Planning an Event to Promote? Here's How to Spread the Word

Sometimes planning an event is the easy part. I'm one of those who happens to enjoy the event organizing process (most of the time). The thing is, unless your event is only for family and friends, getting people to come to it can be much harder.

There are lots of ways to try to spread the word, but here's a helpful little list with tips about some of the more useful social media tools from John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing. If you don't have time to do them all, try to figure out which one or two best suits your personality and give those a shot first. If you have time, add another. While it's important to get the word out, it's not important to overload yourself so that when the event does come, you're too stressed to enjoy it or to do well. Do the best you can, see what works and what doesn't and then adjust your strategy for next time.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Another Glimpse Into a Day in the Life of an Agent

Sometimes, even when you have all the how-to info you can get your hands on, nothing truly compares to a personal story. When someone tells you real life experience (and does it well), I think you can get a much better feel for what you're trying to understand.

If you're considering getting an agent for your book, you'll definitely want to read this post from Sandra, a newer agent in Chip MacGregor's office, for some great insights into real life in the traditional publishing world. Even if you aren't going in that direction, you can find some tidbits that can help you with your decisions too.

Surprised by anything you read? Feel free to get the conversation started in the comments.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


What Was It Like?

We've probably all asked the question above at some time or another. Usually it comes after someone else has had a particular experience and we want to know the details. Maybe they worked with or met someone famous, maybe they climbed a mountain or they had to give someone else some bad news.
We ask the question because we want to know how they felt, how all their senses were engaged. We want to know if they felt happy, sad, irate or joyful beyond belief. Sometimes we hope to feel the same too if they just describe it well enough.

Have you considered the experience a reader will have with your book? Not just will they enjoy it or learn something from it, but the whole big picture experience. My guess is you fiction writers out there probably give that a lot of thought, but non-fiction maybe not so much. I'll admit I can't say I thought in that depth until recently.

Also, even if you have considered this point for your book itself (and if so good for you!) have you considered it with regard to other touch points you have with your buyers and readers? For example, if they visit or even buy from your website, what's the experience like? If you meet in person or have an event surrounding the book, what do they feel like when they leave? When they share the experience with others? Are they enlightened, wowed, glad, soothed, excited, joyful or maybe even surprised?

If they weren't, should they be?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


A Reminder Most People Need

I found a link on Twitter today and thought it was just a great post for a summer weekend. It's about the creativity of kids-and how most of us lose it as adults. For example, when was the last time you created just to create whether through writing or anything else? When was the last time you had fun that might be considered less than adult (with or without kids along for the event)?

If it's been a while, I hope this post will inspire you. If it does, I hope you'll share!

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

BTW, I titled this post "most" people need this reminder because there are some who generally don't. Any of you who know my husband will agree with me :-)


How Badly Can You Screw It Up?

Have you ever thought about trying something but didn't because you were afraid you'd mess something up? Maybe you want to try something completely different than what you normally write whether it was a divergence from genre, topic or voice. Maybe you've thought about moving from articles to a book. Maybe you want to try turning your writing into a business instead of a hobby.

Whatever is is, maybe you wanted to but you didn't because you're afraid of screwing up some or all of it. My question for you today is, how bad will it really be if you do?

As some of you know, I'm working on a new book project that's completely different from my first one. This means I need another website. I decided to try one that's Word Press based this time and found someone to help me get started with it. Well, long story short, while I'm waiting for her to have some time in her schedule, I decided to see what I could do on my own. And what you really need to understand here is that I know nothing about code, or programming. A few years ago, I was shown how to install WP on a site but that's about it, that site never went anywhere. I figured the worst that could happen was my web person would have to hit a few delete buttons and start from wherever she was going to start anyway. And that wouldn't be the end of the world.

On the other hand, if I did at least okay, there would at least be something at my site besides "this site is parked". Well, so far I did okay, what I did shows up at the domain. When my designer does finally get hold of it, we'll see if the tech side was done even close to correctly, but in a worst case scenario, if she can't meet my deadline, what I have will work temporarily.

So what have you been waiting to try because you might screw up? Make today the day you take a moment to think about how bad it could be if you did mess up and, as long as no one's in danger, weigh that against how good it could be if you at least did okay.

If you go for it, let us know! Hope you do.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Dissecting the Book Sales Process

Dissection-you probably did that sometime in high school to some critter or another. My time at the lab table involved poking and prodding everything from starfish and worms to a mink. As a quick aside, for those of you who don't know, biology was my minor in college and my high school bio teacher was an incredible mentor to me.

Okay, back to books. Dissection is a cold, clinical process for the most part. Certainly, many students have to steel themselves (and their stomachs) in order to be able to do it at all. So what does such a term have to do with the beautifully creative world of writing? If you want to sell books, a lot.

Even though many authors love the magical, muse-inspired part of writing, the book selling part is pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum of what writers do. Though promotion does involve creativity in planning events etc. (thankfully) the biggest part is number crunching. Sales reps, stores, and the publisher all have numbers they want to see from a book. Bottom line, as cold and clinical as it sounds, the biggest thing they want to see is a profit. It's great if people are happy because of the books they buy, but that's secondary. Of course thinking about it logically, if they didn't look at the numbers the point of being in business would be...?

Besides the cold and scientific aspects, another thing to note about the book selling process is that it is complicated, especially if we're talking about bookstore sales. Sales kits, co-op marketing, and a little bit luck and educated guessing are all part of the equation.

There's a lot to know, and even though I don't expect you to be an expert at selling (if you are great!), I absolutely believe everyone needs to be familiar with the process so that you aren't following blindly.

To help with that, here is the post that inspired me today courtesy of Nathan Bransford and his associate Eric a sales assistant in the book industry. I'll give you fair warning it's a long one, but it's also very eye-opening. I'd also strongly encourage you to read the comments as Eric answers a handful of questions there as well.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Be Careful What You Wish For

Imagine this:
You decide to independently publish your book. You've done the most professional job you can and you're marketing your little heart out. Sales start to pick up momentum, your Amazon rank is respectable. Life is good. Things continue to roll along and a few days after you appear at an event, you get an email. It's from someone you don't recognize, but the subject says "Would like to talk about your book". You open it and it's from a publisher, a legitimate traditional publisher.

What do you do? What would you say? Are you sure?

Admittedly, this doesn't happen a lot, but if you really do sell successfully it can happen. It did to an author I know personally. In fact, her books sell so well (home school topics) she's been approached more than once. And she turned them down each time. That's not a typo, she turned them down. After she read what they had to offer, she knew it wasn't the best thing for her business.

A lot of authors dream of getting such a phone call, but if it happened to you, are you truly prepared to answer it?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett