Monday, February 4, 2013

Back-to-Business: SWITCHING GEARS

The manuscript has been sent to the editor who has, in return, started the "marketing conversation."
Arghhhh!!!! (I just love pirate words)

I don't feel ready to step away from my characters and consider how to sell them. I'm kind of a basket case. Besides napping, what I most want to do is to move on to that sexy new idea that's been tickling the back of my brain as I reread my current ms for the fiftieth time.  But this is a business and I want to do right by my book. So, how to switch gears?

Here are a few tips. Some I've learned through hard experience and others authors have shared with me.

1. Write an "ABOUT THIS BOOK" page as if your editor had asked you to do so. This can be a great way to help you get a handle on what the most meaningful, scary and important elements of the novel are TO YOU and thus create a starting point for a marketing program that feels genuine and organic.

2. Make a list of bloggers who loved your first book. Not a long list. A short one of readers who truly connected with the material, your writing style, etc. Next to each name and web link, write one thing you would want to tell them about your new manuscript.

3. Visit an online bookstore and find ten book covers whose styles seems right for your novel. Use pencil, computer program, whatever to mock up your dream cover. This will help you realize what you feel is the visual iconography of your book.

4. Ask yourself, if you could do ONE PROMOTIONAL PROJECT to support your novel (not something you'd ask your publisher to pay for or something crazy impossible like sending the manuscript to Beyonce), what would it be? This answer could take some time to find.

5. Put all the results of exercises 1-4 in a drawer.

6. Take a nap.

7. Walk your dog, or your kid, or yourself around the block.

8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 for a few days.

9. More next Monday.

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