Marketing for Success

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This week’s blog material extends beyond the publishing process.  If you think about the comparison of a baby and a book, you’ll see they have many things in common.  Let’s say the making of a baby takes at least 9 months.  Perhaps there were other attempts that took quite a while.  So now the making of a baby takes 9+ months.  Much like a novel.  Carrying that baby was at the very least, challenging.  Some pregnancies are easier than others.  Labor?  Was that one push and it was over, or did it last for hours upon hours?
Now you have that baby you have wanted to hold in your arms.  All your life you have dreamed of this baby. What do you do?  Here are some possible options.  1.) Do nothing.  Let the little thing just lie there and try to care of itself. 2.) Shake your head and offer not the least bit of attention.  3.) Sell the baby. Maybe someone else will like it.  4.) Let the baby die and move on to another one.  You can see where I’m going with this one.
Harsh?  Absolutely.  But that is exactly what you are doing if you write that novel, publish it, and then fall into one of the above options.
Your best strategy?  Love your baby.  Give it all you can give.  Introduce your baby to the world and be proud.  Nourish that baby until it can provide for itself, and then don’t ever forget your journey and what this baby means to you.
So…how did my book turn into a metaphor for a baby?
Simple answer:  I went to a conference.  I had the pleasure (distaste?) of listening to an author complain about her publisher.  According to her, her small publisher had done NOTHING to promote her book.  (Drama, drama, tears.)  So, the presenter asked her what SHE was doing to market her book.  What was HER marketing strategy?
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Response:  blank look

If your response is a blank look, then read on.  Each day this week, I’m providing some simple marketing suggestions.  Some are DIY; others you may need to outsource.  BUT before you opt for outsourcing, check your contract, your bank account, and your resources.
Market ’til you make it.
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To Prologue or Not to Prologue?​

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We’ve all seen it.  Start pulling some books off a shelf, and chances are you will see a prologue.  However, a prologue can be a red flag.  If you haven’t heard back from your editor/agent/publisher, rethink your prologue.  It can be the worst offender of all. #RMFW2017 @RMFWriters @crystalpubs2014

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Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers

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RMFW held its Colorado Gold Conference this weekend in Denver, CO. #RMFW2017 http://www.RMFW.org @RMFWriters

I have been encouraging new writers to join an organization. It is the number one way to improve your writing, get the latest information on the publishing industry, get help for your stuck points, practice pitches, and talk to agents, editors, and publishers.  This conference targeted new writers.  Tons and tons of workshops and panels, tons and tons of experts willing to give you some individual time, and lots of master classes for the already accomplished author.

AND we got to meet Diana Gabaldon, author of the OUTLANDER series, which premiered on STARZ last night.

Throughout the week, I will be posting sage advice I gleaned from the conference and pass that along to you in segments.

You can join for as little as $45.  Check out the online classes, free help sessions, and monthly events–all designed to make you a better writer.

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What does an editor do?

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You are your own worst enemy when it comes to editing.  There’s a psychological term for this that escapes me right now, but it boils down to mind games.  Your brain will look at errors and automatically correct them or fill in the blanks.

Can You Read This?  by Chris McCarthy (Study@ecenglish.com)

I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

Whether you are self-publishing or signing with a publisher, you want the best editor you can get.  Constructive criticism is hard to take these days. It’s not intended to beat you down.  An editor is the invisible person behind you who honestly has your best interest at heart.  An editor can shape your manuscript from the ordinary to the best product possible.  Yes, it can be frustrating and take a while, month and years.

But, there are options there, too.  If you don’t like your editor for some reason, ask for another.  You can always go out on your own, but remember good editing is expensive.  Yes, your first-grade teacher or next door neighbor, friend, or spouse can always look at it, but is that in your own best interest?

Tips for First-time Authors

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How to I start?

Typically, you pitch an idea or send a query letter before you write an entire manuscript that may or may not be accepted.  Don’t pitch to a company that doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts.  Don’t pitch a romance to a company that specializes in mystery or a children’s book to a company that specializes in adult literature.  Do your homework.  Check websites or get access to the Writer’s Market.

Do I send everything?

Never write or submit more than an idea or several chapters  It’s unrealistic to expect one or more people to drop a current project and read your 50,000 words overnight.

What about a contract?

Never work without a contract.  Contracts vary from company to company.  Again, unless you are Stephen King, Lady Gaga, or a Real Housewife, don’t expect millions in signing bonuses.  Traditional publishing houses are not going to extend any offer until you have proven yourself profitable.  Small publishing houses don’t make those kinds of offers.

How long before I publish my book?

Just because you have finished writing, or assume you have a final product, that is not true.  You are now in the hands of several editors and the editing process.  And unless you are Ernest Hemingway, you need those editors.  (See my blog about the publishing process and what does an editor do.)

You want the best for your “baby.”  There are short cuts, but that doesn’t guarantee your baby will be healthy and thrive.

 

Are Your Dreams of Being Hemingway Dissolving? Don’t Despair!

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You might start out with a plan, but after you write a while, your writing can take on a life of its own and lead you down another path.  Don’t despair. “[T]hat’s the great thing about fiction. We use it for entertainment, and we also use it to explain and understand our lives. We only make sense of what has happened to us when we can tell it as a story. I’ve used my fiction to deal with 9/11, the War on Terror, aging, death, wealth, poverty and a host of other issues. I just happened to include the undead and werewolves and spies while I did it.

Five books in, this is the one lesson I can say I’ve learned, the one thing I can tell any aspiring writer: Write what you want. Even if it includes lizard people or Atlantis. If people don’t like what you like, write it again, and make it better until they do. But never be ashamed of your enthusiasms.”

Read more of “I dreamed of being Hemingway and ended up a pulp fiction writer” at http://nypost.com/2016/08/14/i-dreamed-of-being-hemingway%e2%80%8b%e2%80%8b-but-ended-up-a-pulp-fiction-writer/