Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This Writer's Journey (continued)

As we all know, promotion is the key to "success" in the publishing biz. You may write the best book in all the universe but no one will read it if they don't know about it.

So this week, my main focus has once again been on promo of my recently released novel, Billowing Sails, and upcoming humorous non-fiction book (March release date) Mom Needs Chocolate. Since BS is a YA novel and my target audience is not only women (same as MNC) but teens as well, my promo approach is a little different.

For the past three months, I've been contacting every bookstore, library, middle and high school principal and English teacher I can find to pitch my Young Writers Workshop, a program I developed in conjunction with The Distant Shore, prequel to BS. Both books come with an affiliated writing instructional mini-course (excellent for adult writing groups as well) that I've been able to use as my "hook" to interest many diverse groups. I'm invited to speak, and BINGO - book sales!

I also developed an hour-long writers mini-workshop, "So You Want to be a Writer..." which is the hook that has served to draw nice crowds at bookstores. Unless you're named Dungy or Rowling, bookstore signings are considered a waste of time these days without some kind of hook to entice people to come. If you're only there to sign books, you end up feeling like a hawker at the county fair, desperately trying to woo people over to your table as they rush by. Demeaning and not much fun.

So Saturday I had a successful mini-workshop/signing at my local Christian bookstore, and depart tomorrow to lead two workshops over the weekend at a the Space Coast Writers Conference in Cocoa Beach. Yes, beach. Beaches are good!

Yesterday I received two more inquiries about Young Writers Workshops and now have twelve scheduled for the next five weeks, including four in the same day at one school, and four different schools in the same area (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) for the Friday and Monday I'm planning on spending the weekend with friends in Melbourne. For authors, it always pays to mix business with pleasure!

I also spent time yesterday exploring a delightful campground that my local writer buddy and I have decided to book for our full day November 14 writing workshop: Florida Inspirational Writers Retreat. The lodge where we'll meet overlooks the picturesque Alafia River peacefully winding through the wooded 100 acre property - perfect for a writer's retreat!

One last promo tidbit - keep fresh stuff flowing on your website to entice people to keep coming back. I just added a hilarious chocolate video on my Choc-Out page at in association with Mom Needs Chocolate. It's a fantastic parody of Kelly Clarkson's, "Because of You," and tickles the chocolate bone in all of us. If you need a smile, check it out!