Writing life

Blog Tour for John 3:16 Marketing Network

Writing a book isn’t easy. You spend hours, months, maybe even years culling through and refining ideas, researching information, and writing draft after draft after draft. Many people tend to think that the author’s job is finished once she signs a contract with a publisher – that editors at the publishing house make every sentence sparkle, marketers plan and implement national publicity campaigns, and book store managers automatically purchase multiple copies to feature in their front window display.

Granted, some of those things can come true to a certain degree. But for the average author – especially one who isn’t a household name – handing off the manuscript to her editor is just the first step on a whole new leg of the journey.

One of the biggest jobs that falls to an author these days is marketing. Literary agents, editors, and publishing houses want to know up front what kind of marketing plan or potential reach an author has. Yes, they’ll still help with marketing to a certain extent. But they want to know who the author knows or who the author has access to that can help spread the word about a book. They want to know how many people follow the author’s blog, how many hits her website gets each month, how many friends or contacts she has on social networks, how people she knows through organizations or groups can help create a following for her.

In other words, they want to know how the author plans to create buzz for her book and help get it noticed. And the better potential she has to reach her target audience, the better her chances at getting attention.

I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I was a new member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network. J316 is a network of Christian authors who help increase awareness of each other’s books and create some of that momentum an author needs to get noticed. An author in the network schedules a release date for her book and invites others in the network to participate in the launch. She helps them prepare by providing information on the book, potential interview questions, photos, etc. I don’t know that I’ll be able to participate in everyone’s launches, but I hope to help however I can. And the cool thing is, with so many authors coming together on the same day, the author with the launch can offer some pretty nifty prizes on that specific day. I’ll have all the details here on those days.

The network is still fairly new and we’re still letting people know about it and trying to connect with other authors who want to participate. We actually kicked off a promotional campaign yesterday and have several of our authors hosting a blog tour over the next few days.

Click here to learn more about the blog tour and where each day’s stop will be. You might even be able to stock up on some free e-books or other gifts from the authors who are participating. I hope you’ll check it out!

Writing life

Resource: Conference CDs

If I had unlimited vacation time, a bottomless bank account, and no family obligations, I could easily become a writers’ conference junkie. I’m involved with a conference my local writers group hosts each summer and try to attend one other conference during the year. But there are so many to choose from and it can be so hard to decide which one is best! Since I can’t go to nearly as many as I’d like, I’ve found the next best thing — CDs or MP3 downloads of the conference sessions.

No, it’s not the same as being there, but most are really high quality and it’s nice to be able to listen to them again in case I missed something the first time (and I always miss something the first time!). They’re also pretty inexpensive and most speakers are happy to email you copies of the handouts if you can track down their email address. Just think — if you were a speaker, wouldn’t you love to get an email months after your talk saying, “I bought the CD from your class at ____ conference and am really enjoying it. Is there any way you could send me the handouts you used?”? Personally, a note like that would make my day! So even if I don’t need handouts sometimes I’ll send a quick note to the speaker just to let her know I learned something.

So far, I’ve bought CDs or have downloaded MP3s from sessions at 4 conferences. Here are some links for you to check out the next time you’re looking for a conference-on-the-go or need a quick fix before your next one:

I’m sure there are other conference that have class CDs available. If you know of any, send me a note and I’ll add it to the list. Happy learning!