Friday, April 16, 2010

The Afters After Getting Published--And a few other things.

By Patricia Gulley



My traditional mystery, Downsized To Death, came out April 1, and I am now in the midst of the hard part—promoting and marketing it. Not being published with a large New York publisher or even a small, fairly well know publisher, I have to do my own publicity and marketing. I started as soon as I knew my publication date, but was put off in many respects because there were no advance copies to send to reviewers. And then I found out that most reviewers would not do a review without a paper copy and wouldn’t do a review unless they received an ARC three months prior to publication. That was followed by the last let-down of not willing to review books that weren’t on the approved MWA list.

What’s a Girl To Do?

Well, I’m scouring the list of reviewers on Amazon that claim to be independent reviewers and/or do it for reading sites. Not much luck so far, you have to submit a request to most sites and wait for a reviewer to ask for your book. Others tell you to send a book and one of their reviewers will get to it. I’m sure that means, ‘hope someone wants to read it’. Other sites will simply list your name, book title and website.

Next is mentioning it on every list you belong to (which requires joining several more organizations and lists—and obviously reading them) to leave a BSP.

After that, comes the out-of-pocket expense of finding places to buy advertising. Yes, there are several of those and of course there are postcards and bookmarks and mailing them or finding places to distribute them. Bookstores are iffy, but libraries work and conventions and some conferences have goodie tables. That means planning to go to several cons, or finding people going to cons you can’t attend and getting them to take your bookmarks for you. That’s a nice little ‘bartering’ service I feel we should all volunteer to do. And, of course, there is trying to get interviewed on other blogs.

Then, because of my publisher’s way of doing things, comes the long wait to see my book on Amazon where there are several things to do that are very useful. Get an author’s page, get readers reviews from a few friends and get tags. Tagging is another ‘bartering’ service author friends should participate in.

I’m sure there are a few hundred more things I’m supposed to be doing, but I’m a little brain dead at the moment, so all suggestions are welcome.

Oh, and about that ‘best writing advice I’d ever received’? Well, it was simply “Ignore all Advice” given by a creative writing teacher, who said that after you’d taken as many classes as possible and sat down to write, let it all pour out, ignoring everything you’ve learned until the rewrite. Convoluted, I know, but since I believe in the ‘vomit’ approach—getting it all out and never rewrite until it is done—it seemed like good advice to me.

All comments welcome.

Patg
www.wingsepress.com

13 comments:

Joyce said...

Congratulations, Pat! I have no advice for you, but it seems like you're doing the right things.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

From a samll press guy, here is my advice:

Get a website up and running. You NEED a website, because you have to make it easy for people to find you (More on that in a bit). You can do it cheaply and still make it look nice. I used Microsoft Publisher (part of the office suite) to develop it. I bought my domain name and hosting site on GoDaddy. It took a lot of time and patience, but it cost less than $100 for two years total. You can take a look at my website www.wbereswill.com. I haven't updated it in a while, but I did it all myself, including the blog setup on wordpress.

Make the website about YOU, not the book.

When you get your domain name and hosting site, it usually comes with a number of email boxes. Set up a simple email addy, like pat @ pgulley.com. This may be just me, but when I see authors with gmail and yahoo email addys, I think small time author.

Have bookmarks made up. Search the web for companies. Most sites have templates for design. I wrote a blog as I worked through my bookmarks. If you'd like, check it out, http://wbereswill.com/wordpress/?s=bookmarks I used Printrunner for mine and was pretty satisfied.

Make sure you get your ISBN numbers on the bookmark along with you website address. That is how people can get in touch with you. Carry bookmarks with you like calling cards. Leave them at bookstores and hand them out at events. Usually conferences have table for authors to leave freebies out.

Laurissa said...

Great information, Pat. I'm sorry I don't have anything to add. It definitely sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck and congratulations!

elysabeth said...

Interesting post and for me it's a lot different. I'm doing a 50-state mystery series for kids so I do a lot of giveaways. When doing your book signings, think outside the box - indie stores are great but think of places that tie into your theme - downsizing - or whatever it is. You need a gimick. For me, it's red, white & blue, and all things state related. I use these for my games that I do at my book signings as prizes - like for one game or puzzle or whatever it is I'm doing at the time (could be the quiz or the maze) - they can win a USA map puzzle (purchased at Dollar Tree) and when they win, I sign the back of the box. I also keep other small goodies on the table in case they don't win. Oriental Trading and Rhode Island Novelty are two places to find cheap giveaways. I get my bookmarks through www.gotprint.com - by far the cheapest I've seen (1000 for about $35; 2500 for just a tad over $70 plus shipping under $13 from California to South Carolina and cheaper if the closer to California I'm sure). I have the cover of the first three books on the ones I'm using right now but as soon as I have covers for books 5 and 6, I'll have a second one made up - with covers 4, 5 and 6. I have my logo, my illustrator's logo, my publisher's logo and then my website, my blog, my email and the publisher's and illustrator's websites listed on my bookmarks.

I try to keep a copy of the first two books on hand in my pocketbook so when I see kids with parents walking around in the stores or wherever I happen to be galavanting at the time, I can hand the kids the bookmarks (I usually ask them if they like to read and if they kind of hesitate or say yes, I give them one and explain that I'm local author and then I start pitching my books to the parents since they are the ones who buy them - I've made several sales like that - one in Dollar Tree, one in Walmart and two at Big Lots - so whatever works for you).

I can't ever seem to get ahead because of all the promotional stuff. It seems whatever I sell bookwise I turn it back into more books or buying groceries or buying more items for promotion.

Definitely set up a website. Weebly.com is free and there are several others; purchasing all possible domain names is the biggest cost for your website - you have to purchase your name as a domain name (.com, .net, .org, et cetera0 and then the website itself with all the extensions you can think of) - but if it gets people to you, then go for it.

Check out The Book Connection blog and contact Cheryl about reviews. She's always looking for books to review. Good luck with everything - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series
STATE OF WILDERNESS, now available
STATE OF QUARRIES, now available
STATE OF RESERVATIONS, coming April/May 2010
STATE OF ALTITUDE, coming May/June 2010

WHERE WILL THE ADVENTURE TAKE YOU NEXT?

http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com
http://junior-geography-detective-squad.weebly.com

ramona said...

Pat, congratulations (again) on your success.

I echo Wilfred's get a website-now!-comment.

Here are two resources I've found interesting, with good ideas:

Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz
Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson (and several other people)

Both have information about establishing a platform and inexpensive promotion.

Jennie Bentley said...

Honey, I hate to break it to you, but I'm published with a big New York publishing house, and I still have to do my own publicity. That's just the way it is. Nobody cares as much about your career as you do, at least not until you're selling in the millions. I hired an independent publicist to help me. I had a three book contract, with books to write, and whereas I know I could learn how to write press releases and I could hunt down the people to send them to given enough time, I decided I was better off paying someone who already had the knowledge I lacked, while I focused on writing the next book in the series. Or by then, I was probably writing the third.

If you're a member of the Author's Guild, they've got some wonderful websites for very little money. The annual fee to join the guild is $90, but my website is only $6/month, and if I do say so myself, it's a pretty good one. You can check it out here: http://www.jenniebentley.com It's all template based, so uploading stuff is easy (and web design is something else not in my natural repertoire). Basically, this is my view of this stuff: I'm a writer; I'm gonna get other people to do everything else for me so I can concentrate on my part of the job, which is writing the best book I can.

Congrats on the release!

Patg said...

Heavy sigh,
Willfred and Jennie, I guess I forgot to tell you I have a website, had 5 years before getting published. I definitely believe it them. I have a daughter who is a webmaster and an estranged who is a systems analyst, so getting it up was the easy part. No paying anybody, except Go Daddy for the hosting.
I'm a believer in postcards. As soon as I knew my publication date, 100 oversized postcards went out to travel agencies around the world. I intend to do more.
Downsizing is what major corporations started doing as early as the early 90s. (Not anything to do with elders after their kids move out.) My book is about how it affects one office out in the boondocks, and through the multipal levels of management manages to hang on even when murder is added to the workload.
I also ordered my bookmarks way in advance and do carry them everywhere with me.
Bookstores are not on my radar yet--and may never be. It has to do with the tired old discussion over ordering--especially with publishers who have a NO return policy. Frankly, I think they are the best, but as long as NYC is in charge, that won't change soon.
I've been trained in marketing by a huge, world company, but I have read the Levinson book because it is directed at authors. Keeps the focus, but nothing new in the world or marketing in general.
Jennie, the idea of a publicist is the one I think about a lot. Especially because, when I tried to get my local newspaper to mention me, I got no where. I think publicists know how to badger their way past those obstacles that defeat most of us. If they don't, then like agents, you have to take a real good look at their past preformances and client lists.
Elysabeth mentioned, never getting ahead--well, I'm not sure you can get ahead on the first book. As any business will tell you, the first year or two can be quite profitless, everything has to be rolled over into the business to get it rolling. But after that you just have to take stock of your marketing and promotion plan and look for improvements. That's for small business, because a corporation will look at the subsidy or plan and if it isn't working, they simply can the whole thing. Too scary, but we're not big corporations. I do not want to be a Nora Roberts or James Patterson.
Patg
Website: www.patgulley.com

Patg said...

I forgot to mention, that my eBook is finally up on Amazon. Waiting to see the tradepaper listed.
Did you know that for some publishers they mark the price up 55%? Wow. Ordering though Wings is so much less expensive.
If you know about the tagging program, please do me a favor and tag. Thanks.
Patg

Anonymous said...

Pat,

You have the starting line in your rear view mirror, your vehicle is charged with hard work. Place some patience in the passenger's seat to keep you company. You are on the yellow brick road of success.

Best as always,
Jo P

PatRemick said...

Congrats Pat and good luck with the promotion. I know it's hard, and exhausting, but it seems like you're on your way!

M Pax said...

Congrats, Patg. We're all in the same boat. It's worth the work and effort.

Have you set up a virtual book tour? Get people to twitter about you, etc ... Recruit friends to help.

Norma said...

Pat, probably before you were on the Wings e-mail digest, they did say they will take returns from book stores, but they have limited storage space. They usually shelve one or two of every volume ready to send out. They did say that often (or maybe usually) the author will take any returns--buy them I should imagine.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Pat,

Congratulations. You have worked very hard for this, and I wish you continued success. I enjoyed your book very much, and look forward to more travel agency mysteries.