I was reminded it of this recently when I told someone I’m a romance author and she scrunched up her nose at me. “So you just sit there and write all day, every day?”
Very little of what I find myself doing lately is actual writing. Though there are weeks where I’m knuckled down cranking out thousands of words on a manuscript, that hasn’t been the case lately.
Here are a few things on my author to-do list in the last few days:
- Shop for (and purchase) a pirate costume.
- Fill out Guinness World Record™ paperwork to participate in the Portland Pirate Festival and help reclaim the title for “largest gathering of pirates.”
- Spend 20 minutes on the phone with Willamette Valley Vineyards talking my way onto the waiting list for or the 20th Annual Oregon Grape Stomp Competition.
- Spend 40 minutes figuring out what the hell a grape stomper does.
- Pester local librarians to learn what gift bag items might prompt them to remember an author and purchase her books.
- Purchase 50 organza baggies and 160 chocolate gold coins, then ponder the best way to assemble pirate booty bags for a “librarian speed dating” event.
And while there’s nothing in my three-book contract with Sourcebooks that requires me to don an eyepatch or squash grapes with my bare feet, these are the sort of things many debut authors find themselves doing to support their books.
Unless you are a big-name author, there’s a good chance you’ll need to play a significant role in marketing your own books. I’ve watched lots of authors print bookmarks and schedule book signings, but those who combine those efforts with a little outside-the-box thinking are the ones I tend to notice.
I don’t know yet if the annual Portland Pirate Festival will be a good place to hold signings for MAKING WAVES next year, or if any of the contacts I’m making at Oregon wineries will prove useful when the time comes to market LET IT BREATHE.
That’s what I’m hoping to learn these next few weeks.
Oh, and lest you think I’m being completely random, there is a pirate theme to MAKING WAVES, while LET IT BREATHE is set in the Oregon wine industry.
I know that measuring ROI (return-on-investment) will be nearly impossible at this stage, but I’m committed to doing everything I can to get out there and make contacts, to make a name for myself and my books.
If that name includes the word “weird,” all the better. That is a part of my marketing plan, after all.
Will it pay off? Hopefully.
If nothing else, I now have a pirate costume to wear grocery shopping.
Do you have any outside-the-box ideas for marketing your books when the time comes? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen another author do for promotion? Please share in the comments.
I’ll be busy throwing grapes on my kitchen floor and practicing my stomping technique.