Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Little Story About Figuring the Angles

One of the reasons I say that authors can do a better job of publicizing their own books is that they know their own books better than anyone and can, therefore, figure the angles.

"Figuring the angles" sounds gross -- sort of opportunistic -- but when it comes to your baby, you need to think that way. After all, if your book were a real child, you'd want to figure out how to get the best for him or her, wouldn't you?

This week something happened that illustrates what I mean by figuring the angles. I was browsing my hometown newspaper (an LA Times affiliate) when I ran across June Casagrande's column (A Word, Please) on hyphens. That's a subject I cover in The Frugal Editor. Along with a related subject she touched on about how the Internet is working to change the English language (and others, too, I'd imagine, but I write in English so I happen to notice the changes in English! Ha!).

I wrote June a note about how domain names push words together and then thought, "Why not send my little old hometown newspaper a letter about the same subject? I recycled the letter I had written to her (meaning I fixed it up a bit to make it more presentable) and sent it off. I really didn't expect anything from it. It didn't really fit with most of the Letters-to-the-Editor that get published but what the heck. This was recycled, right? Easy. Fast. Worth a shot for my baby!

It ran on Tuesday. Here it is. http://www.glendalenewspress.com/articles/2007/10/09/opinion/gnp-mailbag1009.txt You can find it second letter down the page.

Now, some promotion lessons learned from this:

1. Take a chance with your promotion efforts (but within reason for you don't want to come off unprofessional)
2. Learn to weave the name of your book or what you're doing so it's an integral part of the piece--in other words, promote but not too flagrantly.
3. And most important, when you're reading, watching TV, salting about town, keep your promotion hat on. How does what you see relate to your book? How can you turn it to your advantage? If so, is there a way to inform or help others in the doing of it?
4. Oh, yes. The FRUGAL aspect. Try to make lots of what you write do double duty.


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author THIS IS THE PLACE; HARKENING: A COLLECTION OF STORIES REMEMBERED; TRACINGS, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T; and THE FRUGAL EDITOR: PUT YOUR BEST BOOK FORWARD TO AVOID HUMILIATION AND ENSURE SUCCESS.
Her other blogs include TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com and AuthorsCoalition.blogspot.com, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.

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