As I draw nearer the point at which I hope to have my manuscript in the hands of editors and beta readers, the more nervous I get about various topics: publishing, marketing, sales, book reviews, and the list goes on.
A few weeks ago, to stem the tide of nervousness, I attended a two-hour marketing workshop presented by PDX Writers, a local organization committed to helping writers do their best. The guest speaker was John Sibley Williams, a local writer and literary agent, with years of experience in both areas.
Did it help?
Well, the most important thing I learned is that two hours is too little time to cover all you need to know about marketing and selling your book.
I left the workshop feeling overwhelmed, underequipped, bombarded, discouraged, ready to toss my draft manuscript in the circular file and never look back. Did I mention I also had a headache?
I am not blaming PDX Writers or Mr. Williams for my emotional response to their presentation. It is obvious the hands on the clock moved too quickly.
Despite my spewing above, I did come away with some helpful tips and handouts, not to mention good contacts made:
- Have a good business plan and strategy;
- Prepare a budget and maintain a budgetary spreadsheet;
- Create realistic marketing and branding strategy;
- Consider methods for earning direct income;
- Have active presence on social media, including your blog and/or website;
- Develop local network with libraries and bookstores
- Gain exposure by a variety of methods (that’s another post!);
- Think of and incorporate means of saving money;
- Learn all you can about query letters, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, agents, editors, press releases, etc.
Like I said, a large amount of material was attempted in this workshop.
However, I now have a conceptual view of what life will be like depending on a number of decisions I need to make about my book in coming weeks and/or months.
If you have published a book, what one thing would you recommend a writer to make his/her priority as they reach the point of finalizing a manuscript? What one thing would you do differently? Please help out by adding your comments below.
Sherrey, I totally understand your angst! The best investment I made was in Joel Friedlander’s and Joan Stewart’s Media Template Kit. It forced me to organize my marketing message and write up press releases, author bios, book synopses in varying lengths, speaker introductions,etc ahead of time. It has proven its worth over and over again as I market my memoir. Let me add that all of this occurs in “manageable doses”, baby steps until it culminates in a full blown plan you that meets your own expectations. Good luck as you move forward and remember to enjoy the ride. 🙂
Kathy, I knew you’d understand and I appreciate your advice. I like the idea of “manageable doses” and baby steps. I especially liked the tip on enjoying the ride!
Sherrey, I’m not there yet, so I can’t offer advice. I did find your post helpful and I’m excited for you as you near publication.
Joan, I don’t know how close I am either, but decided I should start getting my ducks in a row. Now if I can just keep them there. 🙂
On a separate note, I hope this finds you and John (is that right?) safe in the horrible weather we saw on the news tonight. Praying for you and anyone else who is in the path of that storm system.
Things were quiet here. Thunderstorms forecast for the next few days, but so far nothing severe. Thanks for asking. (And yes, John is correct.)
Glad to hear you’re safe!
I like the sound of that Media Template Kit. You could use my method of putting your literary infant in a grass basket in the river and hoping Pharoah’s daughter adopts her. That works surprisingly well and is really low stress, but you probably want to to increase your odds of a big splash.
Sharon, I couldn’t stop laughing at the imagery of my literary infant in a grass basket like Moses. I think I’ll go with the Media Template Kit. You are so comical!
That’s hilarious, Sharon.
I second Kathy’s idea of enjoying the ride. I was fortunate in that my publisher did so much of the marketing/PR stuff for me. I still did a lot on my own, but the press release, media kit, and at least a dozen interviews were lined up for me. So, consider the potential help even a small publisher can give if you are a match for what they publish. On a day when you don’t have a headache, you can pick and choose the things that are right for you and let the rest go. Give yourself credit for going to the workshop! Lots of authors don’t know half of what you do.
I love it–two votes for enjoying the ride! Shirley, thanks for your input here, especially about the help a small publisher can give. And thanks for those last two sentences. They especially boosted me over the top as I sat revising, revising, and revising!
Sherrey,Thanks for the insights…I’m impressed with how you’re getting all your ducks in a row…I can’t even think of marketing now as I need to simply write otherwise I won’t …blessings
Dolly, somehow I missed this comment until this evening. My apologies! Please know that I had to spend some days and nights simply writing. I knew I had to at least get a first draft to keep moving forward. Just think–when you’re ready, I’ll have all the resources pulled together!
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