Dramaquill's All Things Writing

July 30, 2013

Writing Advice: Questions from my Readers Part One

I’ve had a few questions submitted since I posted on the 26th, so here’s my first Q & A…

Question:   I’d like to know more about how you’ve done marketing. Book signing (check). Um… what else?

Answer:  First of all let me thank you for reading through my blog and seeing that I did cover some marketing strategies in my book signing post.  But you are right – what else can and should a writer do?

Here are some of my strategies…

  1. Post on social media (Note:  This doesn’t mean spamming your contacts with daily rants about buying your book.  Post about your creative journey.  Post about books or authors you enjoy.  Make your posts interesting and entice readers to follow you because they enjoy your content.)
  2. Join sites specific to writers and readers (StumbleUpon/SheWrites/Goodreads)
  3. Ask people who’ve read your book to post reviews online where your book is being sold.
  4. Google book review sites and ask to have them review your book.
  5. Make postcards and take them with you everywhere.  You never know who you might meet that would be interested in checking out your book.  (Vistaprint is a great online source for authors on a tight budget.)
  6. Send out a press release to announce your book coming out (both in your physical location and online)
  7. Talk to your local librarian about doing a workshop and/or having your book added to their catalogue.
  8. Ask your writing friends, critique group, business associates etc. to help promote your book to their circles.  Perhaps you can give them a free copy for doing so and also some bookmarks or postcards to hand out.
  9. Offer to speak at book clubs or in schools or even private clubs.
  10. Read and post in online discussion boards.

Those are my most popular ways of promoting and marketing my book.

This reader also asked:

And when do your rights revert back to you if your publisher doesn’t put the book in print? And if/when they do, will you self-publish?

What a great question.

I signed a 3 year contract with my publisher.  At the end of that time, I will have to make the decision whether or not to keep my book with that publisher or try to get it into print with someone else.  I don’t think I’d self publish but I have been toying with the idea of starting my own publishing imprint as another part of my business so we’ll see when the time comes.

 

April 29, 2011

Your play: published or produced?

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As the resident playwright for Slightly off Broadway triple threat studio, I create 6-8 new scripts every school year.  There was a time when I believed that I really hadn’t done justice to my plays unless I managed to get them published or in an anthology collection.

As the years went by, I realized that the greatest pleasure I get from writing my plays and musicals is watching them unfold during the rehearsal process and then seeing the final product up on the stage during the performances.  After all, plays are meant to be seen and heard, not just read.  This is what makes plays different from all other forms of fiction writing.

I know several playwrights who have developed their own publishing companies solely for the purpose of self-publishing their plays.  That way, they don’t have to share royalties when they sell copies to schools and drama clubs. 

Over the years I’ve ordered sample copies of plays from several different publishers.  Some produce a fine product but many others create an amateur looking cardstock cover folded over and stapled to the printed sheets.  I can make copies that look better by doing it myself.  Also, if I have them published with someone else, then I have to share revenue on each sale.  So I understand why so many playwrights choose to create their own company and their own product.

But for me, publication isn’t the forerunner for my plays.  It’s the productions that I crave.  Besides the Slightly off Broadway performances, I have sold copies of my plays to school drama clubs and organizers of summer drama camps.  Knowing that something I have created can be shared with performers and audiences all over the globe is far more satisfying to me than having my play listed in a catalogue.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to be listed with the likes of someone like Samuel French – who wouldn’t? 

So how do I get the word out that I have plays available?

I advertise on the Slightly off Broadway website.  I read ezines and forums that pertain to playwriting.  I talk to teachers who are looking for new material.  I do my own networking.

Am I getting rich selling copies of my plays for productions?

Nope.

Am I satisfied knowing that every single one I have written to date has had at least one production?

Absolutely.

Publication or Production…you decide.

http://www.slightlyoffbroadway.com

http://www.samuelfrench.com

http://www.stageplays.com

July 26, 2008

Self publishing – it’s not for everyone!

Okay, I’ll say right out that I’m probably going to get a lot of comments on this post and I’m prepared for that.  But before you comment remember this:  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion!

I’m just flabbergasted at the growing number of authors who have decided to self-publish.  Now, before you get defensive, let me clarify that I mean the number of fiction authors. 

I totally get that doing a POD book or an ebook that’s an information guide might be a more lucrative way to go for some non-fiction subject matter.  I also understand that some writers may only want to make a few copies of a book for family and friends for a special occasion and self-publishing allows them to do that.

I don’t have anything against POD technology or self-publishing per se.

What I don’t understand is why any author who’s truly stoked about his/her novel being published and available in bookstores would choose to self-publish.  So many vanity press companies have such bad reputations (we’ve all read the countless complaints about Publish America).  And major booksellers won’t stock self-published or POD books.

I know what you’re thinking.  It takes forever to go down the traditional path.  You don’t have to tell me – I know!

I’ve been slugging it out as a writer for many years and started seriously submitting about seven or eight years ago.  It’s frustrating as hell to wait for six months or longer to hear back from a publisher. 

But as I stare at my folder filled with rejection letters, I can’t help but notice a pattern.  More often than not my rejections now come with short, personal notes.  A rejection’s still a rejection but seeing something like “cute story, great character, unfortunately we’ve recently published something similar” tells me that my kidlit PBs aren’t always getting passed by because they aren’t good.  Sometimes it’s just bad timing.

I’ve managed to publish enough magazine clips, both in kidlit publications and also some NF, that I do feel that I’m making headway.  A recent acceptance by Writer’s Digest for an article in an upcoming market book keeps me hopeful that with each rejection, I continue to work harder on making my writing stronger and that it’s only a matter of time.

Nope – I haven’t broken either the kidlit PB market or the adult suspense genre but I’m not willing to feel like a sell-out by self publishing.

Okay, before you throw daggers in my direction, I know that self-publishing isn’t always a sell-out.  But there are a lot of really bad self-published books out there – badly written and badly edited.  I don’t want my book lumped in with those.  Also, these vanity presses charge the author a lot of money and often the quality of the finished product is terrible.  (I have heard positive exceptions regarding the quality of Booklocker.com and Lulu.com)

My philosophy is simple:  If it’s meant to happen for me, it will.

I’m doing the groundwork:

  • researching publishers and agents
  • following the specific guidelines when submitting
  • only sending my very best work
  • getting my work critiqued before subbing it out
  • editing and revising
  • researching the markets
  • making contacts at conferences and online
  • honing my craft
  • never giving up

Will I change my mind one day?

Never say never, but I doubt it!

Self publishing is not for everyone and I really believe it’s not for me.

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