Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More on promotion...

So it would seem promotion is something we aren't exactly all keen on but that we do accept is part of the business. If you are not a natural, then fake it. If smiling even when you don't feel like it, can fool your body right down to the basic elements and make you healthier and come full circle to make you happier, then faking confidence and enthusiasm should do the same. However, like blogging (as Ms Morgan so sensibly puts it in her latest blog here), your promotion should fit with your persona - while its smart to fake the smile its not a good idea to fake who you are (unless you're permanently grumpy and a misanthrope in which case - get to it) And if I'm unsure what to say I think of one of my SO's work mantras (he who is in PR, Communications and Marketing) - how can I add value? What can i say or do that might be useful to this group of children or adults. If they are very young and not yet reading and writing on their own, then I'm not too embarrassed to make it all about Sponge Bob - he's very wise for an inanimate object. As the audience gets older I try and add more practical tips about writing and creating. If talk about writing is making them glaze over then I ask lots of questions and get them to talk to me. And if it turns ugly then I know tomorrow is another day. JK Rowling knew what she was doing when she made chocolate the antidote to a happiness sucking attack by the dementors. While its true that children can smell fear I'm not sure if they can detect fake confidence. By the time they do, you could be working with the real thing.

Of course promoting yourself to publishers and booksellers is a different animal. But doing promotional work with your target audience will earn you brownie points with Publishers and booksellers. Keep a note of any thing you have done to promote yourself and include a summary in your writing CV and perhaps a very short note about it on your query/ cover letter, if its relevant.

One of the best things about throwing yourself into promotion and giving it a go, is figuring out what works for you and maybe getting to try on different sizes and styles of event. One of my favourites so far was the Speed Date the Author event I was lucky to participate in recently. Here is a nice write up on the event from the Dominion. The more things you give a go, the more you can edit and rearrange to come up with a presentation that works for you. I cannot play a guitar and sing in public like Julia Donaldson does for her promotional appearances but I don't want to do someone else's presentation and I'm trying to create my own style. I want to do something that fits with me and my persona and my kind of writing.


Pen said...

The speed-date idea is really cool.

I'm an aspiring writer myself and I know that sounds like just the kind of thing I'd love to sit in on!

Melinda Szymanik said...

Hi Pen

it is a great format. I hope the Book Council are able to run some more.