There’s nothing like spending an entire day with 80 or 90 writers to inspire one to write. Though I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, I’m some days not so eager to put words on paper as I am other days.
But Saturday’s Ozark Writer’s League meeting with speakers like Melina Lott, who taught us all the ways we can promote ourselves after we write that perfect novel, which she also gave pointers on; the panel that discussed the ins and outs of ways we can get our work out there; and Mary Nida Smith who spoke on blogging, I’m ready to hit it again.
As a novice writer, I thought my work was to write the best book or article I could. I’ve since learned better. Most of us don’t think of those other hats we wear. Hats that help us to edit and rewrite, search for and find an agent and/or publisher who likes our work, then promote and build our platform. Changing from one hat to another is oft times difficult. My old friend Dusty Richards always recommends moving to a different location to edit work, and that helps in changing hats.
It turns out that we also have to change our mindset for pitching and for promoting. A different side of our brain must take over because we are no longer creating, tough pitching and promoting does take a certain amount of creativity. What works for one writer and her books may not work for another. Nonfiction calls for a different approach to both pitching and promoting than does fiction. For those of us who write both, we are challenged doubly.
Nonfiction writers are often pitching something they haven’t written yet. There’s an idea rattling around in their head, they have some notion of where it will go and what they will say. By the time promoting rolls around, the book is finished and we know where will be the best places to try and market it. The subject matter decrees that. In ways, it’s much simpler to promote and sell nonfiction to the public than it is fiction.
We are challenged ten-fold to promote our fiction. Think about the subject matter. Where the book is located, what the profession of the hero and heroine is, perhaps even what they do to solve their problem. Then think of all the organizations and businesses you know of that might in some way be related to these things. One friend went to look at a specific gun in a sports shop and when she told them she was writing a book that featured that gun, they invited her to come back when it was published and they would have a book signing.
One never knows from where these opportunities will come, but remain open to every opportunity. If a specific vehicle is featured in your book, contact someone who sells that vehicle, see if they would be willing to help with promotion. Perhaps not a book signing, but something else. In this way, we have to remain creative, even when we wear the promotional hat.
For more ideas by all means, attend gatherings such as the quarterly OWL meeting in Hollister, Mo. It’s one of the best and least expensive writer’s gatherings around. Check out their website here.
Good advice, Velda. My friend, the late Peggy Simson Curry, said to always carry a notepad and pen with you to jot down ideas that occur to you when you're driving or shopping or visiting a friend. As we grow older, those great ideas seem to fade away before we get a chance to sit down at the computer. 🙂