Monday, May 4, 2009
Charming Notes of a Guerilla Marketer
Welcome to all who have visited NovelMatters for the first time during the past month! We hope you'll chime in and help to make our discussions amazing.
We have two copies of a fabulous book to give away this month: Zora and Nicky by Claudia Mair Burney. One will be won by a reader who has recently joined our ranks but hasn't yet posted a comment, and the other is for his/her friend who has not yet visited NovelMatters. Just comment on a post this month and mention that it's your first time, and you'll be entered in the drawing. At the time of the drawing, you'll give us contact information for a friend who has never visited NovelMatters and we will arrange for them to receive the other book. The drawing will be on the last Friday (May 29) of the month. Easy, huh?
I had a very eye-opening experience recently. I sent an email of appreciation to a best-selling author in the general fiction market - one whose books grace the window displays of every major bookseller in the nation. I didn't really expect a reply back. At least, not from her directly. Possibly from an office assistant who would follow up with a general acknowledgment in the next few weeks. To my surprise, the author emailed me back within a few hours (at midnight, her time), commenting on something I'd said in my email. It was no auto-reply. The next morning, I sent one more email, mentioning something I'd neglected to say the first time--which of her books was my favorite and to please keep them coming. About an hour later, I got a follow-up reply from her Blackberry. On a Sunday morning, no less! I was very impressed that this well-known author would take time from her family on a weekend to make contact with an anonymous fan.
I would have thought that when an author reached her level of success, they wouldn't need to be quite so hands-on in regard to marketing. Sure, she speaks at different venues, probably all over the world, and does book signings, but to take time to respond to one lone reader? Like I said, it was a lesson in marketing.
In the book, Guerilla Marketing for Writers, the authors state that promotion isn't over when someone buys a book. The point is to make customers for life by a never-ending circle of communication with readers and to "understand the immense potential value of every reader."
In Carolyn See's book, Making a Literary Life, she suggests sending one charming note to a novelist, editor, journalist, poet or agent whom you admire each day as a way of connecting and making your own literary life. I would add 'readers' to her list.
I have to say that a simple, personal acknowledgment from an author whom I admire has made her seem more real--more genuine. I think I'm a reader for life.
How has it impacted you to make a connection with a favorite author? I met Ray Bradbury once, and he was a very genial, interesting man who laughed easily with his fans. As writers, how does receiving notes from readers help to encourage you?
By the way, the author who emailed me back so quickly was Jodi Picoult.