Gone are the days when an author simply shows up at his or her book signing. While the burden of responsibility for marketing has shifted to the writer, on the positive side, so has the control. JRW’s latest Writing Show, “The Writer’s Platform: Marketing at Every Stage of Your Career,” held June 27 at the Camel, a new location, explored the various stages of promoting yourself as a writer. Guided by moderator Julie Geen, a freelance writer and teacher, the panelists—including Karen A. Chase, Deb Dudley, and Meg Medina—discussed topics from branding to book signings.
The panelists launched into an in-depth discussion of defining yourself as a writer by working on both your craft and your brand. Chase, author of an award-winning published travel book, shared that branding has to be “sustainable, defendable, valuable, and consistent.” At the same time, the panelists elaborated, a brand can evolve with you over time.
Medina, author of award-winning children’s and YA fiction, explained brand as how you want the public and your readers to know you. She suggested asking yourself: What part of you do you want to be most connected to the community?
Deb Dudley, marketing specialist turned kid-lit writer, spoke about coming out of her shell to emerge as a writer, which involved accepting rejection as part of the process and being willing to rewrite and rewrite.
The panelists delved into important communication elements for writers including website, blog, business cards, and various social media outlets. Audience members absorbed their advice to tackle only what is manageable.
The conversation then shifted to the exciting stage in a writer’s career when he or she publishes a book. The panelists offered tips about scheduling and planning a book launch. Medina suggested attending other launches to learn what worked for that particular author and book, and thinking about how to make your own launch meaningful and appropriate. The panelists also discussed the importance of a collateral package, including a book trailer. Medina emphasized the importance of supporting independent book stores and local businesses.
Audience members asked a few questions before Geen prompted the panelists to leave them with some closing thoughts.
Chase urged participants not to be daunted by the task of building a writer’s platform. “Your marketing does not have to be complicated,” she said. “Just keep it very simple as you develop your books. You just want to let people know you are out there.”
Dudley shared encouraging words: “If you build it, they will come.”
“Be genuine and make connections,” Medina said, “and think of ways your work can help the community.”
But no amount of marketing, the panelists agreed, can make up for the quality of your writing. The consensus? Being an author today means building your own platform with confidence—but the job description still requires continually improving your craft.
— by Jennifer Drummond, JRW member and co-editor of Get Your Word On
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Drummond
Thursday, July 25, 2013
At our July Writing Show, “Young Hearts and Minds: Exploring YA Fiction at the Source,” learn what makes good young adult fiction and how it is different from adult fiction with children’s librarian Lucinda Whitehurst and YA author Lana Krumwiede. Moderator Valley Haggard will guide a discussion about the trends and if you should follow them. Most importantly, learn from the young readers themselves. A panel of young people will talk about their pet peeves and what their favorite authors get right. Hear them read their own work and let their voices inspire you.
More information and registration coming soon.