First, Bonnie threw convention to the wind and wrote a two-part post on Monday and Tuesday on the Anatomy of the Interview. I loved how she encouraged us--in her astute and hilarious voice--to be authentic and to approach each opportunity organically. And then Sharon showed us how she'd mastered Bonnie's suggestions in her interview on Wednesday.
All vital stuff. Highly recommended. I will never look at an interview in quite the same way ever again.
Even more, I found what Bonnie had to say about interviews true about promotion in general, like: "It's all about the audience," and "Think of [promotion] as a 'group hug' not 'spotlight on me,'" and "The purpose of [promotion] is to connect people with ideas in order to demonstrate concern for the overall well-being of the reader."
As so many of you commented, this fresh look at interviews/promotion is liberating for those of us who don't enjoy self-promotion.
If you follow our blog, you've heard that Sharon and I are forging a trail into the independent publishing world. The learning curve is steep, to say the least. Not only are we expected to write a can't-put-it-down story, we must learn formatting, hire editors, and--gulp!--create an enticing cover.
And, oh yeah, there's promotion.
My books (I'm preparing three out-of-print books and one new story) won't be ready until spring 2013 for release, but I want to build a relationship with my readers now. I would like to say that every step I've taken has been deliberate.
Not so much.
But I happened upon something by doing what I normally do. Bonnie would say I'm being authentic, but my initial motivation was fear.
As a former bookstore worker and librarian, I'm all too aware of the importance of a book's cover. It's usually the cover, sometimes the author's name, that gets a book picked up. I've seen it a million times. The importance of the cover cannot be overstated. Sadly, independently published covers are usually lacking in appeal.
I wanted to overcome the stereotype of the nondescript cover (without breaking the bank). More importantly, I wanted to give my story the chance to reach its reader, an even bigger challenge for ebooks. Have you seen the tiny thumbnail-sized icons on Amazon and B&N they feature to sell ebooks? To draw a reader, the cover has to be more than passable. Hence, a lot of pressure to create great covers has been waking me up in the middle of the night to stare at the ceiling.
As the art director, I'm no longer the one giving feedback. It's my job to dream and initiate the design. And then, I hunt for locations, hire a photographer, find models, acquire props, repair props, and make the wardrobe for the models. This last one, sewing, made my pits sticky. I hadn't made a garment in years, maybe not since my boys went trick or treating as Ralph S. Mouse and Tom Cat.
For the past couple weeks, I've eaten, slept, and sewed in full fear-of-failure mode. Daily headaches became the norm. (I know. Silly. But that's my story.) From the start, I updated my status on Facebook regularly with pictures about my sewing adventure and the quest to find the perfect Lucy and Mibby.
At first, I wrote the updates as catharsis, but I found that my friends enjoyed following my quest. They became my cheerleaders. They leaned in closer as I tiptoed through the process of creating book covers. Without planning to do so, I invited my readers a bit closer to observe the creative process. Like me, people love seeing something move from the imagination to reality. Remember watching the glassblowers make poodles and dolphins at the fair?
I can't talk about creating covers for my books and consider the job of promotion done. I'll talk through the whole process of indie publishing, but I'm also thinking of other ways I can give to my readers and build meaningful relationships. This probably means a personal blog, where I can create free yet meaningful content that will hopefully make my readers' lives better. Remember what Bonnie said, interviews--promotion!--is about the audience, always. Being other oriented makes promotion a lot more fun.
And I'll do interviews!
How do you see Bonnie's interview ideas applied to other areas of promotion? How have you created content to enrich your reader's lives? What venues do you use? Have you seen authors do this well? Feel free to ask questions and offer ideas of others-oriented promotion.