Wednesday, February 16, 2011

To Promote or Not Promote...That is the Question

This is one of many amazing examples of what you will find by subscribing to Publishing Syndicates Wow Principles Newsletter. I can't stress enough how much great information these two make available to us writers every month. Dahlynn encouraged me to scroll through the archives to look for some of the information about getting published that may not be obvious. It wasn't long before hours had passed and I was reminded what a wealth of knowledge their archives are. Here is just one article from March of 2007. I couldn't bear to paraphrase so I am publishing this piece in its entirety (with permission, of course!). Visit Publishing Syndicate and get a whole lot more where this came from!

To Promote or Not Promote...That is the Question

Dahlynn McKowen, March 2007

During fall 2005, I was given just a few months to rewrite Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul. During that time, I approached sixty of the nation’s top CEOs and entrepreneurs, convincing nearly all of them to submit their start-up stories for this title. Many amazing entrepreneurs joined me, from Jim McCann of 1-800-flowers to Cookie Lee of Cookie Lee Designs to Tom Chappell of Tom’s of Maine.

Due to my requirement of a six-week or less turnaround on new copy,one person who couldn’t join me was Donald Trump. I asked for a story from him on “branding” oneself, which, regardless if you care for him or not (and I happen to like him), “The Donald” is the master of branding a name. In his book Trump: How to Get Rich (Random House, 2004), Trump talks about modesty and the importance of “tooting your own horn.” From Trump’s book: “…you better learn to speak up and announce your significant accomplishments to the world—nobody else will.”

This phrase has stuck with me since. Between Ken and myself, I’m the extrovert of the duo and marketing and media savvy is my forte. Though few people promote themselves in the grandiose way Trump mentions in his book, it’s important that you toot your own horn, and TOOT IT AS LOUD AND AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN!

How many times do you promote your accomplishments related to your writing? Selfpromotion is one of the primary keys to becoming a successful writer, and take it from us, you’re on your own when it comes to promotion; if you’re working with a publisher, your book will be the “flavor of the month” for the marketing department until their next book comes along. And if you’re self-published, marketing is a must.

It’s interesting to me that so many writers are afraid to promote their work. About a year ago, I was at a local children’s book writing event. As the open discussion ensued about myriad writing-related topics one woman sitting in the back row sheepishly asked, “I’m too scared to talk to the media about my children’s book. Isn’t that a publisher’s job?” What surprised me was that the majority of the audience shook their heads in agreement. I offered several ideas and resources to her on self-promotion, but she still felt that it was a publisher’s responsibility. My jaded, but polite, response was that if she and her nodding audience allies were not interested in promoting themselves and their accomplishments, they should plan on only producing enough copies of their books to give away as “legacy” gifts to family and friends, as sales were likely not a part of their futures.

I realize my response was a bit crass, but it was sheer reality. If you’re not willing to promote your work—in essence, yourself—then why should the media, a publisher or any other marketing entity tied to your book want to promote it? And think about this; non-promotion is the kiss of death for those who self-publish their titles, as they don’t have publishers to help. For those of us tied to publishers, non-promotion equals no royalties, and thus, no earned income.

Here’s a great example of tooting one’s horn; our book Best of California’s Missions, Mansions and Museums is a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s 2007 “Book of the Year” Award, travel category. Being a finalist is a huge deal, let alone winning the category, so we instantly started promoting this accomplishment. This week alone, we had five public appearances, including a regional National Public Radio (NPR) interview, all based off this one nomination. And we’re booking future speaking engagements/sales opportunities based on our NPR interview.

Again, book promotion is a huge part of becoming a successful writer. This topic is so vast that we’re creating a Wow Principle’s e-booklet on the subject. Watch for it, but in the meantime, get out there and promote yourself…and your work!

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