Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Getting Book Publicity Is Like Conducting A Job Search

While reading one of my client’s books, Forget Job Security by Dawn Rasmussen, it occurred to me that one’s job search is like a book marketing campaign and one’s job interview is similar to an author’s media interview.  The fluctuating job market also parallels the transitioning book industry.

Everyone needs to create, foster, and grow their personal brand. Whether it’s to keep your job or find a new one, how you are seen by others will greatly influence your career success. The same is certainly true for writers.  No matter how many books you are writing or have had published, you must establish and build your brand identity.  This is true no matter where you are on the author food chain – novice or bestselling author.

Where Rasmussen’s book speaks about “career management,” which she describes as “a process that takes place every single day both on the job and off-the-job, and represents a new mindset and approach to building a meaningful professional background that attracts opportunity,” authors should concern themselves with ‘writer management.’

Writers can take control of their careers.  They don’t need permission from anyone to succeed.  They can control their own fate.  If writers fail, it’s no one’s fault but their own.  Don’t blame others because you weren’t smart enough, aggressive enough, and opportunistic enough.

Writers can control many things.  They can:

Write as much as they want on any topic.
Edit their work or hire a helper.
Contact as many publications, literary agents and publishers as they want.
Self-publish at any time.
Create a blog and use free social media to promote themselves.
Speak before large groups and connect with others.

What they can’t do is do nothing and hope to be discovered or demand that gatekeepers recognize their writing brilliance.  To succeed as a writer it’s not enough to write a very good book, magazine article, or blog post.  You need to market yourself.

If you can’t – or don’t want to market yourself – then hire help.  Otherwise, you’ll be spending time with a therapist whining about how the world doesn’t recognize your genius.  Take control of your writing career and use your time and resources not just to write a book, but to promote your writing brand.

Interview With Writer Phyllis Humby

  1. You are looking to get your first novel published.  How challenging has the process been for you? It has been a huge challenge.  A published author told me that securing an agent/publisher was like winning the lottery.  I believe him.  It’s not just about the writing.  It might include being in the right place and having the right connections.  Timing is a major factor, as well.  There are a zillion writers and we all have a story.  The process entails researching new agents to find the perfect fit.  I sweat blood over the ever-changing queries that go out.  I give it my best shot and hope for positive feedback.

  1. What is the book about? I’m glad you asked that question, Brian.  There’s nothing I love more than talking about my writing – what a surprise.  I’ve just finished the first draft of a psychological thriller and I’m totally pumped editing this challenging story.However, the book I am currently flogging to agents/publishers, Old Broad Road, is a mainstream novel.  I overheard someone say that there is not enough gray matter on the bookracks these days.  I don’t think they meant fifty shades either! Is there an age limit to starting over?  Is there a point in time when even though our lives are unbearable we are too old to run away? 
Sylvia Kramer’s world is shattered in the time it takes to open a door.  Life as she knows it disappears, blurring her own identity.  Desperate, she embarks on a six-week road trip and impulsively purchases an abandoned house in Chapel’s Cove, Newfoundland − two thousand miles from home.  Her rashness is partly driven by the need to get away not only from her ex-husband, but also from her grown children.
The way of life in Newfoundland is as strange to Sylvia as a foreign country, and she struggles to understand the rapid dialect, distinctive idioms, and home-spun reality of the welcoming Newfoundlanders.
Just as she comes to terms with the estrangement from her family, a violent home invasion leaves her brutalized and scarred, forcing Sylvia to adopt a unique coping strategy.
Through diverse characters, humour, and heartbreak, Old Broad Road tells the story of one resilient woman coming to grips with and surviving the consequences of life-altering decisions.

Like Bette Davis said, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.”

  1. What do you love about writing? I love creating complex characters; putting thoughts into their minds and words into their mouths.  Individuals with problems, eccentricities, talents, and relationships.  They become real people to me and, hopefully, to my readers.  My writing style is more of a pantser.  Writing from an outline doesn’t seem to go well.  My characters are determined to lead me in unexpected directions.

  1. Where do you see book publishing heading? I would like to believe that print books would always have their place.  It grieves me to think that book signings will consist of a handshake and a flash stick.  Having said that, I’m never without my e-reader.  I’m guilty of purchasing digital books for convenience sake but as a consolation I read more now.  Whether it’s waiting for an appointment or for a friend at lunch, I manage to spend the time constructively.   It’s odd that I associate guilt with digital books.  Perhaps it’s a feeling of disloyalty because of my life-long love of print editions.  I still remember the thrill of cracking open the latest book in The Bobbsey Twins series when I was a child, feeling its weight in my hands and stroking the crisply inked words. In my opinion, there should be a print version of every book as well as digital.  Do I see book publishing heading in this direction?  I’m afraid I don’t. 

  1. How do you use social media to boost your author brand? I use Facebook.  Who doesn’t?  I also connect on Linkedin.  More than anything else, my blog The Write Break has increased my online exposure.  For now I’m Twitter-less.  I have only so many hours in a day and I want to spend every one of them working on my novel. 
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect (www.media-connect.com), the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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