Monday, July 30, 2012

Promoting Books in a Visual Age

I was several minutes late for the very first workshop of this year's writers conference because I spent several minutes talking with PNWA's president, Pam Binder and Managing Director, Kelli Liddane. 

Despite my chattiness, I was able to catch-up on the Top Ten Things Authors Should Do to Promote Their Work, hosted by Andrea Heuston of Visual Quill:

10. Have a website--so agents, publishers an most importantly, readers, can find you.

9. Provide links--to other applicable sites.

8. Have a blog, so you can keep your people updated on your between books activities.  A blog should focus on providing some sort of service to the reader.  Popular blog sites are: Wordpress, Blogger and Tumbler.

7.  Provide "Marketing Collateral."  That is, have material you can hand to people you meet, such as business cards, book marks, trading cards, or any other such cotchkie or doodad that will make people remember you--in a positive light.

6. Professional book cover.  Even if you're self-publishing, it will behoove you to invest in high-quality cover art, that should reflect what's inside your book.

5. Start a newsletter.  Like a blog, this should be about providing a service to the reader.  Good newsletters should have--
--a feature article
--an added element of value
-- calendar of events
--contact information
--a professional look and feel.

4. Have promotions and contests--to get readers excited about your upcoming work.

3. Get involved in social media.  Sites include:  Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and the newest kid on the internet block, Pintrest.  (Does anyone go to MySpace anymore?).

2.  Create a book trailer.

What's a book trailer, you ask?

It's like a movie trailer, only about--well--books.  It was at this point, Andrea treated us to some of Visual Quill's breathtaking trailers.

Some tips on creating book trailers:

--They should be 30-90 seconds long, max.
--Do not use actors or voices, it will give preconceived notions to readers on what the characters sound like.
--Do not give away the plot.

In addition to Visual Quill, Circle of Seven is another book trailer producer, along with the Seattle-based production company Baby Wild Films.

1.  LISTEN.  Get a feel for what your readers want, by conducting surveys, or any other means of gleaning feedback.  The more interaction you have with readers, the bigger the opportunity you have to sell books.

A side-note about headshots:

Since we now live in such a digital/visual age, at one point in the workshop, Andrea gave us the following tips about book-jacket/press-kit photos, known as "headshots:" 

--High resolution, 300 dots per inch (dpi), or higher.  Camera phones lack this kind of resolution
--Full color
--Single subject, with a neutral background  (no family/vacation photos)
--Wear solid color clothing

This implies another investment--getting a photo done professionally.  One of PNWA's sponsors is Bennington Headshots and often have representatives at each year's conference. 


DeanM said...

Hey, Ted; still enjoying the writer thing I see. Looks like there is a plethora of ways to get your writing recognized nowadays - blogging for one! Best, Dean

Ted Henkle said...

Thanks Dean! I feel I'm better at writing than I am at painting figures. :)
You are right about the many ways of getting one's work noticed: Self-publishing, e-books, print-on-demand (POD), just to name a few. And this just covers novel-sized writing. Thanks to the internet, short stories are making a comeback.