This is the first in my new series on promoting, in which I will attempt to describe my experiences on the business side of being a writer - something I feel many writers simply do not want to deal with, including myself.
See, I started out with a plan - a plan I admit I've followed most carefully.
To begin, I needed a product - my book. In fact, I felt I needed more than one, so I rushed and toiled and managed to get three books printed within six months (still gasping). But during that time (as mentioned in a previous blog), I decided to abstain from my normal time-consuming pursuits (namely, theatre) and devote myself to developing my name as a brand.
That's a strange way to think of my work, but it's a concise description of a line of products produced, promoted, and sold by me. As an artist, it's difficult in some ways to consider my creations, at it were, as something capable of being mass produced. But in the end, if I want my writing to produce some sort of feasible income that supplements my living, then I have to spend quality time developing it and coaxing it along. And that involves taking responsibility for my work after publishing.
So, as I worked on publishing my books, or production, I also decided to establish a web presence. First, I added a fan page on Facebook. This was the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to announce to my hundreds of connections what I was doing. Then I started writing more blogs and posting them on my website - a way to keep my readers and potential readers connected to what I was working on. I think this is an especially important step, because oftentimes, we writers are so isolated in our work that it's hard to break out of that and share what we're working through.
After those two steps, I was in the final stages of publishing my second book, so I went ahead and created business cards and my website. My website provides immediate access to information about my work, including links to everything, a way to contact me and provide feedback or ask questions, and a quick button to buying/downloading my work. In short, it's a one-stop portal to the entire Internet and readers with whom I have no direct access.
And of course, the business cards. To hand out, of course. When? At my final step, one that is merely like the attaining of a black belt in aikido - reaching the privileged status of zero. That's right. Having pulled myself out of the negatives, I now have a basic ground to stand on to begin the real promotions work: attending events. That's right. On top of getting products and establishing a web presence, I needed to actually GO OUT and meet people and start telling them about my books. And hopefully sell a few books along the way.
So that's where I'm at now. I've been to three events, missed a few, and am getting ready for more. It is definitely a learning process, because some events are quite different from others in tone. I've seen that an audience of would-be readers is not necessarily always a given, but a chance to talk and engage with people from all walks of life, some of whom are interested in reading, and some who are not, yet still supportive of my work.
Truthfully, that's really the best part. It doesn't matter who I talk to - they all seem genuinely proud or excited by my work.
And maybe... that's all I really need to keep going.
Look for the next blog in the series - Promoting: The Setup