I am the editor of a newsletter for a writing group filled with published authors of several books. Although, I have not finished a book much less worried about getting anything published, I find myself giving tips on how to market books.
My latest tip is to create a press kit. When you first start writing, you pick up books that tell you how to sell that book. You find yourself in the sell mode with a little bit of crap to market. Then you begin to read about the craft and you work on that crap and most of it continues to be crappola however much you search for that jewel in the rough.
This is one of the reasons I can speak with authority. I read a lot of marketing your book before I figured out that maybe I should avoid that sort of book and look for one that only had exercises on how to write better. Thankfully I started a blog and have improved just by writing it. What started as platform building was actually a springboard to meeting people who do write. I don't regret that I spend more time reading than writing. For one thing, they pay about the same.
But back to creating a press kit, I recommended a flattering picture. I've noticed if people are young, they and their big teeth are grinning in their pictures. With some age, many opt for a picture of an intelligent walrus or other branding figure. I plan to put my high school graduation picture out. I've changed a wee bit, well a lotttttt. But who actually chooses a book by your picture. Come to think of it, my high school picture could date me.
A second item would be a biography. This is incredibly tough for me. I'm a person who has spent my life wanting to blend into the wallpaper. In school, I never volunteered to answer a question. As an adult, if I saw the boss in the hallway, I slipped in my classroom, another hallway, restroom, library. Out of sight, out of mind was my thinking. The Japanese have a saying that the nail sticking out is the one that gets hammered down.
I exaggerate, moderately. I'm just one of those people who wanted to be liked and accepted. As I have grown old, I see where so many people I felt I needed to impress were not people to worry about. Some of the greatest people I have ever met came in and out of my life quickly and I did not know it.
Below is my tentative biography in the first two paragraphs. Give me any tips on how to improve it.
"Ann Bennett received a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Masters in Education from Georgia Southern University and a Specialist in Education from State University of West Georgia. A native of Georgia her father's family is descended from the original white settlers of Georgia, Ann grew up in the International City of Warner Robins, GA which grew in the shadow of Robins Air Force Base.
Ann worked several jobs but her career was teaching school. She spent roughly 32 years teaching science primarily to sixth, eighth and high school students. Her last job was as a coordinator for a science non-profit which essentially entailed doing school programs that ranged from Pre-K to Twelfth grade in a five county area of Central Georgia. Ann started writing as a pastime to alleviate the struggles with her second and most important career as a care giver."
The following paragraphs are disclaimer to comments I have received.
None of the characters she writes about are her, happened to her or someone she knows. She would never use the name of the mean people she has dealt with in life. More than likely, a very nice person would share the same name. Plus, we all can be mean at times. Some more than others.
You live a life you meet a lot of people. When watching television, you recognize some stories from the news are woven into that week's crime of the week for a down and dirty crime fiction show or a sweet cozy mystery.
Well yes, someone can be the base of a character but little more. In a current story, there is a former Goth girl from the nineties who becomes a internet world building nerd. There is much more to the story. The woman is based on a random woman's obituary and so many kids who dressed like Goth's. It is just a probable life story based purely on imagination.
The third item is where can your work be found.
All of my work is on jump drives. The first items I may publish are science education booklets. They have been finished for years. I sat down to work on them and started writing fiction. It is not a pretty place where the muse woke; but, I'm running with it. I have not been hellbent on being published. For one thing it is a time consuming process. The people I take care of basically determine whether I will be free or not.
But yes I have that fantasy. I make a lot of money. People quote me. I get called up and asked my opinion on the world news. There is always a surreal comic element when a fiction writer gets asked about a tough news story they only write about. Add to that that anyone would care what a 60 something woman had to say.
Last of all I spend the remainder of my life on a cruise ship with my dogs in tow. Everybody I have ever loved will be on the boat. Plus, I make enough money to build decent housing for mentally ill women. They don't have to live in a four beds to a room group home and share a small toilet and shower. They can have their own room with a walk in closet and get their nails done like everyone else.
The fourth item is an active link to where your work can be purchased. At this point, everything for public consumption is on my blogs. I thought of loading all my work on blogger to be published in the future. If I die, my work could still be eventually published. But right now, I'm still at the rhymmy dimemie stage of writing. The world will continue to turn without my stories. And yes, I don't do a great job cleaning up my grammar and syntax.
Cheers folks. If you need an expert opinion from someone who probably does not know the answer. Send me that question. I'll answer or write a nice piece of fluff that no one should do at home. Take care.