Friday, March 10, 2006

Responses to Yesterday's Comments/Questions

I have a question about good, affordable ways to market your very first book. How effective are things like creating postcards and bookmarks? I've heard of offering free books to people who will mail your postcard to readers they know. Are things like that effective? Basically, how do I, the brand-new and unknown author with possibly no marketing money from the publisher, build my own readership?

I have to reiterate that these days, a Web site is essential. And that will cost you some money unless you’re a site designer. Beyond that, I’d say this. Invest in two books: Pyromarketing and The Tipping Point. Read those books with pen in hand, taking notes. Pyromarketing is 90% fill, but the other 10%, its essential message, is gold. Pay attention. Let your thinking move from the typical mass-marketing mentality. The Tipping Point will also lead you to look at marketing in new ways. As a new novelist, you shouldn’t get your sights set on “tipping” anytime soon. But these concepts will help guide you to some different strategies for getting the word out about your books. Stielstra, author of Pyromarketing, also has a blog you should follow (he doesn’t post every day):

About Character arcs - do you create an outline/profile of each character? I'm finding in my manuscript, that I'm getting character traits confused.

Confuse character traits? That concerns me. Forgetting eye color—that I can understand, because appearance can be decided by an author pretty quickly. But your characters’ traits shouldn’t be just assigned. They should arise from the characters’ core truths, which take time to discover. If you’ve gone through this process, you should know the characters well enough that you won’t forget their traits. Read the Personalizing chapter in Getting Into Character for this process. Take the general ideas and make them work for you however you can—I’m not saying my approach is the only one. But I do say that character traits should take time to develop naturally from the inner character, and therefore shouldn’t be so easily forgotten.

How large is a print run? Is there a standard within each house or does that change from book to book?

It depends on the sales history of the author, and on the house. If you sell 100,000 copies out the door, the first print run is going to be at least that high. If you’re a brand new author, the first print run may be only 15,000 copies. Or if you’re in a smaller house, those numbers can go way down for a new author—even to 5,000 or less. It really is all over the map.

However, subsequent print runs are much smaller than the first. A publishing house just doesn’t like to have a lot of books sitting around for a long time, plus the highest sales of a book usually lie in its initial push. So a first print run of 15,000 may have subsequent runs of, say, 2,500 or so.

And now, roll the drum for our new words.

As for spitzy, I didn't find it in the dictionary. However, it should be because it's delightful. Here's my recommended definition: spitzy (adj.) combination of spiffy and spritz (as in spritzed up); bright, attractive

Nope, not in the dictionary. However, when all else fails—google. Spitzy produced plenty of hits—mostly formal names. There is no adjective as I used it. However there’s a general kind of dog called spitz (incorporating numerous breeds). I saw a few Web sites in which spitzy was used, as in "Fido’s coat was more spitzy than Rover’s."

Good grief. Dogs are taking over the universe.

I say heck with 'em. Lynetta had the right definition. Therefore I doth hereby declare spitzy a new spitzy word for BGdom.

Bless you as you get down to the wire on your deadling.

My deadline is 23 days away and I'm deadling as well, wondering WHAT in the world I'm doing here.

Hm. Seems our other new word is expanding a bit. First a noun, now also a . . . what? Is that second usage an adjective or verb? Or both? Could we possibly have coined a word that can be used all three ways? What creative genius!

Let me see if I can incorporate all three uses in one sentence.

As you deadling toward a deadling, may you survive your deadling world.

Remember, folks, ya heard the word here first. Use as you will, but do credit Dineen Miller and BGdom in general.

Finally, kudos to you out there who are slogging away on your own series. It ain’t easy, but you’re definitely in good company.

See ya Monday, BGs.


C.J. Darlington said...

Just make sure you're spitzy as you work on that deadling.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Thought I'd mention regarding the web site for marketing. For us pre-pubbed writers, a web site seems ... excessive, since we have nothing to sell. But a blog--now that's a way to present who I am and what I do, and there are free sites.

I just started blogging--was going to keep it under my hat until I felt more comfortable, but I had a chance to enter a contest with my second post and suddenly had LOTS of people visiting (well, "lots" in comparison to 0--hahah. It's all relative).

Anyway, at my blog site I have several pages, so can post samples of my writing or whatever. It is a nice first step for me. And did I mention it is FREE?


~ Brandilyn Collins said...

I totally agree with this. Unless you have a book to sell, you really don't need to spend this money. And if you're writing in various genres, you don't even know which one might sell first, and which genre you might wind up in for a number of books. Your Web site should reflect the genre. So to me, a Web site before a published book is putting the cart before the egg. (My fave mixed metaphor.)

Blogs are way cool, though, because they're free, plus you can change the look at any time. And they have a different feel. They're not about marketing. They're about YOU as a person. And they don't have to be so polished. People knows blogs are more informal.

~ Brandilyn

Cara Putman said...

I read the Tipping Point a year or so ago and found it fascinating. Highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it. The whole concept is how does an idea/concept/ product reach a point that it goes from a niche to mainstream. I'll have to read it again with an eye to how the principles apply to books.

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

I agree blogs are way cool, but I also bought my domain names through With privacy registration it is like $11.99 a year. They'll host your site for free if you let them put an ad banner across the top.

I'm just setting up the five pages, so it's not published yet. But I've still only got the free hosting because it may take me six months to set it up the way I want it and it not costing me monthly.

When I'm ready to publish, I'll buy the hosting, so I can get rid of the banners when I publish it