The Big Stew

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?

But the good old carrot…now how can you beat that?                     

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.

10.    And last but not least, be the best darn carrot you can be, because they’re going to slice you and dice you anyway.

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?



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14 Responses to The Big Stew

  1. Hi Robena,

    Cute blog post containing great advice. I don’t have much to add except your best promotion is your next book, so don’t get so caught up in the promo you don’t have time to write.

  2. robena grant says:

    Excellent advice, Kathy.
    Fortunately I’m contracted with two more books after this one. But my main resolution on Jan 1st was to write new material. So far so good, and it feels fabulous to be doing that. : )

  3. Well, I’ve been stewing for awhile and my carrot may be getting mushy! Time for me to finish cooking the book that my lovely blog readers have been hearing about for entirely too long. Thanks for the sage advice!

  4. robena grant says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Megan. Even if you are a bit mushy…I like mushy. : ) So happy to hear that you are back into the writing again.

  5. Gina Bono says:

    Thanks for this, Roben! Great advice to keep in mind. I love all of these, and especially #10. Guess it’s always good to remember to try to be the best carrot you can be in whatever you’re doing.

    Carrots are definitely my favorite part of a stew — they soak up all the flavors and taste delicious! 😀

  6. robena grant says:

    Hey, Gina. Seriously, I also favor the carrots in the stew. Yep #10 says it all: just be the best we can be, do our homework, and understand that we don’t have to have all of the answers.

  7. Sam Beck says:

    Hey Roben, if you’re a carrot, you’re a Royal Chantenay! I need to print out this blog and pin it to my wall, because it’s a nice, concise list of everything I ought to be doing. What about book trailers? Do those fit into the stew?

  8. robena grant says:

    Oooooh, a Royal, eh? Sounds special, I’m sort of preening here. : )

    I think book trailers are fabulous and personally love to watch them. I’m not sure how effective they are in marketing a book but they’re certainly pretty, and yes, they should be added to the stew. I spoke with Lynne Marshall because she had a great one done for her last book. I may venture into that…depends on how far I need to stretch those prom/marketing dollars. It’s all guess work at this stage.

  9. This sounds like a recipe for success, Robena!
    I would add more roughage – perhaps grains, though not to overdo it, as in a quarterly newsletter. Something to thicken that stew, sharing personal news, perhaps recipes, a funny story or two. Pictures! Oh, yes, add pictures to that newsletter/stew. People love to feel a part of your life.

    Sounds yummy.

    • robena grant says:

      A newsletter. Yes, Lynne, and photos. That’s a good idea, an opportunity to reach different readers. A lot of readers really want to connect, don’t they?

  10. Julie says:

    This was so clever!
    I love your writing, and your thinking!

    Very good choice, the carrot.

  11. robena grant says:

    Thank you, Julie. : )
    You made my day.

  12. You’re way ahead of me here. I’m terrible at selling things. You seem on top of it. I know I can’t wait to read your book.

  13. robena grant says:

    Aww, Judy. I hope you aren’t disappointed. I want you to like it. : ) Now get yours out their girl!