The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 248
Spring Has Sprung
I always loved that silly little saying. I have no idea why I think it is so clever. It really isn’t, you know, but still it’s cute.
And it’s accurate for our neck of the woods. Spring has arrived with temps in the sixties and seventies, and it is glorious. If I could ask for the perfect location with the perfect climate, year-round, I would ask for Olympia in early spring. Give me year-round temps in the sixties and I’m a contented, happy man.
But then I already am a contented, happy man, so that would just be a bonus.
Welcome to the Mail Room! If you are looking for dissention you’ve come to the wrong place. If you are looking to bash the Liberals or the Conservatives, the Bible-belters or the atheists, you are in the wrong place. This is a place of support. I don’t have time for anything which further drives a wedge between the human race. If that’s your thing, stifle it, please, until you leave the Mail Room. This is a place of answers, of support, and of encouragement.
So let’s get started!
The Promotion Game
From Debbie: “Bill, I remember reading articles from you, a few years ago, which discussed how to self-promote a self-published book. Do you think that same advice applies today? I’m about to publish my second novel, and I’m wondering how I should approach the marketing. Thanks for any advice you can give.”
Debbie, this is truly a great question, and a timely question.
I published my first novel, gosh, seven or eight years ago. I had to look it up, out of curiosity. It was 2011 when I published “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today.” Shortly after publishing that book I started writing the articles you mentioned, articles based on my marketing education and efforts I was taking to market that particular novel.
If I published that book today, practically none of those articles would be written, and practically none of that advice would apply. That’s how fast the self-publishing market is changing.
Without turning this into a 1,500 word answer, I will summarize by saying you should concentrate primarily on social media, and under social media I am including YouTube, podcasts, vlogs, the whole ball of wax, metaphorically speaking. The world is rapidly changing, and we writers can either get on-board or be left at the station.
If I had the energy and the time, I would devise a complete marketing blitz using social media, and I mean it would be a battle plan comprised of creativity and maximum exposure. I would leave no stone unturned, and I would begin immediately, before I even publish that book. Start building up anticipation now….countdown to publication…..an event the likes of which you’ve never seen…be a part of this exciting literary event….
The beauty of social media is that most of it is free. You are only limited by the clock and your imagination. If you are really serious about making that book of yours a success, it starts NOW! Do some research on social media blitzes and start planning that assault.
And good luck!
From Annie: “Do you think it’s possible to teach someone to be a storyteller? A good storyteller? I’ve listened to some bad ones, and some incredible ones, and I’m wondering if that is something which can be taught.”
This is such an interesting question, Annie. It really is. Please remember, as you read my answer, this is simply my opinion. I make no claims on being infallible. I am far from infallible . . . but that doesn’t prevent me from sounding off occasionally.
I actually believe all people have the storyteller gene. I believe most people, if not all, have been storytellers at some point in their lifetimes. I think we are all capable of telling a story. But good storytellers? Spellbinding storytellers? I think that is a gift, and not everyone has that gift.
Look at it this way: in today’s world of self-publishing, literally anyone can “write” and “publish” a book. That makes them, by definition, writers and self-publishers. They can go ahead and print up business cards proclaiming to the world that they are writers because they are.
But that doesn’t mean they are good at it, nor does it mean they have even a hint of talent in the writing field. Can they be taught to be good writers? I believe most people can be taught to be grammatically correct writers but again, that does not mean they can be taught to be really good writers. At some point we have to give recognition to a thing called talent, and I don’t believe talent can be taught.
Just one man’s opinion!
That’s It for This Week
That was as small a mailbag as I can remember, but I thank you for the two questions, and I promise to see you all next week, good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise! Until then, I hope Spring arrives for you all or, if you are down under, I hope a lovely Fall is in order for you.
Please . . . Please . . . let love be your guiding light this week! It takes very little effort, creativity, or intelligence to be negative and degrading. Love is an action verb, and it requires effort. Please make that effort this week as you do this thing called life.
2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”