Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Tisket, A Tasket, My Book is in a Basket

Is it still Wednesday? Yeah, I didn't think so.

It's been a busy week. As my body struggles to adjust to the extra hour of sleep (which puts me off schedule and leaves me inexplicably tired for a week or more after I've finished moving clock hands), life goes on.

Lately, part of life has been book promotion. Although a writer's main task is, not surprisingly, to write, promotion is also -- always -- part of the deal once a writer is fortunate enough to see her work in print. Publishers help a little in the promo game, but the book that is the author's baby is merely one inhabitant of the nursery for the publisher, who, like the author, is also busy conceiving the future population of that nursery.

I'm one of those crazy writers who enjoys promotion. I don't like the time it takes away from working on my next book, but I decided early on that if I couldn't escape it (and I can't), I might as well  have fun with it. Over the past year, through a combination of research and experience, I've developed three rules for promoting a book: make it novel, make it meaningful and make it fun.

  1. Make it novel -- no pun intended (well, maybe a little). I love bookstores. The fact that they're full of readers makes them a great, if predictable, place to have a book event. But they're also full of books, and it can be hard to stand out. Choosing less typical locales for book events not only makes an author stand out, but also keeps things interesting.
  2. Make it meaningful. Anyone who knows me knows I love Starbucks, and most of my friends know that Starbucks is often my office away from home.  So, when some of the work I created there made it into print, it seemed like a great place to have a party. (Sometimes it helps to be a regular). Not only did it fulfill rule #1 above, but the location (and the people who work there) meant something to me, which meant the whole event felt like a natural extension of who I am and what I love.
  3. Make it fun. If creating promotional events and ideas feels like drudgery to me, it will feel like drudgery to those around me as well. Sure, I mumbled and grumbled as I was making up gift baskets for my latest harebrained scheme, but that was just my perfectionism rearing its ugly head. And I had to stifle a few groans as I added up the cost of the prizes for my online launch party, but I had a great time coming up with things that complemented the book both thematically and visually. Book parties, promotions and events are meant to be celebrations, and celebrations are meant to be fun.
Are you wondering about my latest novel, meaningful and fun promotion yet? If so, check back on Saturday for details. Can't wait that long? Stop by Bluett Bros. Violins, Book Ends or EPIC: A Michael Alan Salon and take a look around. Meanwhile, the picture below is a hint. :-)

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