readers.

Now that my four novels (Fling!, Freefall: A Divine Comedy, The Ripening: A Canadian Girl Grows Up (a sequel to Freefall), and Curva Peligrosa have been published, I’ve needed to make the adjustment. It hasn’t been easy. Continue reading “Book Marketing 101: A Refresher Course for all Writers”

Bursting through barriers to story

writer copyI’ve been so busy taking care of marketing demands for my three novels (Fling!, Curva Peligrosa, and Freefall: A Divine Comedy),  and finishing up the creative writing workshop I’m teaching at the Fromm Institute of Lifelong Learning, that I haven’t had time to write new material, fiction or otherwise. Prose, especially non-fiction, is easy for me to produce. I can spin out words and sentences that end up making sense, as I’m doing here. Continue reading “Bursting through barriers to story”

Marketing Madness!

Publishing a novel has forced me to embrace the world of social networking. From it, I’ve discovered a whole other culture that I haven’t experienced before.

For a few years, I’ve lived on the periphery of Facebook. I started a Facebook page awhile back and friended (a word that didn’t exist a few years ago) a handful of people, not understanding what was required of me in this new environment. Mainly, I felt like a voyeur, reading others posts, though they weren’t aware of me lurking in the shadows. I didn’t know then about “liking” posts and leaving an imprint. I felt more comfortable staying on the sidelines as I often do at large gatherings. I’m an observer. I like to watch people and maintain my privacy.

But if I wanted to connect with people I had friended and find new friends, I had to make a shift. Luckily, my Facebook savvy stepdaughter enlightened me on what’s required in order to have a presence in that space. So she added me to Binders Full of Women Writers, as well as Binders and Book Marketing. Since then my publisher has also created a group his authors that I am part of.

Of course, I went overboard at first. I thought I had to gather a herd of friends and began requesting anyone who was acquainted with one of my actual friends to become mine as well. That meant I had tons of posts each day screaming for attention. There was no way I could handle that load. So I finally learned how to hide many of the posts that weren’t invigorating. How many casseroles and cheesecakes can one person make? Now I spend the majority of my time in the groups I’m part of because we have more in common, and I’m learning things from their posts about writing and publishing.

Twitter? I’m still a novice on how to tweet and follow others without ending up with a meaningless bunch of twips (my word). There’s definitely a learning curve and more information than I could possibly follow in one day far less a week. How does one keep up with all of these social-networking demands? At the moment, I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all and wonder how others manage to keep their writing lives going at the same time as they are marketing their books.

Go for the Gold and Hire a Publicist!

Since my novel Fling will be published in July of this year, I’ve been feverishly (and I DO mean feverishly) learning how to market the book. Its success will determine whether my other novels (three more) will also find their readers.

I have read from cover to cover, pen in hand to mark every important idea, David Cole’s The Complete Guide to Book Marketing, Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, and Patricia Fry’s Promote Your Book: Over 250 Proven, Low-cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. I’ve searched the Internet from one end to the other, collecting other author’s stories on how they did it, my files bursting with information that I’ve had to cull through and categorize. By the time I finished, I was reeling.

In walks my stepdaughter Eva Zimmerman, Publicity Manager at Seal Press. I present her with 25 pages of notes summarizing my research, and she quickly puts it all into perspective. Instead of slogging through a quagmire of information and getting stuck every few minutes with questions of “how do I do this?,” I now have a manageable plan to follow that isn’t overwhelming. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do, but as Eva pointed out, I shouldn’t put my energy into areas that I hate or that won’t be fruitful. Go for the gold!

Not everyone has a stepdaughter who specializes in publicity, but if you don’t, you can hire one (a publicist, that is). And I highly recommend it. Professional publicists know things that non-professionals don’t. You wouldn’t go to a general practitioner to have kidney surgery. Nor would you expect a proofreader to give you the feedback that a developmental editor can. The same is true with marketing. Experts have access to lists and individuals that we mortals don’t.

So while all of my research did give me insight into what it takes to successfully sell books these days, I’m grateful that Eva is guiding the process and opening doors that I couldn’t have done by myself.

And, yes, she does do freelance work.