Monday, June 12, 2006

Authors as Publicists

As agents we feel very lucky to have so many great authors on our list, but even luckier that most of them really understand what it means to be published. That you can't just sit back and enjoy the attention. Once your book is published you need to get out there and sell it. You need to let the world know that it exists and get everyone you meet to buy at least one copy.

Just last Tuesday marked the beginning of an amazing sweepstakes put together by Michele Scott, the author of Murder by the Glass, the second book in the Wine Lover's Mystery Series. Michele blew me away with her hustle when she put together a sweepstakes package that includes not one but two vacation getaways in Napa Valley (

While I am in awe of the work all of my authors do, Michele takes the cake with this one. After getting all of the prizes together she got in touch with her publisher, who, not surprisingly, was more than happy to jump on board and do the promotion necessary to get the word out.

All it takes is a little hustle, a little charm, and lots of hard work and you too can do some amazing promotion on your own. One of my mantras is, It never hurts to ask, and Michele proves that point.

For those of you not yet ready to market your books, get out there and check the Web sites of all your favorite authors. Many of them run regular giveaways, and you never know when you might win that sneak peak of your favorite author's next book.



Deb Baker said...

I met Michele at Malice and she's one market savvy woman. My current Romantic Times magazine came and Berkley popped for a full page ad for her! Maybe you can get Michele to tell the rest of us how she did it.

Michele Scott said...

Hi Deb,

I appreciate the kind words. I actually ran the ad in RT. I set aside a budget specifically for publicity. I have found that with the mysteries I write placing an ad in RT has had benefit for me and that's because my mysteries have romantic elements to them. But you have to take a step back and see where your dollar is going to be best spent.

With the contest, I called around and had the various sponsors donate the items. I just wasn't afraid to receive rejection. I figured eventually somoene would say yes. (Kind of sound familiar with the writing world).

There are things you can do that won't cost money, just time and that in itself can be costly because we all need to be writing. One thing I try and do is log on to various chat rooms dealing with wines and other ones with horses. It's a good way to do a suttle intro. to what you're writing and typically I see spikes on to my site when I log on to chats.

I also volunteer to do workshops, talk to writers, attend local book clubs, and I even go so far as to call up or walk into my local radio or TV stations and pitch them. Last week I googled wine + radio and several wine related radio shows popped up. I e-mailed them, and have already done one of the shows and am scheduled to do two more.

It takes time, commitment and drive, plus I love writing. The marketing ideas are fun to come up with, but I can't wait for the day when I don't have to come up with them, and can focus most of my time on my writing.

Thank You again for the kind words. I enjoyed meeting you at Malice!

Kate Douglas said...

Michele also put on a wonderful wine party at RT, which was, I think, an amazing promotional idea. Michele, thanks again for inviting me!

Julia Templeton said...

I'm always impressed by authors who go the extra mile in way of promotion. Since I'm shy and find public speaking terrifying, I use my website, newsletter and booksignings as a way to gain readers. I also hold a monthly contest for my newsletter subscribers...although a $100 gift card isn't exactly a vacation for two to the gorgeous Napa Valley. Michele, I bow to the master.

Michele Scott said...

Thank You, Kate and Julia. The party was awesome, wasn't it? The way the party came about was, I had a ton of wine at home that was sitting in my entry way, left over from the launch party we did for MURDER UNCORKED, plus several of the wineries I include in the books have now been extremely generous to me and have sent me cases of wine. And, no I didn't ask them to, but apparently there are real perks to writing wine mysteries. So, I had a choice--drink that wine myself (well, also with my husband) and we could become total lushes, or find a way to share it with others and hopefully get some more information out there about what I write. I worked it out with the RT coordinator and it came together.

Julia--believe it or not, I am known as being shy by my friends and family, and I sweat bullets every time I do a radio show, a book signing or even pouring wine at RT. I get so anxious that I think I'm going to lose my lunch. But, I do it and put myself out there because I love to write and to be able to afford to write, I have to sell books, and so I suck it up, and remind myself that the alternative is a desk job that I know I wouldn't be living my passion at. So, don't bow to me, because I feel pretty much the same way. Sometimes, we just have to take a chance and hopefully it works out. And, between us (ha, ha) just remember when you see me out "marketing," I am sweating like a marathoner underneath my suit.