Happy New Year

In preparation for the 2012, I clean house and set goals for the new year. This week, I found a Polaroid of my daughter taken when she was in kindergarten. It was fireman’s day, evidenced by the lopsided hat atop her tiny head. She stood with her friends, all were smiling, looking directly at me and the future ahead. Beside the picture I uncovered a Steven Covey journal with a ten year old personal mission statement which read, “someday I would like to write a book.” Blinking away tears, I realize so much time has passed. My daughter has grown into a beautiful teenager and my dream is a reality. 

This year instead of finishing the novel in progress, I released: Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice forthe Newly Published author… a project that was not on my “to-do” list. I wrote Stress-freeMarketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author after meeting two North Carolina authors at a conference. One had a beautiful memoir filled with professional photographs. However, in today’s market the  $ 34.95 price tag was professional suicide. The second author remortgaged her home only to see her dream disappear in foreclosure while unsold stock gathered dust. Each day images of these women haunted me making it impossible to focus on my manuscript. Then the muse fell silent.
Upon sharing my intent to write this book, my husband and I had quite the “discussion.” He argued I was making a terrible mistake. He believed emerging and self-published authors are obstinate, opinionated and “dead set on doing what they want to do regardless of who tries to help them.” Further, he explained, “this is why they self-publish, because they don’t want to listen to anyone in the industry.”
I defended that “if someone had tried to share marketing tips with me when I was starting out, I would have listened.” Surely, I reasoned, newbies would listen to someone who had “been there” and “done that.” Surely, they would want to do everything in their power to sell the books they had worked so hard to write.
He crossed his arms and reminded me that I am “not like everyone else.” He reminded me that I had spent months researching my market and compiling contacts. Then he gave me a we’ll see look before saying, “Trust me, writers aren’t going to listen to a word you have to say.”
I tried not to cry as his resolve remained. I explained that writers help each other and that I am “doing my part to pay it forward.”
Veteran authors whom I interviewed agreed with my husband. They suggested I lead marketing workshops, instead of authoring a book aimed at emerging authors. I listened…kinda.
Partnering with local brick and mortar bookstores and small businesses, I now offer workshops to emerging authors at a ridiculously low price. Workshop attendees receive a copy of the book, a password to a community blog specifically designed for new authors, and two hours of instruction from yours truly. Businesses who host a workshop receive half of the fee as my way of saying thank you for shelving copies of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life & Tomatoes. I hope these classes will encourage and teach emerging authors as well as benefit small businesses, especially in the winter months when business is slow. The workshops will not make me independently wealthy and the fact that I am not promoting this book with a tour means those who monitor sales information won’t be pleased.
Insert crossed arms from the beloved.
I like to think of Stress- free Marketing:Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author as a community service project. Someone needed to guide the fledglings and who better than a fellow fledgling that experienced extraordinary success with her first book. Thank you readers, booksellers and book clubs! Knowing that I have written something that, when read, will guide others on their pathway to publication pleases me. I have done my part. The rest is up to referrals and the magic of social media. If I can save one author from financial ruin, my work is done. Once again, the muse is smiling. Once again, it is time to set attainable goals. Once again, I am writing. 
Have you set goals for 2012?
As we begin a new year, many of us wonder what the future holds. Hopefully I will finish the novel or perhaps the sequel to In the Garden with Billy. I will continue to support independent booksellers and volunteer at the public library, both need our help. And my personal mission statement remains, “I will write a book.”
Visit Renea Winchester’s website for more information about her work.

One Response

  1. Veteran authors and Renea’s husband may agree “emerging and self-published authors are obstinate, opinionated and….. ‘this is why they self-publish, because they don’t want to listen to anyone in the industry’.”
    I am a newly published author. While veteran authors and Renea’s husband may or may not be accurate in their general assessment of “emerging and self-published authors”, they were incorrect in my case. Had it been printed earlier, I would have devoured “Stress Free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author.” Ideally, Renea’s book would have been available a year before my publish date of September 1, 2011.
    While I was putting the finishing touches on my manuscript, there were long down-times between: final reviews, receiving the manuscript from the copy editor, type setting/layout, getting the final blessing of the publisher, etc. These are the periods when an author should take every opportunity to develop their marketing plan. In the lead up to September 1st, 2011, I was constantly searching the internet for information on how to market my book. While there were some decent blogs out there for new authors, I found nothing approaching the comprehensive nature of Renea Winchester’s Stress Free Marketing.
    I’m about 75% of the way through Stress Free Marketing and I’ve added between a dozen and fifteen “to dos” to my marketing plan. If any one of these steps pays off, and it appears that several of these tasks are already paying dividends, then Stress Free Marketing will pay for itself. By the time I incorporate all of these tasks into my future marketing, I suspect this book will reap significant benefits for my recently published Year of the Pig, and my future books.
    Here’s a take home message for newly published or hopeful authors : it’s up to you. Even when you do secure a publisher, the publicist will only be able to devote a small amount of time, money, and effort to your book. With my publisher, they print about 100 titles a year and they have one publicist! If her time is divided equitably, I’ll get 1% of her time, and that will be for a fairly limited time-span. You absolutely have to take the bull by the horns and market your book. “Stress Free Marketing: Practical Advice for Newly Published Authors” will help you along this path.

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