Friday, November 13, 2020

Marketing 101

The Rappahannock Writers Conference held virtually last Saturday went off without a hitch, thanks to our talented CRRL librarians. The speakers did an amazing job traversing the new technology challenges. One of the questions that I didn’t have time to answer enough was on marketing. It was almost like, where do I begin. So, I’ll post this on my blog and website and hope the person who asked the question will find it. I hope all aspiring writers know by now that no matter how you decide to publish – traditional with an agent, hybrid, or Indie, it’s up to the author to do the marketing. In one of the sessions on publishing, the speaker stated that shelf life of a book in a book store is three months. Three months. The author has to work very hard to market their books to drive sales. When I self-published my first book, I had no idea where to start. I sent a note to most of my email contacts, and posted the book on my Facebook page. Since that time with books number two and three, I’ve expanded my marketing. I list on Sisters-in-Crime website, my blog post, website, LinkedIn, make bookmarks, get articles/interviews in local papers, library/ book group presentations, search for events where I can sell books (pre/post Covid), and Goodreads. This list changes and is added to with each book I publish. Some authors sponsor launch parties, send out newsletters, buy Amazon or Goodreads ads, drawings for a free copy. There are many ways to market and each author has to find their own way. Marketing is a whole other skill set that we all have to learn. Presentations to library groups can be such fun. Below is a photo of me talking with the Lansing, New York library patrons.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Understanding Scenes in Memoir Writing

On Saturday November 7 I will be giving a presentation on writing scenes at a virtual Rappahannock Writers Conference. Registration is open to anyone, anywhere at There’s a great line-up of speakers and a panel on publishing. The sessions will remain available on the library’s website through Nov. 14 for those who cannot make it on Saturday. My presentation, Scenes: The Essential Ingredient, is about understanding that scene writing is critical for any type/genre of prose you are writing, including memoirs. I describe scenes as: A sequence where a character or characters engage in some sort of action and/or dialogue. Scenes should have a beginning, middle and end (a mini-story arc), and should focus around a definite point of tension that moves the story forward. Or: individual story units smaller than chapters (but somewhat self-contained), show us sequences of actions and incidents that reveal place and time, characters’ actions, reactions or dilemmas. Basically, scenes are the building blocks of your story. Like any book the first or launch scene is the most important and will also be the most difficult to craft. It needs to capture the interest of the reader and give the reader a reason to continue. It helps to think of your memoir as a movie. The summary is the wider camera view. A scene is more of a close-up when you slow down the pace, express emotions, sights, sounds, smells – the five senses. Each scene is like a mini-story and when added together make up the whole. Before you jump into writing, take some time to plan. What do you want to accomplish? Who will be your audience – and that can be just you. Will your memoir have a theme or will it be a collection of life stories? Who will be the narrator – this is called Point of View.