Monday, October 19, 2009

Be Submission and Promotion Brave: What Do You Have To Lose?

Famous Internet Voices Radio host and author Lillian Cauldwell is guest blogger today. She is playing a bit of psychologist because we were talking about how painful it is for us to see talented authors take their chances and let their books ride on the belief that it will get somehow get lots of readership. What if it doesn't? Our books are our babies! We really don't want to trust to luck! So here she is, inspiring as usual:

Ever hear of that phrase, "You've got nothing to lose".

They're right. You don't have anything to lose because you're not putting your best foot forward. You're not taking any chances with your writing, placing in a contest, submissions to an e-zine or regular magazine or even submitting your query letter, synopsis, and bio of yourself to an agent or a book publisher.

What does this sentence really mean? More importantly, what does this sentence really mean to you and how do you overcome such a seemingly minimal responsibility.

For one thing, you lose more if you don't submit. I know what I'm talking about. My first alternate history book was released this August by Publish America. How are sales you're going to ask? Let me tell you, "Sales are not good." Why, you ask?

Because after receiving only two book reviews for my book and three national chain bookstores refused to carry my book or promote me in a book signing, I quietly withdrew from the fray. You can't do that if you're a serious writer or what book publishers and agents call, professional writers.

I consider myself a professional writer. After moaning and groaning and kicking myself in my posterior, a mid-list writer, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, told me to get off my butt and promote myself.

"What do you have to lose?"

My big loses were: branding my name, getting my book noticed, getting me noticed, and letting the world know about my achievements. How, you may ask, did you do that? This is what I finally did.

I created a newsletter; This-n-That that provides additional information and tips to writers who want to enhance their writing careers. Simegen.com hosts my mailing list for this list.

Secondly, I joined www.authorsden.com and put up my Web page with general information, filling in their forms, transferred the rest of me and my books to their online site where people visit your web and learn some interesting things about you. A Web site! Aha! Did something explode into your brain with sparklies and colored lights?

Thirdly, I involved myself in several writers' groups online, joined one or two writer's organizations, submitted articles to my Author's Den Web site, put them in my newssletter or sent them out to writers' e-zines and other magazines. People are hungry and thirsty for FREE information on the many ins and outs of writing.

I wrote science fiction, fantasy, and speculative short stories and submitted them to other Web sites, to online e-zines, at my Author's Den Web Site and submitted to www.simegen.com charitable donation site, Simecenter, where readers can download them for a contribution to a charity. I also submitted one short story, "Lottery," to www.sffworld.com and it was accepted for their December issue online. I had my first e-zine credit. I submitted to another fantasy short story to Playboy Magazine, "Mask, A Modern Fairy Tale" and six poems to The Atlantic Review.

What did I have to lose?

I am resubmitting my first nonfiction, book, "Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent's Guide" to publishers and agents who do reprints of books that are no longer contracted with their previous publisher and they reprint them.

Poetry was another niche that I found I was quite good at. I submitted them to several prestigious magazines.

What do I have to lose?

The answer is still, NOTHING, of course.

When you reach a time in your life when something hits you squarely in the face, the first thought that comes to you should be: What do I have to lose? And, the answer facing you squarely should be, "nothing." Send that short story out. You might be surprised and the magazine will accept it, return it with good rejection advice, or the editor might scribble a note telling you to resubmit it when it's corrected. The possibilities are endless.

What do you have to lose? You know that answer by now. I shouldn't have to shout it.

Send out review letters asking Publisher's Weekly, Midwest Book Review, The New York Times Review, or The Los Angeles Book Review to review your book. Again, you might be surprised, and one of them might review your book and give you a five star rating. It could happen, you know.

Or get yourself interviewed on radio, TV, Internet; what do you have to lose? You might actually be invited for that interview. You might talk to a national host where 80,0000 people are listening to you. Luck... or is it? What do you have to lose?

Life is funny. It can take you completely unaware sometimes, but if you don't try, if you don't put out your best foot forward, if you don't take the chance, how will you ever know if you're a clunker or a flyer?

When you come across this sentence, "What do you have to lose?" Remember, one thing. It's not the reward that counts (although it does make one glow), but it's the work and effort you put into it that makes you shout out loud, "I've got to try or no one will know about me or my titles, except me, myself, and I.

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Lillian is "Creator" Cauldwell:
Voices of the People - United We Roar!
734-332-5902
Her radio show may be found at: http://internetvoicesradio.com
She blogs at: http://pivtr.blogspot.com
Her Web site is: http://lilliancauldwell.com -----
This blog comes to you from 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.

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