Sara Mansfield Taber and I knew each other from a writer’s group and were drawn to each other’s work from the start. When we learned that we’d both been assigned the same publication date for our new books, we decided to get together and help each other out with book promotion.
Here’s what we do:
Strategize. Several months before our books hit the shelves (virtual and otherwise), we sat down and drew up a comprehensive promotion plan for each of us. Each plan includes ideas for: a website, a press kit, e-mailings to friends and acquaintances, speaking engagements, social media, reviews, awards, blogs and guest blogs, interviews, placing articles and excerpts in publications, outreach to educators, libraries, and book groups, and outreach to special audiences (spies and children of spies for Sara; Jewish and Lithuanian audiences for Ellen; memoir-writers for both of us).
Our kitchen table meetings take place every couple of weeks. Everything is fair game for brainstorming: How to organize our desks – folders, baskets, color-coded tabs? How to sign books – just “best wishes,” or something more? How to handle long-winded audience members at readings? Is it too soon to nag the blogger who promised an interview? What’s too aggressive and what’s just assertive? What’s too bashful and what’s appropriately polite?
Share information. Sometimes it’s easier to come up with ideas for places to speak or people to approach if it’s not your own book. One unbroken rule: we don’t horn in. If Sara is hot on the trail of a coveted radio show or reviewer, she doesn’t share her contact with me until after her pitch has been accepted or rejected.
Promote each other. We Facebook, tweet, blog, and post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and the like. We refer to each other’s books in our talks and giveaways at conferences. We talk to friends and people we meet about each other’s work. After umpteen hours talking about your own book, it can feel great to wax eloquent about someone else’s.
Complain. We share our blues – a little. When we feel jealous of each other, we try to say so out loud, be kind, and remind each other that there are many opportunities in the world.
Cheer. “Good for you!” “You were great!” “You’ll be great!” No one can hear those words too often. We’ve discovered how good it feels to share in the glow of each other’s success.
Working together on book promotion gives us both a shot in the arm. It’s gratifying to share the good parts with someone who truly understands, and helpful to shore each other up when it’s hard to keep going. It’s also led to a precious friendship.
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Join the conversation. Do you have a story to share about being writer buddies?
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Ellen Cassedy’s book is We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust (University of Nebraska Press, 2012). Her first post for SheWrites was “Who Cares about Your Family Story? Ten Tips to Ensure Readers Will ...", and her [TIPS OF THE TRADE] series appears monthly. Sara Mansfield Taber’s book is Born Under An Assumed Name (Potomac Books, 2012).