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Archive for August, 2015

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: The purpose of a writer…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

digital compisition of the earth

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Modeling Aerosmith’s Magic – or Dusting Off an Old Release

Inspired by the recent concert he took me to for my birthday, my musician husband has been working for the last week or so to master dream onAerosmith’s “Dream On.” He mentioned the other day that the song was initially released in 1973 on the band’s eponymous first album, which sold a dismal 30,000 copies. According to AerosmithTemple.com, “For the next year, the band built a fan base by touring America, supporting groups as diverse as the Kinks, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Sha Na Na and Mott the Hoople.”

It was Aerosmith’s third album, Toys in the Attic, that finally saw commercial and artistic success, putting them on the map as a rock band to be reckoned with. And they are still amazing in concert! The iconic first single from Toys in the Attic, Sweet Emotion,” hit the Top 40 in the summer of 1975, and the album reached number 11 shortly thereafter. This success prompted Columbia Records and the band to re-release “Dream On,” which rocketed into the Top Ten in early 1976. After that, it was only a matter of time before their first and second albums (Aerosmith and Get Your Wings, respectively) made their way back up the charts.

Steven Tyler - Phoenix

So what does a rock band have to do with you? Maybe everything – especially if you published a book a while ago that didn’t do so well on its initial release. What have you done since then? Have you written more books? Built a bigger platform? Begun speaking around the country? Started a podcast? Been blogging weekly for the past three years?

Maybe it’s time to consider re-releasing your book – or at least reenergizing your marketing campaign for it. Perhaps the first time out, you were new to marketing and wrote crappy news releases. Maybe you didn’t write news releases at all. Maybe you were just stepping your big toe into social media, and now you have a fairly significant following. How many great reviews did your book garner? A dozen? One? None? Time to get some!

Did you receive feedback that your book could have used some editing? Guess what – there are plenty of qualified freelance editors out there looking for work. Certainly one of them can help you out.

The great news is that as long as your book is about an evergreen topic cobweb book(i.e., it’s not so time sensitive that it’s no longer relevant), your marketing and sales options remain wide open. First, you need to identify your audience and figure out where and how to connect with them. Then, it’s time to dust off your marketing plan. If you’ve never made a book marketing plan, it’s not too late to write one. After that, all that remains is to put it into action – tweaking it as you go.

There’s no silver bullet for publishing and book marketing success. One thing is true, though: you won’t sell one more copy of that book that’s been sitting on your shelf if you don’t follow Aerosmith’s lead by dusting it off and putting it back in circulation.

Here’s to your re-release success!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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A Dog by Any Other Name

In my last post, I mentioned the idea of reading one’s work out loud at an open-mic 3d coverstyle event. I recently read the first chapter of my novel – still in the works after nearly 11 years – aloud at a reading event hosted by the Arizona Authors Association. Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World is about a guy who packs up his dog, his car, and too many belongings to set off on a trip around the world. It depicts the life of a Wall Street investment banker and his female friend, a New York City artist, and also deals with social issues like homelessness and international poverty.

This was the first time I’d ever read it out loud, and boy was it a stumblefest! I highly recommend the process to every writer, whether you will ever actually schedule a formal reading of your book or not – because in the process of reading aloud, you catch things you just don’t see or hear when you’re reading to yourself.

One audience member at the reading asked a question I’d never even considered.

Stan and Isis in Bangor, Maine

Stan and Isis in Bangor, Maine

“Did you write this before all the stuff started up in the Middle East? Because I couldn’t really get past it as I was listening to you read.” Stan, the main character, has a Jack Russell terrier by the name of Isis. Yep – same name as the Egyptian goddess AND the jihadist/terror group. There’s a whole segment in the novel about how the little dog got her name – and even though I’ve done a considerable amount of work on the book in the last year, I never gave even one thought to the fact that the dog’s name is the same as a group of terrorist radicals. The book is set in the very recent past – beginning in the spring of 2011 and ending in the fall of 2012 – before ISIS had become a household word. So mentioning the shared name in the text of the book would be anachronistic.

As far as I understand it, the idea of giving a reading such as the one in which I participated is to elicit constructive feedback from the audience. While Toastmasters has a built-in mechanism for delivering and receiving such feedback, audience members at this reading event were much more forgiving – most of them heaping praise, even on (in my opinion) undeserving work. I was the only reader who received any negative feedback at all – and it wasn’t so much intended as negative as it was one woman simply raising an issue I had not considered. Another woman in the audience commented that she’d not thought about ISIS, the terror group, at all – she had gone immediately to picturing Isis, the Egyptian goddess.

Nevertheless, this one woman’s question and strong, visceral reaction have caused me to question whether I should change the dog’s name or leave it as it is. At present, I am leaning very much toward leaving Isis’ name as it is. If you have any sort of feedback on this issue, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Controversy can sell … so maybe the question has already answered itself. In the meantime, the marketing ideas continue to percolate. Blog posts upcoming, contests unfurling, crowdfunding unfolding. And, of course, social media strategies applied to all.

 rose by any other name

Here’s to naming your characters well!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Poetry Unexpected

I recently met a woman who fancies herself a storyteller. I can’t comment either way on her skill, as I’ve never seen or heard her perform. I was surprised, however, that she’d never heard of a poetry slam. In my opinion, the poets who are good enough to compete in juried slams are true storytellers. They must write their own work, develop one poem into a theatrical piece – performance art at its best – without the use of props, music, or anything other than the power of their own voice and body to bring the poem to life. The good ones are really good. Of course there always seems to be at least one angry feminist and a couple of sex poems in the mix – but even those are sometimes extraordinary. The trick, as an audience member, is being open to enjoying the poetry, relishing the art, losing yourself in the moment of the performance.

All that said, I’m not much of a poet, myself. Although I was a creative writing major in college, I skirted the poetry requirements (against my advisor’s advice), and have subsequently regretted it (as my advisor suggested I would). Nevertheless, I enjoy poetry performed aloud and definitely admire those who write it well.

This past weekend, poetry showed up in my hands in two unexpected episodes. First, I picked up a package at my PO Box that had been there for a few weeks. I was moving and kept thinking, “I’ll go stand in line next time I’m here,” every time I went to the post office for about three weeks. Finally, I made time to stand in line, and was rewarded with a book of poetry created by my 7-year-old niece’s class. It’s a hard-bound book with full-color illustrations. Charlotte wrote two poems: “Oak Tree” and “Fashion.”

Charlotte poem

The second event was the next day, in the parking lot at a local shopping mall. It was just starting to sprinkle when a man clad in green plaid shorts, a green rugby/football/soccer jersey, and brilliant green sneakers approached me. He explained that he was a vet just trying to earn $5 for a food box. He offered me a tattered piece of paper containing the poem, “Believe,” which he recited for me on the spot. Sure, the grammar is imperfect. The line breaks nonsensical. But the poem is sweet and he had such heart.

eric hamilton poem

He told me, as I offered the only cash I had in my purse, “It’s autographed, in case I become rich and famous someday.” As I accepted the wrinkled paper from him, I remembered my husband buying a couple poems a few years ago from a guy who’d come door-to-door through our neighborhood – the one we’d just moved away from. I’m pretty sure those were Eric Hamilton creations, as well.

So whether you write poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, are you taking steps to get your words out into the world? Have you ever attended an open-mic event and just read for the practice and experience of reading out loud in front of a group? It’s a little humbling, a little nerve-wracking, and a lot rewarding. Printed out your book or story in any version? Distributed it – for free or for money – anywhere? Here’s the thing. If a group of first graders can do it (yes, their teacher helped, but you’re a grown-up, so you can help yourself!) … if a homeless vet can do it … you can do it, too!

Here’s to taking your words to the street – or the mail!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: I wish you a wrestling match with your creative muse…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories – science fiction or otherwise – which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days.

“And out of that love, remake a world..”

watercolor background

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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