I love to write. That doesn’t make me a good writer, an interesting writer, or even a bad writer. I’m just another writer in this big stew of writers hoping that someone might find my stories tasty. I can dream, right?
So here is this big stew of writers. The sauce is good, the meat is tender, (I don’t need top billing…others can be the meat) but the vegetables, now those are awesome. I want to be a vegetable. So what could I be? How can I stand out in the stew? Potato has a reputation of falling apart. Don’t want that. Tomato is squishy and becomes sauce. Wishy-washy, don’t you think? Turnips are turnips. Too boring! Onion? And what, make you all cry? Peas and beans are nice but can be gassy. Who wants bloat?
So here I am, this old writer carrot, and I have a story to tell. Actually the story is told. I need to entice people to come take a taste. How does one go about that? I suppose I could draw a nice picture. Or take a photograph. Perhaps draw a diagram and point out all of the amazing benefits of the carrot, like preventing night blindness. I don’t know how many of the suckers you have to eat to do that…but still. That should hold a person’s interest for, oh-about-a-second. What if I gave myself a catchy name like Clarissa the Clever Carrot, or, Charles the Roasted, Toasted Carrot? That should get someone’s attention.
In all seriousness, how do we move from the writer mindset into the promotion and marketing mindset? I don’t know a lot, but I do know this: we have to start early. Talk up our book. Even before it’s finished. Let people know we’re proud to call ourselves a carrot writer. Here’s what I think has to happen:
1. Hook up. Join in with like minds. A local group. A National group. An online group. Volunteer if you can.
2. Blog, but don’t make it all about your carroty self. Add in some vegetable friends. Let them shine. Kale has become popular. Maybe you can do a guest post. Interview him.
3. Keep your website updated, clean, and easy to navigate. Display your book covers. Invite people to read the books by offering excerpts, but don’t oversell. Do include a buy button. Because you have to make it easy for them to take a bite.
4. Become active on social media sites but don’t over-promote. Try to drive people to your blog and website with interesting tidbits, because that’s where the buy button is. : )
5. Get book reviews and mention them without bragging about how tasty you are. Let them take a bite and figure that out for themselves.
6. Show up in different recipes, um, formats. Write for your chapter newsletter. Submit short stories to magazines. Write to the editor of newspapers, or for writing magazines.
7. Respond to other vegetables blogs. Learn what it’s like to be a rutabaga. Leave comments. Participate. Commiserate. Read their books and write reviews. Like them and tag them.
8. Find out how other vegetables are being included in different recipes. How are they being promoted? Where are their articles appearing? Observe, and learn from them.
9. Try your hand at public speaking (even if it’s just at your local chapter.) It might be a smaller crock pot, but it’s a good place for an aspiring carrot to get a start. And when your book is out then you won’t get so nervous and wilt from the pressure.
If you have any suggestions I’d love to add to my list. If you’re a published author or a crunchy carrot, what has worked the best for you in getting the word out about your books?