Many authors come to me hoping I’ll get them some fireworks. It doesn’t seem to occur to most of them that I might be more help in developing their foundations. But I can establish my own foundation, you might say. I agree that most authors could develop their own foundation, but too many tend to skip over the process, meaning that the support for those long-awaited fireworks is unstable.
What if I convince a notable newspaper journalist that you’d be the perfect subject for a feature article, then he Googles you and finds a. no website, b. a minimal website with out of date photos and obvious lack of proofreading, or c. comments all over your Facebook page that would have been better left unsaid? Sound too simple? You might be surprised how often that happens, even with authors who have several books in print.
Fireworks are fun and festive and often beautiful, but we need to remember that the purpose of promotional fireworks is to draw attention to the author. To set off those fireworks too soon is similar to calling “hey look at me” before you’ve dressed or combed your hair. Not a good idea OR a very effective strategy. Fireworks often cause journalists to take a look at you and form a first impression. Since first impressions are very hard to overcome, it’s important that it’s a positive one.
Suppose you can only afford to buy one outfit today and you have two choices: an everyday business casual pant suit or a prom dress (ok, maybe not the best analogy but bear with me). The prom dress might be exciting and fun and more attention getting initially, but the business casual will definitely be appropriate for more events and will help establish a consistent, professional reputation. Anyone who wears business casual can trade it for prom attire occasionally when needed, but nobody should wear prom attire all the time.
Don’t get me wrong. I love doing the “fireworks” campaigns. But to do it right, I need to be sure the author has a strong foundation in place before we begin. How’s your foundation? Have you checked lately?