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Sunday, August 9, 2020

What do authors do after they type "The End?"

cj Sez:   Other than the deep, time-constrained editing that happens, one of the hardest parts of the writing process comes after an author has typed THE END on the last page of the manuscript and sent it off for publication: the task of marketing the beautiful baby.

  Whether traditionally, indie-, or self-published, the task of marketing accrues to all authors. In today’s literary world, big-name publishing houses are requiring their equally big-name author-clients to help market their own brand and creations. (Anyone remember seeing the advertising for “Master Classes” on TV? James Patterson and Margaret Atwood will teach you creative writing. Martin Scorsese will even teach you filmmaking.) The ultimate goal of marketing is, of course, to garner attention for the work and increase sales income—i.e., payment for all the hours, days, and months the author put in creating the manuscript.

  Like James Patterson and Margaret Atwood, authors need to connect with their readers. Actually, they must connect with their readers. “It used to be” that authors did readings at book clubs and libraries. They did book signings and media (TV/press/radio) interviews. In 2020, all of that marketing requires social distancing and working virtually…Zoom interviews and meetings are de rigueur. But even virtually, those tasks require (gasp) public speaking, a scary proposition for authors who spend their days in writing solitude.  That’s where a formulaic “stump speech” can offer a degree of confidence.
   The first thing I did when my first novel was handed off to the publisher was to outline a flexible stump speech. Unless I’m given four or five minutes to read an excerpt, I start with an anecdote. Then I give a brief bio, including why I use a pen name and how I chose it. I follow up with something about where the idea for the story came from, the research involved, the characters, and I read a short excerpt or two. I flesh out my speech outline with a few comments below the bullet points then print it out in large, bold, double-spaced type and practice it. That helps me with timing the length of my presentation and makes me familiar enough with the flow that I don’t have keep my head down to read it word-by-word and line-by-line.

   Even tho I haven’t given a presentation in front of a live group in a while, my stump speech helped me become more comfortable doing ad lib interviews. The more often I’m called on to be a “public person,” the easier the communication becomes.

  Caveat for public speaking: Refresh your stump speech for every presentation, and really, really know your work, because the Q&A will bring some surprising questions—always

  A fellow Sisters-in-Crime/Guppy member came up with seven quick points for dealing with the scary thought of having to speak in public (and she’s so good at it, public speaking seems second nature to her):

1.      Research your audience
2.      Plan
3.      Practice
4.      Know your stuff!
5.      DON’T worry.
6.      Get big.
7.      Love it and embrace it.

P.S.: * “Stump” is another word for “campaign” —like politicians do when they’re trolling for votes. Authors are trolling for sales.
Passing along writerly info:

A contest with no entry fee and a cash prize!  

This from Bienvenue Press: “We are pleased to announce our 2020 Halloween Short Story Contest! 1st place winner receives $50!”  

Submission info here:

Press Release:  August 3, 2020 – 
   Sisters in Crime (SinC) announced that the 2020 winner of the annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is Yasmin McClinton of Columbia, SC. The winning novel-in-progress was selected by judges Rachel Howzell-Hall, Alex Segura and the 2019 winner, Jessica Martinez. 

   2020 Killer Nashville Claymore Award Finalists have been announced:

The judges have chosen their favorites, now it’s the readers’ turn. Vote your favorite for the Readers’ Choice Award here:

cj Sez:  Lyrical Pens on Blogger is still in jeopardy. Blogger tells me the “legacy” version of their site will be available until August 24. The idea of having to learn another new program is trying my patience.

  That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

 (Raising prayers for your health and safety.)


 I just dropped off signed copies of my short story in the “Bienvenue to the Chateau Rouge” anthology at The Haunted Bookshop. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from my favorite indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: The Haunted Bookshop  The store has limited re-opening hours, so you can stop and shop, too.

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