Don’t Treat Your Book Like an Event, it’s a Career

PJDon’t Treat Your Book Like an Event – it’s a career by PJ Nunn

If you’re opening a new store, it’s important to spend a good amount of time, effort, and even dollars planning the best “grand opening” you can plan. Obviously, the success of your venture rests on getting the word out to as many possible customers as you can. Planning a book launch is the same, and a lot of authors – despite the industry shift to faster submission to release times – work hard at that. But there are some who seem to think that A. there’s no need for pre-publication effort, just start when the book is released, or B. once the initial launch is over, they can forget promotion and go back to writing the next book. Try either of those approaches, then look and see where your sales are in 6 – 9 months.

Neither of those is the right answer. You probably knew that, but if I’ve learned anything in my 15 + years of book promotion, it’s that If it goes without saying, you better say it twice!

Even a grand opening with an SRO crowd and out-the-roof sales will not keep a store going if there are no customers three months later. You have to plan a great grand opening, but the next part of the plan involves how do you A. keep customers coming back and B. keep bringing in new customers? It would be nice if those things happened by accident and maybe – once in a long while –   they do, but rarely.

All too often, when I’m contacted by authors about my promotional services at BreakThrough Promotions, I find they want to skip right to the national markets. Nice idea, but again, it doesn’t usually work that way. I never say never, but experience says not likely. I guess it’s kind of like due diligence. It might seem exciting to think you can go straight to the Today Show without ever having been on your local morning show, or to be interviewed on a SiriusXM program or CSPAN Books when you’ve never been on the radio, but again, not likely. Why? First, because if I call them and suggest you as a potential guest, the first thing they want is for me to send them some clips so they can hear or see you on other shows. Hosts really don’t want to be in a situation where their 5-minute interview guest gives every question a one-word answer, or worse, talks non-stop or mumbles or, horror, leaves them with dead air.

Think of promotional campaign planning as juggling, because that’s kind of what it’s like. Plan a great launch, but also have a plan to keep your name in front of an ever-increasing group of potential buyers with targeted efforts that will keep them coming in 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 + months. Trust me, it won’t happen on accident.

If you were starting a new business, you’d need a business plan. If you want a career as an author, you need a business plan. What does your 12 month promotional calendar look like? Got plans?

Review: Lonely Hearts by John Harvey

Lonely HeartsLonely Hearts

John Harvey

Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1989, 282 Pages

ISBN No. 0-8050-5494-4John Harvey

 

Reviewed by Gina R. Metz

 

When Shirley Peters is found strangled, it initially appears to be an open and shut case when the police arrest her common-law husband, Tony Macliesh.  He has a history of violence, a police record, is insanely jealous and they’ve been split up for eighteen months.  Shirley also had a restraining order against him.

 

However they soon find out that Tony is not guilty when the second woman is murdered while they have Tony in custody.  As they dig deeper into both murders they find that the only things the two women have in common is that they had shared an interest in the local newspaper’s Lonely Hearts column.

 

Lonely Hearts introduces the reader to Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick.  There are eleven books currently in the Resnick series and I look forward to reading all of them.  Lonely Hearts left me wanting to read more about DI Charlie Resnick and his team.

An interview with Lou Honderich

015Lou Honderich is a new writer to me, but I absolutely love her first book and hope to see many more from her!

Lou Honderich is a former teacher and life-long horsewoman. During her teaching career she taught Kindergarten, first grade and elementary PE. Her hearing loss as an adult led her to the deaf community, sign language, and a new direction in teaching. She began to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in self-contained classrooms, mainstream situations, in summer camps and therapeutic horseback riding programs. The author and her husband live on a small farm in northwest Arkansas with their horses, dogs, cats and chickens.  They have five children and seven grandchildren.  Lou Honderich continues to enjoy riding as well as writing, and is currently at work on her next book.

PJ: How long have you been writing? 

LH: About 10 years

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer? 

LH: When my book was accepted for publication

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

LH: My goal was to write the story which became RICKI, for readers to enjoy rather than attempt to earn an income. From my experience, the income does not exceed the outgo of money needed to promote the book.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed? 

LH: My focus is now on marketing the book and writing a second book.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time? 

LH: Five years, although only two of those were spent trying to get published. I tried for one year, let it ride for three, then re-wrote the book tried again. After the re-write it sold fairly quickly.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas? 

LH: I am not very clever at dividing the time, so I try to accomplish whatever tasks are the most pressing. I would far prefer to be writing!

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer? 

LH: Seeing and holding my published book for the first time.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work? 

LH: Meeting a young reader who brought her book to be signed. She was in awe of being with the person who wrote her favorite story. It was such a humbling experience.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others? 

LH: RICKI is the only book available to children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing which has as its main character a deaf girl. Also, there are no books that incorporate deaf culture and sign language. In addition, there is the horse theme which has wide appeal.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet? 

LH: Believe in your work and never give up.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

LH: I am still searching for the most effective tool.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

LH: Finding the markets and reaching them.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

LH: Trolley Line Book Shop, Rogers, Arkansas, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, Arkansas

PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

LH: RICKI is my first published title.front cover for RICKI

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Ricki, a ten-year-old deaf girl living in Oklahoma, is crazy about horses. Her dream is to win first place in a horse show. At her grandparents’ farm she works toward that goal, riding their Quarter Horse, Frosty. Then an unexpected event rocks her family’s comfortable life, bringing new challenges for everyone. Discover the fascinating world of deaf culture and sign language. Cheer for this spirited, determined girl on her quest for a blue ribbon.

Where can we buy it?

Online at *Amazon and *Barnes & Noble,*Baker & Taylor, *Ingram, NACSCORP, Expresso Book Machine, with the starred vendors probably the most notable. There are also outlets in the UK.

Also at Trolley Line Books, Rogers, AR, and through the publisher at Mockingbird Lane Press, who will give a discount to libraries. The author will mail autographed copies upon request and will also give a discount to libraries.

Make sure you check this out – I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised! You can visit Lou at http://www.louhonderich.com.