Tag Archives: self-promotion

What’s your Pitch? by Sheila Deeth

I think the world is trying to tell me something. I’ve just read two books that friends loaned to me. The first, the Story of With by Allen Arnold, explains how being creative is not about selling, not about becoming famous, or getting my books into bookstores, or making my fortune. It’s about sharing creativity with others and with God, and finding enjoyment in the sharing. But then came the second book, Daniel Pink’s to Sell is Human, which tells me all of us are salespeople like it or not, all of us selling, and many of us (presumably myself included) needing to learn how to do a better job of it. And now… well, on Sunday I’ll go to our local writers’ group at the library, where the speaker will teach us how to sell. So… yes… I think the world is trying to tell me something. All the best messages always come in threes, and this looks to me like three viewpoints on sales.

Daniel Pink’s book is interesting though. He offers some fascinating advice, and I’m trying to take it to heart. Like trying to find one word that describes my writing, target audience, or goals – a one-word pitch if you like. I came up with:

Outsiders

I’m certainly an outsider – English American, Catholic Protestant, mathematician writer. But everyone’s an outsider somewhere, and the characters in my stories try very hard to learn how to fit in. The man who left his wife because he was afraid of what he’d do if he stayed – he wanted to be a good husband and father, but he was an outsider to himself; the girl who wanted her parents to notice her – an outsider in her own home; the woman who’s hiding her past in childhood paintings – another outsider to herself; the boy trying to learn how to live with the knowledge of his grandfather’s crime; the teacher who ran away from his previous life; the child who runs away… I think outsiders might work as a one-word description, but what do you think?

And then there’s the Pixar Pitch:

Once upon a time... there was a place called Paradise that kind wished it was perfect. Every day… neighbors met and talked and made friends and enjoyed pretty close to perfect lives. One day… a crime changed everything. Because of that… a dear neighbor and friend must surely become a dangerous stranger. Because of that… her child becomes a stranger as well. Until finally… the child teaches a lesson in forgiveness that binds all Paradise together again.

That’s my Pixar Divide by Zero Pitch. But now I need a Twitter Pitch:

She’s hidden her past in her paintings, but why are they all red and black?

Which covers Infinite Sum. And for here’s a Rhyming Pitch for Subtraction:

How far would you go
to save an innocent runaway from the unknown?

I’m working on Imaginary Numbers now.  Pink suggests a Question Pitch, but I guess I covered that with my rhyme.  So all that’s left is the Subject-Line Pitch – something that would make my reader open an email: How about…

How to answer Mom’s phone call while reading her obituary.

What do you think? Would any of these entice you to read? Or buy? And what about pitches for other books… this could be fun, which I guess is what Allen Arnold’s book said–let’s enjoy our creativity together!

Sheila Deeth is the author of the Mathemafiction novels: Divide by zero, Infinite Sum and Subtraction, with Imaginary Numbers coming next year from Indigo Sea Press.

 

 

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The Making of a Video Trailer

As a recently published author, I am still learning the ins and outs of the promotional side of this business. When I received my author’s packet last fall, I developed my Facebook page, started a Twitter account, joined Smashwords and Goodreads. I slowly began to use them. Okay, I don’t use them like I should, but I do use them.

Sometime around Thanksgiving, my publisher, Second Wind, talked to me about doing a video book trailer. I realized immediately that this was going to be a little more complicated than posting a tweet @hvpurvis. This was going to be a major undertaking, kinda scary even. We talked and I, having a theater background, had an idea of a scene to do. Mike liked it. I called my son, Adam, who has just started a video graphics company and had built my website, hvpurvis.com and explained what I wanted to do. His response? “Yeah, we can do that. I’m really swamped right now, but I’ll give it some thought.”

Adam and I talked about the video several times. He had a different idea than mine. It was a good idea and the one he wanted to use, since his name would be on the credits. .

In early January, I get an email with an attachment, Storyboard. He laid out the action in still drawings complete with descriptions. Another attachment contained the voiceover dialogue for each of the scenes. Adam wanted to film it with an iPhone to give it that “I just saw this happening and filmed it” look. He thought using a “real” video camera would take away some of the realism. He arranged for my daughter, me, two of his long time friends, who are almost like my children, and himself to film one weekend. Friday evening they shot the interior scenes. On Saturday, a dreary over-cast day, they arrived at the barn. (I write in my barn loft.)

Adam explained what each scene would entail and we shot one for practice, just to get the feel of it. We shot each scene five or six times with slight adjustments or small changes to see what worked best.

He spent the next two weeks putting it together, tweaking, and getting it like he wanted. I had seen drafts at each stage and offered suggestions and comments. Then the finished product arrived in an email. I was amazed, and it was posted at http://youtu.be/K2SvcqSgs4g

Although making the trailer took time, the experience was exhilarating and fun. Now, I’m working on scenes to film for my forthcoming books—with much anticipation!

H.V. Purvis
Author of Extinction and it’s soon to be released sequel, Survival. Also due out this spring is the murder mystery, Death In A Small Town.

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A different type of scary

I’m in the middle of re-proofing Love Trumps Logic, getting so close to the day when I can finally say that its ready for release. And my mind is already wondering about—and dreading—the self-promotion piece of getting published. I’m scared, in fact.

Second Wind Publishing does a lot to get their authors’ names and books exposed, but they can not—should not!—have to do it all. So today I’m throwing out ideas, and I’d like some input.

IDEA 1: I’m not computer savvy at all, so making a clever, interactive game on-line is out of the question, unless I hire someone to do it. Should I hire someone?

IDEA 2: Make a quiz, with the topic, “Which character from Love Trumps Logic are you most like?” or “How well do you know the regency period?” Everyone seems to like these types of quizzes when they pop up on Facebook.

IDEA 3: Have a drawing and a giveaway gift (including a signed copy of Love Trumps Logic as part of the giveaway). It would be difficult to pick a gift  (other than my book) that is regency-themed. Would someone like to get a quill pen or a locket? Or should I stick to a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or retail store?

IDEA 4: Mention on Facebook that my book is now available for sale…mention this once a day for a week, giving a new mini-blurb from the book every day.

IDEA 5: Look for guest spots on others’ blogs. I had to turn down a guest-blogger opportunity that fell into my lap this week, unfortunately. But how does one go about getting a guest spot usually?

IDEA 6: Write a personal note to everyone in my e-mail address book, letting them know that I’d love for them to buy my book—for themselves, if they read romance, or for a friend, if they don’t.

IDEA 7: Look up local bookstores and schedule a signing. (Has anyone ever dressed up as one of the characters in their book for a signing?) Contact the local newspaper and ask if they will do a story on you. (This one is hard, but they can only say, “no,” right?)

IDEA 8: Arrange to give copies of Love Trumps Logic to my local library.

IDEA 9: Send my book to get reviewed by one of the on-line reviewers. This one is probably the scariest. What if they don’t like it?

IDEA 10: Enter Love Trumps Logic into contests, and hope for a win.

IDEA 11: Dress in character and stand on a busy street corner with a placard. (Okay, I’m kidding about this one…I think…)

Of course, I won’t pick just one idea. I’ll do as many of them as I can.

Thanks for listening; focusing on my ideas and getting them down on paper was an important first step. Are there any good promotional ideas that I’m not thinking of? Any input is greatly appreciated!!

Lucy Balch

Love Trumps Logic

Coming soon from Second Wind Publishing

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Let the games begin!

I can feel it … Love Trumps Logic is nearing its release date, and I’m about to transition from being a proofreader of my book into being a promoter of my book. The idea of self-promotion is a bit scary, but—thankfully—Second Wind Publishing does a lot to help their authors get the word out. A release party last month introduced four new books onto the writing scene: Staccato by Deborah Ledford, School of Lies by Mickey Hoffman, Loving Lydia by Amy De Trempe, and Buried at Wolf Lake by Christine Husom. Readers could sneak a peek into the books because the first chapters were made available … and they are still available if you revisit “Goodies and Giveaways” (September 29th) in the WordPress blog files of Second Wind Publishing.

Two free downloads were part of the promotion: a Romance Sampler and a Mystery Sampler, which both featured first chapters from many Second Wind Publishing books, both released and unreleased. If you happened to download the Romance Sampler, you got the un-proofed first chapter of Love Trumps Logic. I’d love readers to compare it to the revised first chapter when my book is finally released, and tell me what you think of the changes. I think the new first chapter is a more satisfying read, but others might disagree.

Love Trumps Logic‘s first planned promotion will be in the form of a Clue game that Second Wind Publishing’s Amy DeTrempe has put together. It will come out just in time for Halloween, and will feature excerpts from many of the Second Wind books as clues. To give you a sampling, here’s the Clue excerpt from Love Trumps Logic:

Beau slipped the hard-won bracelet back into its gray velvet sack and pulled the drawstring tight when, from somewhere behind him, a small hand appeared and snatched it from him. He whirled around and caught sight of a boy making a wide circle around him, headed for the exit.  The black-toothed grin was the only thing that gave away his lowly status. Upscale clothes had been a perfect ruse, allowing him to gain entry into the museum.

(You’ll have to read Love Trumps Logic to find out what horrible trouble that bracelet causes.)

So, do you like to play Clue? Then this party’s for you! Mark October 26th on your calendar as Clue day with Amy De Trempe on the Second Wind Publishing WordPress blog. The winner will receive a free copy of Second Wind Publishing’s mystery anthology, Murder on the Wind.

And then … look for many more promotions in the days that follow. I’m not saying that I know what they will be yet. If anyone has any ideas to offer, I’m all ears!

Lucy Balch

Author of Love Trumps Logic, due for release soon from Second Wind Publishing.

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Thinking Outside the Box: Rejection – It’s Not Just for Writers…

This has been a rough two weeks. First, I was dealing with the deafening sound of crickets in response to the numerous resumes/applications I have sent out over the past six months. Then, this week, my in-box and mail-box have been filled with “…while your credentials are impressive, you have not been selected…” responses. At least the crickets have been silenced.

 

As some readers know, I was displaced from my job in September as a result of a corporate restructuring and massive head-count reduction at the Fortune 100 company where I worked. I know I am in good company. The latest report on the unemployment numbers indicates that there are 13.2 million people out of work in the US. (United States Department of Labor, (2009, April 3). The unemployment situation: March 2009. Bureau of Labor Statistics News. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf.)

 

What can a person do to get out of the mountainous pile of resumes received for each opening and in front of a hiring manager? Or, better yet, what can one do to get an interview?

 

All the experts will tell you that the trick to landing a job, especially in this type of job market, is using your network to get in the door at your targeted companies. In addition to networking like crazy, I have decided to get creative.

 

One of the networking groups I belong to sent out a query on behalf of a reporter for personal stories about coping with unemployment. I contacted the reporter and gave an interview, which may be published later this month. I have also registered with a radio station in my home town that is featuring an unemployed listener each week and helping that person promote themselves to prospective employers on the air and on the station’s website.

 

Sort of unusual tactics, and even more unusual when you factor in my introverted nature; this is way outside of my “comfort zone” under any circumstances. My hope is that a prospective employer will see that I am able to “think outside the box” and willing to take a risk. My hope is that a prospective employer will recognize these strengths that can be hard to demonstrate on a resume. My hope is that a prospective employer will realize that they need someone like me in their organization.

 

Will it work? We shall see, but that is the beauty of the successful creative thinking – you never know if it will work until you try.

 

 

Mairead Walpole is the pen name for a somewhat introverted project manager who has 20+ years of business and technical writing under her belt. In her spare time, Mairead reviews books for Crystal Reviews (www.crystalreviews.com) and writes paranormal romance. Her first novel, “A Love Out of Time” is available through Second Wind Publishing (www.secondwindpublishing.com) or Amazon.com.

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