Tag Archives: publicity

If A Picture Tells A Thousand Words, Who Am I? by Sheila Deeth

I’ve always worn glasses, but now, with my wonderful cataract-removed eye, I don’t need them anymore (or at least, not all the time). My mum complained at first that I didn’t look like me, but she got used to my new appearance before she returned to England. Meanwhile I grew accustomed to the glasses-free image in the mirror. Then I started to look, with clear, unclouded, cataract-free eye, at those various pictures of me around the internet and on the backs of books. It seems I can’t get used to the old me anymore. I need a new photo!

A wonderful friend, who happens also to be a wonderful writer and photographer, offered to take a publicity shot for me. I shall, of course, say yes, with much delight. But I wonder what that picture will say about me. Shall I ask her to touch it up, remove the bags beneath my eyes, smooth out those wrinkles a little? Perhaps I should suggest she darken the hair  or lighten it. (I kind of hoped I’d go white when I grayed at forty, but it was not to be, unless… well, she could…) If it’s a full-body shot, I might request she slim me down a bit – I’m working on the diet. And if my eyes, even the cataract-free one, looked tired…

Of course, the question then is, who would the photo be of, if it didn’t look like me. Because I do have wrinkled, bags and gray hair, and I haven’t quite slimmed to my ideal weight. What thousand words do I want her picture to tell?

I guess I’ll figure it out in a while. Watch this space for the “new me,” coming soon!

Sheila Deeth is the author of the mathemafiction novels, Divide by Zero, Infinite Sum, Subtraction and Imaginary Numbers. Infinite Sum, the second in the series, will soon be release by Indigo Sea Press. Meanwhile, find Divide by Zero here.

 

 

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can’t figure out the point of view

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and what’s that background meant to be

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out of focus – think she’s lost the plot

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Sometimes Publicity Just Happens by Coco Ihle

My first mystery novel, SHE HAD TO KNOW, was published last April. Authors are told we have to start publicity for our books well in advance of the publication date. That includes setting up a website, blog (either our own or lining up guest spots and making comments on other blogs), starting a Facebook page, and maybe a Twitter account. We are encouraged to attend conferences and conventions that will be beneficial in networking and sales. Library talks and civic organizational events are also helpful in our quest to become known. Sometimes businesses that connect with our books can be tools for promotion. The more creative we become in getting our names out there, the more chances we have for future sales.

I was an avid reader long before I became a writer, so I had already made many connections by being a fan. For ten years before my novel came out, I attended various mystery conventions and made quite a few author friends who generously offered suggestions and encouragement.

My first mystery writers’ group in Alabama was active in Sisters in Crime. The SinC meetings we had were smaller than the normal big conventions, thus I was able to meet authors in a more intimate setting, which gave me more time to ask them, one on one, about their work and experiences. I can’t say enough about the benefits of smaller writer events for beginners, especially. They help us gain confidence as we learn that authors, famous and not so famous, all go through the same trials and tribulations with which we are struggling. We soon discover that getting published doesn’t just happen magically, but by having a good support system, a willingness to work diligently, persistence in taking all the steps necessary,we do have a chance.

Getting recognition once your book is out can be another challenge. My book is not  considered a mainstream mystery, meaning it doesn’t quite fit into some of the genre subtitles like, cozy or thriller. It is a traditional mystery and has been described as a book with a Gothic feel. That classification has been good, because it’s descriptive, but it also has been somewhat at odds with the kind of material that is usually reviewed. Word-of-mouth has been my greatest aid in getting results for sales for both the trade paperback and e-book, so far. That word-of-mouth has come from readers who liked my book, through the DorothyL Digest, Facebook contacts, my publisher’s blog, my agent’s blog and other bloggers. But trying to get reviews (other than two wonderful blurbs on the back of my book from Vicki Lane and Lillian Stewart Carl), has proved to be elusive.

With that said, imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from Rosa St. Claire, book reviewer for the Miami Examiner requesting an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of my book. I can’t remember exactly where she found me, but she was fascinated about my life’s story and wanted to read my writing. I sent my book to her along with some other information she requested. To be truthful, I was so busy, I kind of forgot about it. Then on January 1, 2012, Ms. St. Claire sent me a message to check out my Facebook page. There, in all its glory, was her article about her favorite twelve fiction books of 2011 and a list of nine special recommendations. Some of my favorite authors were on that top 12 list. Reading on, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my book listed in the special recommendations. After all, I’m a first-time novelist. Here I was sitting among such greats as Sue Grafton, Tess Gerritsen, Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Michael Connelly and Kaye George. (Now I want to read the other authors on these lists, whose work I’m not familiar.) What a thrill it was! Especially, since I was dealing with the sadness of the deaths of three friends and my thirteen-year-old kitty, right after Christmas. How I needed something cheerful. It really helped.

If you would like to see Ms. St. Claire’s list, you may go to:

http://www.examiner.com/books-in-miami/top-12-books-of-2011

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The Novel as News, by Paul Mohrbacher

Despite our current reliance on electronic media to get the word out about our book, traditional news outlets are still the old reliable for me.  And that means print and radio journalists.  It means starting and keeping up relationships with people who write or communicate the news.

I had the good fortune of being the subject of a story in the July 2 issue of the Star Tribune newspaper, published in Minneapolis.  “Novel’s Goal is no Mystery,” read the headline. The story went on to talk about my background, my career, and my interests.  It talked about the book’s plot and its relevance to issues today.  It was personal (pointing out how I had weathered 120 rejections by agents before finding one crazy enough to take me on).  It was certainly no review, but rather a great profile piece.

In print media, profiles can sometimes sell more books than reviews.  I would gamble that there are as many readers who buy a book because its author’s background intrigues them as those who buy for the story — at least one by a first-time and unknown author.  The key ingredient is that it’s not the author doing the talking (i.e., self-promoting), but a feature writer saying, in effect, “This is news; meet the newsmaker.”

Many people read a review and say, “That sounds like a great story,” but end up not buying because they’re on to other things.  But if a reader finds your own story interesting, that can make for a vital contact, one that stays alive even through the push and tug of daily life, to say nothing of the occasional unkind review later.

Scan your hometown newspaper for its feature (or even news) writers; find one whose beat looks like your plot: Crime, religion, sports, food, travel.  Get in touch via letter, make the connection, and include the book in the pack.   Follow with a phone call.  Then wait.

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Scorpion Bay Book Launch

I didn’t realize it at the time I wrote the novel, but product placement, also known as embedded marketing, would become important in promoting Scorpion Bay.  A few tweaks to a manuscript could impact a writer’s novel in positive ways as well.

Next time you’re at a movie notice how many times you see a box of Dunkin Doughnuts or a Coke product.  Product placement is common in movies, but novels? Sure, specific products are often mentioned but how can they be turned into tangible product placements to benefit a writer’s book promotion?

I named my mystery/suspense novel Scorpion Bay two years before the Scorpion Bay Marina was built.  I had to create scenes based on the existing marina at the other side of Lake Pleasant in Arizona.  Once the new marina was built at Scorpion Bay, I realized the deli I described didn’t exist.  The only eating establishment was a wonderful restaurant called Dillons.  Writing about a real location, I wanted to be accurate, so I contacted the owner, Rich Dillon, who welcomed my inquiry like I was a long lost brother.  He not only gave me permission to use his restaurant in the story, he asked if he could sell the book, once the novel was published, at his store where boaters come up for supplies. Many of his customers spend half the year on the water.  They need something to read right?  He didn’t have to twist my arm.

When I asked whether I could have a launch party at his restaurant, Mr. Dillon said, “Absolutely. How can I help?”

Armed with a date and location, I approached the media.  The media rarely does stories about a new novel being released, except by literary superstars of which I am not yet a member.  However, the local weekly, Peoria Times and the state’s daily newspaper, The Arizona Republic , said yes to stories about the launch of Scorpion Bay the novel, at the real Scorpion Bay.  I also approached the state’s highest rated morning news program, Good Morning Arizona.  Two years earlier, one of their newscasters had been helpful in researching my story; the main character is a newscaster.  Good Morning Arizona jumped at the chance to interview me in studio because they were the story, their newscaster helping an author.

In studio interview

When you read the articles, notice the stories are not about me or Scorpion Bay.  They’re about Dillons Restaurant and the Scorpion Bay Marina.  Those were real places mentioned in the novel.  The locations give scenes authenticity and they became product placements like Coke or Dunkin Doughnuts. They resulted in tangible benefits to the book promotion efforts of my book release and more specifically the book launch.

The restaurant and the marina not only benefited from media publicity, but they profited from my promotional efforts through social media such as my Facebook page, twitter page, Goodreads and my website.

During the launch party I made a point of asking attendees what brought them there.  Several had boats at the marina.  Some had come for the food. Half said they came because they read about the event in the newspaper or saw it on television.  I sold twice as many books at the launch party than any event I had for my six prior novels, because the launch party for Scorpion Bay was at the real Scorpion Bay. The title itself is product placement.

Writers whose manuscript involves a real location should look for ways to not only add authenticity by using real locations, but they should look for locations that potentially offer produce placement. Partner with businesses, obtain their approval and the author should see how a relationship can work to their advantage.

My main character, Parker Knight, road a high tech Harley Davidson.  Maybe I should approach them and surprise my wife by riding home on a black gleaming Harley…naaah. 

Dillons RestaurantPlenty of signs along the pierIt got busy!

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Naysayers and Online Promotion

There are a lot of Naysayers out there who negate the value of Online Promotion.  Particularly with using social networks to create name recognition to sell their products—books. They tout other methods, proven methods formerly used in promoting books and authors. What I say to the Naysayers, is this:  TIMES CHANGE.  The basic methods of publicity/marketing remain the same but the focus of the methods has changed. To be successful you must CHANGE with the times.  Or get left behind

These days, a great deal of shopping is done online, including books, music, movies, clothes, house wares and appliances—even cars and houses.  Online is a HUGE mall and that’s the way you have to look at it. No it hasn’t replaced concrete stores, but that doesn’t reduce the validity of online sales, or online promotion.  Why?

Face it, we’re a techie generation and the technology is there, in ever-increasing numbers, to facilitate online selling and buying. Studies track how much time the average person spends online for things other than working. While I don’t have the figures at my fingertips, it’s a huge block of time.  Computers can do about anything a TV can—provide you with the latest news, music, TV shows, movies, and books.  Cell phones can hook you to your computer and access the Internet.  C’mon.  The Internet isn’t going anywhere unless some catastrophe happens to eliminate it. Naysayers have to get with the times. Which is why e-Books, Print on Demand or digital technology, and traditional published books in e-book format, aren’t going to go away, no matter how many opinions there are on what constitutes a “real” book. 

 If online sales weren’t valid, why is every paper catalogue put out have an online store?  Why are even major manufacturers providing an online presence and a venue to sell their products?  Everyone from attorneys to roofers sell their services on line.  Manufacturers from Beer to Xanax use known personalities to sell their products. These personalities and stars are known because of their activity in sports and on the silver screen—and known on the Internet. Why? Name and face recognition. 

 Hollywood sells their products online.  Their products are stars, producers, movies, and TV shows. The music industry is the same. Just about everyone who sells something has a website.  It’s real. It’s today, not yesterday. 

For instance, in Hollywood of old, anything that got the actors, producers, and the name of the movie or show, in the paper was publicity.  It was encouraged, it was “leaked”, it fabricated. Paparazzi are still everywhere with hopes of catching something to write about and sell on the citizens of the movie and TV industry.  But now, it’s not the papers that get it first, it’s the Internet and the publicity grinders make sure their people are on the internet. It’s the same method, different focus. Actors get known on the screen by the body of their work—if that was enough we wouldn’t see them in print or on the Internet.  Personalities sell products.  People want to get to know something about the actors not just the shows/movies they’re in. 

 If you’re an author and your product is good, you are going to sell it—if people know you have a product.  How are they going to know?  Today, it’s the Internet.  Authors have to have an Internet presence. Social networks (no doubt there will be other ways in the future) provide a way for the authors to become known and to build a readership base. If the author is a known presence, then readers will know who these authors are, may have even chatted with them online. Readers will know the books, the storylines, and release dates.  Consequently, authors will have better sales both online and where ever books are sold. 

 I’m not discounting the other avenues such as book signing events, speaking to book clubs, newspapers, radio, and TV, but, unless you have an existing platform for it, unless you already have name recognition, this may not increase your sales appreciably. Local, versus the World Wide Web. This is especially so given our present economic situation and the money spent to do this physically. The old ways vs. profits made? Getting known on the Internet can increase your sales. It’s free. Will it give you over night success?  Pfft, not usually, in fact rarely

 It takes time and work to garner success. It may not seem like you’re getting anywhere in the beginning, but this is a long-range goal. The amount of publicity also depends upon how you promote yourself as an author and it depends upon how soon you start with gaining name recognition on the Internet before your book is released. It takes a lot of focused time and work.  

 My thinking on it this is if you go to all the trouble and time to write a book what’s the point if you’re not going to take the time and work to sell it?  Or ignore the new ways to gain name and face recognition. 

 To the Naysayers, I again say, times change and either you change with the times or get left behind. 

Welcome to today.  

Sia McKye

 

I’m married to a spitzy Italian. We have a ranch out beyond the back 40 where I raise kids, dogs, horses, cats, and have been known to raise a bit of hell, now and then. I have a good sense of humor and am an observer of life and a bit of a philosopher. I see the nuances—they intrigue me.

I’m a Marketing Rep by profession and a creative writer. I have written several mainstream Romance novels one of which I’ve out on a partial request.  I’ve written and published various articles on Promotion and Publicity, Marketing, Writing, and the Publishing industry. 

Aside from conducting various writing discussions and doing numerous guest blogging engagements, I write a blog, Over Coffee, http://siamckye.blogspot.com/  Each week I promote and share authors’ stories, on the laughter, glitches, triumphs, and fun that writers and authors face in pursuit of their ambition to write—Over Coffee.

 

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