Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Answers--Now With More Thought

This is part 3 of my most recent answer session! Part 1 is here, part 2 is here, and the original post to ask questions was here.

Cyndi Tefft said...Your promotion and marketing efforts for the launch of ATU were extremely impressive. Would you consider putting together a list of the marketing efforts you did, as a helpful guide to others planning a book launch? Thanks!

First: while I definitely did some marketing myself, my publisher, Razorbill, did a FANTASTIC and extensive job at marketing, too, and everything they did was about 100000% better than my feeble plans. So, definitely working with a publisher, especially one as awesome as Razorbill, helps.

But here's some things I went in specifically to do:

  • Contests. I planned four contests, one for each of the three months before launch, one for the month of launch. I worked to make each contest different--so people could participate in different ways, and also so the focus of the contest was on different things.
  • Website. This website was something that I designed myself (in that I decided what went where and the content, not that I drew or programmed it). And I made it after viewing a LOT of author websites and determining what I felt was the most important to create a fun, but professional, site for people to find out more about me and the book in a simple way.
  • Marketing materials. I designed and made: business cards, postcards, bookmarks, and pin buttons, and I distributed them in various different ways, typically through contests. Even now, in every mailing that I send out for a contest, I include a postcard or bookmark of mine. So, for example, in the box that I've prepared for this contest of the five Breathless Reads books, I've also thrown in a postcard that about my book specifically.
  • Working with friends. I've been blogging for a long time, and I've picked up some great friends along the way. I've tried not to take over their blogs or anything, but I have worked with them to make a blog tour, etc.
  • Social networking. I truly enjoy it--and most of my content isn't about my book. (For example...I have never tweeted "Buy my book now!") I built my social networking platform over years of blogging, years of tweeting, and paying attention to how professional writers structured their Facebooks and other things. It sounds a little human to say that I went into social networking with an agenda--but it's the truth. I made a point to never get too far off the topic of reading and writing on my social networking platforms, for example, or to use my social networks to share inflammatory opinions. I treat all social networking as if I were at a big cocktail with lots of publishing professionals--so I join in the conversation, try to be polite, and share stories that I think are relevant to everyone else at the social network party.
  • Some things that I would do differently: use QR codes in marketing material, make a more stream-lined graphic format for the printed material, do a more concentrated effort of a few aspect of the online stuff.
  • Does this help? This is actually a topic I quite like to talk about, but I don't want to rabbit on about it if I bore everyone...

Anonymous said...I have two questions! :) Out of curiosity, how many words long is ATU? (I really enjoyed it, by the way!! Kiersten White was spot-on when she said it made her feel claustrophobic...) What is the nicest/awesomest thing anyone has ever said about ATU? Thanks! -Ellie

Yay, I'm glad you liked it!

AtU was about 90,000 words long.

So far, the best thing people have said to me have come in emails from readers. One person told me about how she was very sick with a painful disease, and that my book helped her to forget her pain and escape the disease for a little while. I'm actually crying a little thinking about that email--it was so touching to know that something as simple as my little story helped someone out in such an important way.

Anonymous said...Girl I loved ATU! I bought it the day it came out and finished it and gave it to my younger sis, and now we are waiting patiently (and by patiently I mean chewing our fingernails down to the nubs) for book 2. Ahem, anyway, my question is: what is the biggest difference in your life post-publication?

Also, that comment right there is a pretty awesome thing someone's said about AtU, too :D

Biggest difference between published and not?

On an emotional level: validation. There's a great sense of failure (at least for me, personally) in writing without being published. Since publication, I've come to view my "failed" manuscripts as more of practice than failure, a point of pride rather than shame, and to feel that my hard work and years of effort are definitely validated.

On a physical level: quitting the day job. It effing rocks that I get to sleep in every single freaking day and go to work in my pajamas.

sheilapimples said...Do you ever get writer's block? I always get that problem when I see what I want to write in my head, yet I can't put it in to words. Is that even writer's block? I'm just wondering what you do, I guess, to let the creativity flow.

YES. YES YES YES I get writer's block. For me, it's more a matter of I know what happens at point A, and I know what happens at point C, but somehow I have to figure out what happens at point B. Or, I know what should happen, but I don't know how to describe it.

The way I fix this is to use a legal note pad and a pen. I've mentioned this before, but in greater detail--I sort of doodle and take notes and sketch out ideas. Moving from computer to pen is liberating--I can underline and circle and draw arrows and sketch out the setting and doodle in the corner when I get stuck and all that good stuff, until I finally figure out the idea. Sometimes, I just handwrite the story until I get going so well that I can't write fast enough, then I jump back to the computer. But I definitely need that difference in format to get the ideas and creativity flowing again.
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