Friday, August 14, 2009
Publication Success through Promotion-Minded Writing
Greetings, Seekers! And a big thank-you to Mary Connealy for her gracious invite! At the end of this post, I have a question for you all, and those who answer will be entered into the drawing to win a copy of my new release, Love’s Rescue. Also at the end of this post is a chance to win a vacation (no kidding), so keep reading.
Here’s a quickie bio for those who don’t know me: I’m an award-winning author, five-star ghostwriter, manuscript editor, and fiction contest judge (of some of the contests folks here have finaled in or won). My new release, Love’s Rescue, a Western romance, is highly acclaimed and 2nd place winner of the Golden Rose award, inspirational category. (To see Love’s Rescue’s book trailer and read reviews, visit Tammy Barley's Bookshelf.)
My editing clients have won awards, signed multi-book publishing contracts, been listed as recommend reading at Focus on the Family, and been in the national news. (To see who, visit Tammy Barley's Client's Books)
So how did they, how do I, and how can you achieve publication success through promotion-minded writing?
The problem: Publishers’ acquisitions editors want a great book, yes, but they really want to know that you will sell your book. Publishers sell books to buildings, such as bookstores. Authors sell to people. And you’ll need to sell to a lot of people to earn out of it what you put into it, to grow a fan base, and to keep your publisher loving you. So how do you wow publishers into issuing you that dazzling multi-book contract?
The solution: Write your book with promotion in mind. Planning for a series is even better—many publishers prefer to buy three books from one good author than invest the time and expense to search out and promote one book and author at a time. This also gives you the advantage of planning promotional strategies once for your entire series.
Consider these three simple elements as you plan and write:
What You Know
Promotion-minded writing begins with your genre, your brand, as Jenn Stark blogged about here at Seekerville back in January. Most great marketing minds agree that a writer should establish himself or herself in one genre before considering expanding into others. If you write one vampire thriller and next write a Civil War era romance, you’ll have to promote yourself to a whole new audience with each new book you write. So focus on how you will promote yourself in one genre.
Who reads your genre? What are their interests? What are their needs? Whether you plan one book or a series, consider your audience’s interests or needs. Which of their interests or solutions to problems can in weave into your fiction?
What You Know
You already write what you know (or what you love to research), so what do you know about, and what are your readers’ interests and needs, that you could weave into your story and also use in your future book promotion? Do your readers enjoy—and do you know enough to talk publically about—fine wines? Fashion? Interior design? Gardening? Baking? Dog training? Landscaping? Fire safety? Vintage automobiles? Harley Davidsons? Does your reader need to overcome—and do you know enough to talk publically about— depression? Divorce? Alcoholism? Drug dependence? Parenting challenges? Faith challenges?
Putting it Together
Here’s one of my favorite Bible passages, Romans 12:6-8. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” We each have been given a special gift—something special that we know and can do . . . and can use to write and promote our books. If you know a thing or two (or three) about dog training, for example, you can weave dog training into the book, either lightly or in more detail, either through a minor character as a subplot or through the main character as his or her profession, or anything in between. Then when you promote your book to your audience, you can speak to pet owners or school groups or have a booth at dog shows and give tips for how dog owners can get their hopeless mutts to sit, lie down, and to quit chewing up the rug.
Tie what you know into your writing and your future promotional efforts, and voilà! You have an audience with interests or needs that you can assist with who will be open to buying your fabulous book (and every other book you write in the same genre), and you’ll be well prepared to describe to agents and acquisitions editors just how you will sell those copies. You’ll be well positioned to achieve publication success through promotion-minded writing!
Attached is a flier for my recent book launch so you can get an idea of what I did and get your creative juices flowing. During the five-hour book launch, I sold 200 copies (a few of those readers soon requested more), and I was invited to speak and to sell books at an upcoming teacher’s convention in December.
Just remember: Genre. Audience. What You Know.
God blesses those who are bold as lions (Pr. 28:1), and promotion (which I thought I was going to despise) is a hoot and addictive, so let the brainstorming begin!
Your Chance to Win
As I said at the top of this post, I have a question for you all, and those who answer will be entered into the drawing to win a copy of Love’s Rescue. In a moment, I’ll tell you how to enter to win a vacation.
I write to reach those God sent us to reach. “‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick’” (Mt 2:17). My question for you: If you read a Christian novel that would appeal to lukewarm Christians and not-yet-Christians, a novel with a subtle inspirational message intended to draw the reader a little closer to God, do you or would you recommend that novel to lukewarm Christians and not-yet-Christians? If you do, have those people gone on to read other CBA novels? Thank you! All who answer this question (actually these two questions) will be entered to win a copy of Love’s Rescue!
Now for the big one: the vacation: Read Love’s Rescue and answer ten questions about the story, and you’ll be entered to win a one-week western guest ranch resort vacation for two to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado! The drawing will take place on Valentine’s Day 2010. For more details and to enter, go to Tammy Barley's Bookshelf.
God greatly bless you all as you touch lives for Him!