Saturday, October 13, 2007

Only 14 more days until Christ---oops, until the release of Arms of the Enemy

Just thought I'd point that out.

I thought I'd give you some writing tips I've come across and have used (or not). But before you go thinking I'm totally brilliant and know everything about everything, this is stuff I've picked up from other writers, craft books, self discovery and pep talks. If I use anyone else's quote I will give credit to the originator (if I know the originator)

Marketing: To be a writer you almost have to have a schizophrenic mentality. No kidding. Writing is a solitary sport--er art--er craft. You don't want or need to be bothered while you're creating the next great American novel. So you put yourself into a reclusive mode.

But then, BAM, you're published (lucky you.) Now you're jerked back into the real world, and you're expected to be Miss/Mr. Social Butterfly. Cultivating a fan base, getting people to actually like you enough to buy your book. The name of the game is NETWORKING. Networking is important for any sales position. I've been in sales in a previous business life--HMO sales--believe I've taken more people out to lunch than I care to remember. But marketing and sales are not the same thing. Marketing people are the team that work out strategies, who put together flyers, brochures, who contact the "big boys" in the industry. Who help put together lists of clients--lots of the detailed paper work nitty gritty. When I was in marketing for a start-up HMO I had to do a population survey of various Chicago neighborhoods. Don't ask me why. I don't think they ever used it.

So, you want to be in sales? Sales is direct customer contact. Going out and talking to the people, or networking on the internet. If you don't do it, nobody's going to do it for you. As a writer, you might have to do both marketing and sales: create your own pamphlets, business cards, flyers, book marks, posters, PSA's etc, You take your goodies and present/ send/email them to your potential clients. You're expected to arrange your own book signings, approach libraries, schools, books stores, friends, family, enemies, whoever is warm and breathng. The authors at Light Sword are lucky. Our publisher is marketing-savy. She does most of the creative written advertising for her authors, and she teaches her authors how to put these together. It's a Godsend.

I heard (and forgive me Ms. Roberts if I'm wrong) that Nora Roberts sold books out of her car before she was established. You mean Nora Roberts once was us? Right from the beginning? Well, maybe not quite like some of us, but she started somewhere. Once upon a time.

We have so much competition that we have to be as creative in our sales techniques as we are in our writing technique. Interesting, huh? So my quote of the day comes from my publisher, Linda Daly. "Market outside the box." Be creative in fnding new and interesting places and people who might want to buy your book. One of her authors, J.G. Eastwood, who wrote a children's trilogy about a dragon, actually puts on a dragon suit when she comes calling. How about a six foot dragon standing in a book store. Would it get your attention? You betcha.

Arms is set in the horse world and is about righting the wrongs suffered on innocent horses and innocent people. It's a romantic suspense. So, where would I market? All the usual places, yes; targeting mystery, suspense and romance, but what other source?

Horse people of course. I did a book signing at our barn's semi-annual "vet day." My vet even bought a book. I keep thinking I should bring my horse into a bookstore, but I'm pretty sure that would be toooooo far outside the box. Maybe a cowboy hat and boots might do the trick. Hang a bridle over my poster. You never know what will catch someone's attention.

Until next time.

4 comments: said...

I think you should take your horse to the upcoming event and have him do some selling. About time he started earning his oats!! I had an idea too for what it's worth. You and the dogs do charity visits to hospitals, nursing homes etc.--why not take a few books and se what happens. Might be worth a shot.

It's so cosy here I hate to leave, but leave I must and go sell some of my own lazy books-that refuse to sell themselves.

Night, Micki

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, Pat. Good read.
C J Parker

Patricia A. Guthrie said...

thank you for your comments. it's funny you should mention the nursing homes etc, Mallie. I've sold several to one nursing home and a bunch to the Phoenix House employeees (a home for schizophrenic patients)

Now, back to the horse in the book store . . .

annie kelleher said...

best of luck to you, pat... marketing is a whole nother skill set i'd rather not think about at all!!!