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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Marketing: "The Secret" to Being Your Own "Secretary of Selling It"

The LA Times headline (P. A13, Tues, March 24) “Obama lacks a Secretary of Selling It” caught my attention. For me the word “selling” translates into “marketing” or at least, “public relations.” I know. It’s a sickness.

And I was a bit puzzled by the headline at first because Obama himself is a great marketer--even if he hasn’t quite mastered the “selling” part in his mere 70 or 80 days in office. But the article points out that he chose his advisors and secretaries for their expertise and their “ability to think creatively about problems and to work out solutions to what is admittedly a very complex issue.” So says Alice M. Rivlin, budget director under President Clinton. And, of course, that’s not a bad thing.

The article is right, though. One of the reasons that Obama must appear in public so often is that his advisors aren’t very good at it. Sumner, as an example, made big time boo-boos as President of Harvard--notably with his remark about women’s mathematical ability--so he’s been sort of hidden away wherever presidents hide the people who have value but can’t be trusted in public. Then Geithner, who looks adorable, but comes off wonky, stressed, and unprepared on TV, didn’t exactly sell his program to Wall Street even though now it appears they approve. Too late. Obama has stepped in to do the selling. Geithner will just have to be satisfied seeing the stock market take off instead of dip. Or is it too early to tell?

So how does all this relate to authors? Well, we are for the most part our own Secretaries of Selling It!

We all know that selling is very, very important indeed. We want to sell our books. But we can’t do it until we understand that great PR and marketing comes before selling. And we can’t do that until we’ve developed the skills to do it.

So, the question we should be asking ourselves is, what are we doing to better our skills? For speaking, I suggest Pam Kelly’s Speak with Power! Speak with Passion! For feeling inspired, I suggest the book, CD or video, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. There is nothing new in it, mind you, but if you really use it by listening to it until the secrets permeate you pores, you may find your passion so palpable that you’re your marketing and PR efforts materialize into sales before you know it. You'll find the how-tos to go along with those skills in The Frugal Book Promoter.

Happy Writing, Promoting and, Yes, Editing, Too!
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

PS: Another lesson I’ve been learning from politics lately (and from The Secret), is that if you feel you must criticize someone or something, it’s better if you turn that urge on its ear. Praise Instead. And offer a positive alternative. Enough bitching already.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, 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 FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.