So…marketing

August 8th 2014

Grunge Gods has been out for two months and the sales and attention, along with momentum, has dropped off considerably. I’m pretty sure every family member and friend and friend of a friend has bought the book by now, so I find myself suddenly running out of people I know to keep that Amazon sales rank afloat. And while I am crazy grateful that so many of my friends and family have bought the book, it’s time for strangers to read it. And for that to happen, I need to market.

Ugh. Marketing. I mean, I wrote a book. It’s a good book. Why can’t people just read it without me having to do anything? Especially since I don’t like to be pushy. Funny thing is when I was a librarian, I was a book pusher. If you were a teenager in my neck of the stacks, I stalked you until you left with a handful of new reads. Libraries live and die by their circ stats. Just sayin’. But it’s different when it’s my book. I don’t know if it’s my Jewish guilt or what, but it sounds braggy to tell people that I wrote a book. It’s a big accomplishment, but for some reason, I hear my grandma’s voice saying, “No one likes a show off.”

Truth is all authors must market themselves whether they like it or not. Once upon a time, publishers did the marketing for their authors. Now, publishers will only go so far to help them. My publisher does a lot, maybe even more so than some Big 5 pubs. I get a blog tour. Down the line, I might even get a Book Bub ad. But making sure my book gets into the hands of readers comes down on my shoulders.

I try to do everything right. I send out personalized review requests to bloggers. I don’t spam. I aim to be interesting on Twitter. But I’m 35 with three young kids. My days are about potty-training and tantrums and spit-up. No one, not even me, finds that interesting. Unless you enjoy irate tweets to my local politicians, you may not find me all that interesting on Twitter.

I’m grateful for the advice of my dear publishing sister, Katie. The girl has been pushing her book for two years and getting her cover and her brand in front of as many people as possible. And it has paid off for her. She is a New York Times Bestseller! Her nugget of wisdom (that I think she stole from our other publishing sis, Mary): it’s about brand awareness. Not sales. You need to get your book cover in front of a person 8-10 times before they buy it. That’s a lot of hustling for that one sale. But that’s what you do. You hustle. So far my marketing plan has consisted of a Goodreads giveaway, which got my book added to 600 shelves; a meager $50 Facebook ad; and getting some local press. I can only hustle so much with three kids.

My latest marketing strategy is a collective giveaway with other YA authors. In fact, this networking has been my favorite part of marketing my book. I really love connecting with other YA authors. It’s like being in an exclusive club, but with nice people. Nothing like high school. We’re all in this together. Since leaving my librarian position to raise my kids, I haven’t worked outside of my house and it gets lonely. There’s no professional camaraderie during a playdate. But collaborating with other authors on this giveaway has been so much fun. It validates me as an author and makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than my book. Let me tell you, I can’t wait until I can attend writers conferences and conventions. I just have to wait for my baby girl to be a little bit older. But then I am so there. Wherever there is. While I don’t love marketing, I do love that I have written something in which to market. I’m trying to sell something I made (kinda like Etsy) — something I am passionate about — something that is truly good. Hopefully readers will agree and buy my book. Until then…here’s a virtual bookmark. Now, tell your friends!

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An homage to The Golden Girls

July 27th 2014

I was at my parent’s house this weekend when my mom found an accordion file folder filled with old schoolwork. There was everything from a research paper I did in the sixth grade on Chinese families to college history tomes entitled, “Sexuality and Flaubert.” Good times. But my favorite find of the day was a creative writing piece from the seventh grade in which I wrote my own, original episode of The Golden Girls. You know…those lovely fair-haired sexagenarians we all loved so much. It was my most favorite show in the whole, wide world. And apparently this episode was my homage to it.

If you look closely, and I hope you do, you can see all the awful dialogue tags I used such as complained, stated and insulted. I must admit I did have the voice down, mainly Dorothy’s. I always had a knack for sarcasm. Enjoy!!

If you can enlarge it, you can see all the dialogue tags I used.

If you can enlarge it, you can see all the dialogue tags I used.

 

 

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Writing a book is a big freakin deal

July 15th 2014

Since Grunge Gods‘ June release I have been overwhelmed with compliments. Family and friends of family have come up to me or left me a message on Facebook to tell me they bought and read my book. That they loved my book. That they can’t believe I found the time to write a book with three kids. But because I know so many writers who have also done the same, I have a tendency to shrug it off like it ain’t no thing. “Aw, it’s nothing,” I say.

But last night I got to thinking about writers and writing to publish. And you know what? It’s not just writing that’s hard to do in general, and I’m not just saying that because I have three kids (Danielle Steel had eight), but because writers who write novels do so without knowing if it will ever pay off. Think about it. A writer spends a year or more sacrificing time with family or even just time doing fun stuff like shopping or playing Candy Crush. They might spend their lunch hours (because they have to have a day job) working on their manuscript or they might lose sleep staying up late to work when their kids are in bed (a la Danielle Steel). After they’re done pulling their hair out in frustration over plot holes and runaway characters, they’ll send their manuscript to critique partners for feedback and then use those criticisms for revision. It might take them another year to revise. At some point, they will start researching the publishing industry (if they haven’t already) and prepare a query letter and synopsis which, all writers know, takes foooorrrreeevvvver to do and we freakin hate it. At which point they will send their novel to agents hoping someone will love it enough to want to pitch it to publishers. That could take awhile. These agents may not be able to sell a novel, so that one gets trunked while these authors then writer another novel. (breath) But we’re not done. Let’s say the author gets a book deal — hooray! They may get an advance, which the author may or may not earn out. It takes a year or two to publish. Finally, the book is released into the wild. And now the author’s greatest dreams have come true. But…that author then has to sell that book. To everyone. Everyone needs to read the book. Writers need to eat so they’re working a day job, but if they want to publish again, their book has to have a modicum of success. So now, they’re hustling at book signings and library talks and social networking has become their second life and they’re begging, begging bloggers to review their book — all these things just to get people to read this damn book that took them years to get published. All because, they, we, I wrote a story I loved so much that I was willing to do all this shit to get it out there into the world. And you know what? …

Yeah, I wrote a friggin book. And I plan on doing it again and again.

Thank you to everyone for their praise and compliments. Thank you for buying Grunge Gods because you have your choice of thousands of books, but you chose mine. It’s a big deal. Next to those three kids, it’s the biggest thing I’ve done.

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Cake

June 17th 2014

*I’m on a roll using 90s references for blog post titles.*

My thoughtful brother-in-law and sister-in-law had this jazzy Carvel ice cream cake (that’s right, mothereffin Carvel) made with my book cover on it! We had a large Father’s Day gathering so the extended family could meet our baby girl and they bring this baby out during dessert hour (my inlaws are Italian — we have a dessert hour). It was truly a stupendous, not to mention delicious surprise.

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Carvel cake with my book on it!

photo 2-12Isn’t this absolutely amazing? Not to mention my sister-in-law requested extra crunchies. Seriously. And there were leftovers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s me posing in front of said cake. And my book, let’s not forget that baby.

Since my book’s release, I have been blessed with an incredible show of support from friends and family. Not only does it feel like everyone I know has bought the ebook, but some people have bought the ebook and paperback or multiple copies of the paperback (thanks, Dad and Alyssa!). I don’t think it’s possible to fully express my gratitude. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

 

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Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

June 8th 2014

Thank you to everyone who participated in the virtual release party Rafflecopter giveaways! The winners have been notified via email. I am grateful for everyone’s support and enthusiasm. I wish I could give prizes to everyone. Truly.

The winners of the guitar charms are: Nicole H, Jill R., Lynne P., Melissa R. and Samantha J.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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