I attended Launching Your Book in 30 Days, Gail Martin’s first session at the eWomen’s Network writing conference in Vancouver. She wowed me with her upbeat personality, business approach and publishing credits. She is the classic example of making lemonade when the world gives you lemons. Her job disappeared in the recent economic downturn; she started her own company but included in her new schedule time for writing.
Gail focused on the marketing side of the book business, mentioning the current problems in publishing and giving solutions which she has found. Book stores send back unsold copies to publishers, a practice which is killing the publishers. (When is a sale not a sale?) This means author-driven marketing is the norm now. Publishers lack the resources to sufficiently promote their books and the time limit is short. The 90-day launch is from the time the books hit the shelves. Gail stressed that authors must have their own publicity well in hand long before that. Create a buzz. Use social media to get yourself known and to let the market know your book is coming. And here I thought all I had to do was write a great book.
Getting a book out is a business and must be treated as such. Gail had a leg up on the marketing side as that was her background, but knowing what to do wasn’t enough. She still had to do it. And continues to do it.
Launching Your Book Without Losing Your Mind: The Thrifty Author’s Guide was for sale at the book table. After hearing Gail, I hurried to get my own copy. I still love to have something written that I can study.
Gail’s second session was 30 Days to Results. She has made each of her self-help books identifiable with the 30-day branding label. I am wondering how I can apply that to my historical novels? Something to think about.
Also in this Results session Gail mentioned marketing is the author’s responsibility. Of course I saw immediately that by doing these workshops she was promoting her books. She surely practices what she preaches.
Here are some of the catch phrases she gave us: have a real personal story which you tell in a true voice. This story must have transformative value, a phrase which I took to mean that the audience must be able to see how your story applies to them. Checklists are essential, as are monthly action plans, and planning tools. She mentioned with blog tours that you don’t have to get on the biggest shows. Indeed 500 people is a good audience and it is easier to get on those shows.
Finally Gail said to think about all of the marketing as you are writing. Build it into the book. I wondered how I would do that with historical fiction? And then I started musing and writing answers to my own questions. I am now working on how my story of Loyalists in the American Revolutionary War is different from others. Gail’s suggestions have been a real catalyst in my own plan. This was definitely a marketer/writer worth hearing.