Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a Type A personality. You won’t find me out holiday shopping after Thanksgiving. I get this done before Thanksgiving. And, in November, I start to plan my publicity schedule for the following year.
Two new events– among the regular ones that I normally schedule– are poetry events. One is a haiku workshop at the Women’s Exchange in Winnetka, IL, (Chicago metro area). It will be held, Tuesday, March 13, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Also, I will be exhibiting my haiku/art from Saturday, April 21 through June at the Arlington Green Executive Center in Arlington Heights, IL. You’ll hear more about these first-time events as the date gets near, and about my regular events, too.
Further, I’ll be spending 2018 organizing the format of my seventh book– this one, a poetry book, with something for all poetry buffs. It will be published in 2019. (I won’t reveal its details now.) And, of course, I’ll be busy “writing for money” with my usual editing and publicity projects–something I hope to be doing for the next couple decades.
My best advice to any serious author who wants and needs publicity is to always plan months in advance for important events. Many venues, such as libraries, plan their schedules about four months in advance, so it’s best to contact many places five or six months in advance with proposals.
It’s important to graciously accept a chance to speak. As a writer, I am not picky, and I make it a rule to try to accept all invitations, as each one often leads to something bigger. This attitude is just good PR. If you truly believe in yourself and your book, share yourself and your book with others.
Don’t under any circumstances act like a Prima Donna and be difficult to work with. I remember long ago, in the mid-90s, I hosted a radio poetry program on public broadcasting. It amazed me how some poets acted as if they were celebrities who needed to be accommodated at all costs.
One poet told me emphatically that she didn’t want to discuss certain things on my show. She never bothered to ask me what I wanted to discuss. What a pain! As someone who has sought publicity for my own books for nearly thirty years, I am experienced and polite enough not to dictate what I want to discuss. I do what is needed by the host, unless I feel inexperienced to discuss a certain area. If so, I say so.
My point is, exercise “good business and social skills” in dealing with prospective interviewers or book reviewers. Why would anyone invite you back for more or recommend you to others if you are difficult to work with?
I always make myself available and cheerfully accept an invitation, asking the host or reviewer or interviewer how I can help them to help me produce a good program or good review. Do they want me to provide some interview questions that they can use? A lot of interviewers do.
On my radio program, I interviewed a poet who tried to match wits with me, and even told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. How rude to go on someone’s show and try to embarrass her. Needless to say, I have shunned her ever since. And this rude and gauche person even tried to befriend me on Facebook twenty years later! Of course, I didn’t respond. (I have come to learn that she deals with everyone she comes in contact with in much the same manner.)
Keep in mind that you are not a unique author. No one is unique. You can joke about being unique in a lighthearted way with friends, if you wish, but make sure everyone can tell you are joking.
Still another anecdote: On my radio program, one poet contacted me who didn’t realize it was his responsibility to provide me with a copy of his book. He told me I could “go to the bookstore and look at the book”! Goodness, not only was this very impolite and unprofessional, but wouldn’t one want you to have a copy of one’s book so he could be interviewed and asked relevant and intelligent questions? This is the type of behavior that gives some authors a bad name. It doesn’t even pass the test of common sense.
Anytime you approach someone you want something from, doesn’t it make sense to bend over backwards to accommodate them? When you first contact them about reviewing your book or appearing on their show, tell them that you are mailing off a copy of your book. They should be extended that courtesy.
(Actually, be sure to ask them if they review books, if they are editors. Sometimes, editors who formerly reviewed books, have stopped doing it, because it is running into too much time for them, or they can no longer find reviewers to review them.)
If you keep the above points in mind, you should be on your way to getting invited and getting referred to others for publicity purposes.
Now, during the book-buying season, see if you can’t scare up some last minute appearances. I often tell prospects that if one of their author-guests gets sick at the last minute, I can fill in and speak or be interviewed on a show. This works, too.
Copyright 2017 by Charlotte Digregorio.