Category Archives: Marketing

#PitMad and what it taught me

Seasoned writers probably know all about Pitch Madness (also known on Twitter as #PitMad), especially if they write Young Adult books. To be honest, I’d never heard of #PitMad before seeing mention of it early this morning on a writer’s discussion board that I’m on. And, boom, just like that, I decided to jump right in before I could get cold feet and start talking myself out of it.

Now, pitching is not my strong suit. At all. In fact, the idea of approaching an agent at a writers’ conference and pitching them at one of the many pitch sessions that are commonly offered sends cold chills down my spine and makes my palms sweat.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my story and my characters. I delight in making life difficult for them, even killing off a character or two. (Three bite the dust in my current work in progress, in fact.) It’s simply that I find it difficult to condense the whole 100K-word story into just one sentence. But this seemed like a good chance to learn, to explore, to push my boundaries a bit.

Here’s what I learned from my five tweets (four done already, one more to go):

  • Make sure you learn the “rules of the road” for something like this. For #PitMad, that means no favoriting tweets — agents only are allowed to do that. If you spot a tweet you like, though, you can show that by retweeting it.

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Filed under Marketing, On Writing, Resources

Virginia Wine Month

Completely forgot to mention on this blog that in honor of Virginia Wine Month (yes, there really is a Virginia Wine Month!), the Handy Guide is on sale on Amazon.com until 15 November, both the paperback version (now $13.95) and the Kindle version (now $5.95).

Whether or not you check out the book, please enjoy a glass of Virginia wine! (You really can’t go wrong with Virginia’s Cab Franc or Viognier — not to mention the numerous and fabulous Bordeaux-style blends!)

Front cover of Handy Guide to Virginia Wineries

 

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Filed under General, Marketing, On Wine

Creator, writer, publicist

One of the little secrets about self-publishing that most people don’t necessarily think of when they first decide to choose that path is that they are not only the creative force behind their work and the author who actually writes the book, but that they also have to be their own publicist.  I know I certainly didn’t give this nearly enough thought in either conceptualizing or actually writing my Handy Guide.

But even authors who are picked up by publishing houses have to do a lot of the publicity legwork on their own, particularly if they’re first-time authors.

This week’s Wall Street Journal (my favorite newspaper) had a terrific article about yet another first-time author who has succeeded with her work.  Kathleen Grissom (from Virginia!) published her first book, “The Kitchen House,” in 2010 through Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster unit.  Sales have now reached 254,000 copies in print and 152,000 e-book units …. but those numbers came about through her own determination and very hard work.

She focused her advertising efforts on book review bloggers and on book clubs, sending copies to bloggers and asking them to review it and then offering to speak to book clubs when they contacted her to invite her to meet with them.  She thinks she’s probably spoken to around 50 books clubs in the past two years.

But all that hard work has now paid off.

Moral of the story (and one I should have followed):  think early on about how to draw attention to your book and be prepared to follow through to help generate interest and excitement.  This is equally important to making sure you’ve crafted the best possible book you can.

That said, it’s never too late to pump up your advertising effort.  It took two full years for Kathleen Grissom to achieve the success she has seen with her book.  Which leads to the second moral:  don’t lose heart and give up too soon!

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Filed under Marketing, On Writing