On May 1st, an exciting new website launched called 1st Turning Point. It’s a place where authors, artists, musicians, crafters–people who create, can teach learn and share All About Promotion. Ann Charles and I came up with this idea a few months ago, and here we are now!
Any sane, reasonable person would wonder why two authors who should be writing set up a site to share promotional and marketing tips and strategies. Ann Charles has her story, and here’s mine:
A Pitiful Year for Me
2004 wasn’t my best year. I started it with pneumonia, then had an accident and spent the rest of the year recovering (translation: wearing a neck brace and sitting in a recliner, all while under the influence of some really good pain killers). The best part about that year was my daughter stayed with us for a while, and in November, my husband and I moved to a new (to us) house.
A Glorious but Busy Year for Judith
But Judith Laik had a completely different 2004–she sold two books to Kensington! And that’s quite a tale in itself. She has agreed to tell her story on 1st Turning Point in June, so you’ll have to wait for that. Here’s where her experience affected me–she worked long hours every day, seven days a week, right down to the wire to get her books written, and did meet her deadline. Only then did she have the time to plunge into research for setting up a website and the uncharted waters of book promotion. Trouble is, even with working all those hours and through the night for weeks on end, her website wasn’t live until a month after her first book was released.
That’s when I realized that Gerri Russell, who had been proactive in building name recognition for ten years before her “overnight” success, was on the right track (even though she hadn’t sold her first book yet). We’ll hear from Gerri in a few weeks, too, at 1st Turning Point.
But Gerri and I are very different people. She’s much better in groups and establishes rapport with nearly everyone in a heartbeat. As for me, I’m a whole lot more comfortable on the internet, and I have never been all that comfortable at parties or social gatherings. And, like me, many writers have this affliction.
So I decided to get a website. I had no idea how to go about this–yes, I’d been a software consultant in my past life, but I didn’t deal with websites. The person who designed Judith’s website charged reasonable rates and I liked her results, so I asked her to get me going. It’s the second best money I ever spent (first best was a professional head shot–more about that in another post).
But I had no content! What’s a lowly unpublished writer to do? So there’s where I strayed from Ann Charles’ course. We were both targeting NY publishers, but a great opportunity landed in my lap–I could get a story published in a trade paperback book, and it would benefit breast cancer research besides. Heckuva deal! The drawback was that the publisher was small press, but the benefits were just what I needed to get me going. I had something on Amazon and BN.com to purchase, I had a cause to promote, and it turns out I contributed two stories, not one.
This anthology, No Law Against Love, and my two short stories, Faery Good Advice and Single Girls Can’t Jump, gave me a platform–something to hang my hat on. Deborah Macgillivray encouraged (translation: relentlessly prodding, explaining and re-explaining how to do it all) the anthology authors to get our websites in shape and to get our author pages set up on Amazon. I’m hoping she’ll do a guest spot for us in the near future.
But then I got involved in social networking sites. With small press, I won’t ever sell a single book on impulse buy–every book sold will be because a reader sees my name, sees the book blurb or excerpt, and wants it badly enough to hunt it down. In baseball terms, I get no in-field hits or even base hits, only home runs. It’s hard to play the game that way, but at least I get to play.
I’ll be writing more about my experiences as the weeks go by–things that worked, things that didn’t work, and a few what-was-I-thinking? moments.
My partner in 1st Turning Point, Ann Charles, has a completely different path to the website, including the decision to do this gig and dragging me into it. You can read her post here. Her original idea was to have a blog, but frankly, if I want to know something in particular, I go to a website where I can find the expertise I need.
Ann’s idea was broad enough and important enough that, in my opinion, we could create an entire website, gather some experts, and share information in a way that hasn’t been done up until now. Then, of course, she came up with even more bright ideas, and together, we raised it up a notch–or ten. Ann and I are very grateful for the columnists, reviewers, instructors, and PR consultants who have agreed to be part of 1st Turning Point.
We hope you’ll come for a visit and are pleased with what you see. We’re very serious about the pay-it-forward concept. We learn, and we share.
Oh, and did I mention, there are prizes???