Monday, June 23, 2008

Marketing and Self-promotion

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

(Keywords: writing, promotion, self-promotion, promoting, promote, marketing, Cedar Fort, Doug Johnston, Marsha Ward, LDSStorymakers )

Several weeks ago, I suggested you give yourself a pep talk—a reminder that it's okay to promote your writings. And last week I listed a few of the tips that Doug Johnston gave on marketing at Cedar Fort's 6-7-8 Conference.

Have you adjusted to the concept that it's not conceited or self-aggrandizing to endorse your characters and plots? If so, you've started on the path to making your writing a success.

Today I'd like to give you a few more ideas on self-promotion ... no, wait, let's not call it self-promotion, because if you're like me, you'd rather not promote yourself. You're promoting your characters, and the work that has brought them to life.

Several of these are my own ideas and a few are from a handout by Marsha Ward, given at the LDS Storymaker's Conference.

  • Almost every email browser will let you put a "signature" on your email. That means every time you write to someone, that signature shows up at the bottom. What a perfect place to put your name and a link to your website, your blog, a link to order your latest book, and a link to, or list of, awards you've won. If you're not sure how to do it, type the word "signature" into your help section's search box and it should give instructions.

  • Speaking of email ... you can send a flier promoting your latest work to every friend and family member in your address book.

  • I'll bet you've never thought of your answering machine as a means of promotion. Anytime you've not home and someone calls, he/she is listening to your message. If you're shy about listing the title of your latest work in the message, you can keep it simple and mention that you're an author ... who is available for book signings and speaking engagements. Change the message occasionally so that regular callers don't hear the same message constantly. And be succinct ... most people hate waiting through a long message.

  • Even though you can pay most bills online, there are always a few that have to go through the postal system. Perhaps your life insurance, deposits to the bank, and payment for the city utility bills go through the U.S. mail. Don't waste that opportunity! Print out a small blurb, with an excerpt of your latest work and your contact info, and include it with the bill. I use a full size sheet of paper, fold it in thirds so the excerpt shows on top, and place the bill and check inside. It not only protects sensitive banking information and account numbers, but advertises your work as well.

  • Make up business cards with your contact info and a cover image (if you have one) of your work. Carry them with you all the time. You never know when someone will ask you a question about your writing career or how to reach you for a book signing. When they do, you can give them your business card. HINT: People are less inclined to throw away a nice business card than they are to throw away a torn scrap of paper with a phone number and no name.

  • Leave your business card even when no one has asked for it. There are bulletin boards at almost every supermarket, college campus, shopping mall and even in some restaurants. Put your business card up! If you don't want your phone number there for every crackpot to use, make up two sets of business cards. One you'll use for public postings, and it will contain your web/blog address as the contact info. The other you'll hand to individuals and may contain your phone number, if you choose, as well as your web/blog address.
During the week, try a few of these tips. If you feel a little uncomfortable, think about your characters. They've lived in your head and in your heart. Some of them have waited for years. Don't they deserve a little publicity, a chance to dance in the spotlight? Don't they deserve the opportunity to live in the hearts of others, and to change lives?

Of course they do.

C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap" pg. 83
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction Website

What books C. Lynn recommends:
You Know You're a Writer When ... by Adair Lara
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)


1 comment:

Marsha Ward said...

Thanks for the shout out, C. Lynn! Every author needs to promote the fact of their authorship. Otherwise, no one knows about the gems you have made available to the reading public.