Building a Following … Planning Ahead
Good morning! My apology for not returning before yesterday was over. The meeting ran late, and when I got home I was just too tired to do a good job.
But the meeting was valuable for more than one reason. I’m a member of Rotary, and this was a District Staff Meeting where I was giving a short presentation on a project our club is currently running. Although I’ve been in Rotary for four years, I’ve never been to a District Staff Metting. In addition to the important Rotary stuff addressed, I became vividly aware that this was an occasion–as is every occasion these days–for me to further advance the Plan (see November 4 Blog Launch Posting, if this is your first visit to my blog).
Not only were a number of people surprisingly interested in what I’d been writing but, after I finished my presentation, several individuals approached me about doing additional presentations in their clubs and associated organizations. As you may remember (see posting #14, heading “Speaking of Various Offshoots …”), I’ll be giving a speech this Friday, March 5, on the topic of “Reinventing Yourself at Any Age,” and I will be paid for this one.
In addition to introducing me to lots of wonderful people, each of these separate occurrences serves to advance (even if only by inches) the building of a following, which is the Journey being tracked (warts and all) through this blog. And, in all of the reading I’ve been doing, the single point repeated again and again is that we cannot wait until our book is being published to begin this process.
In fact, a number of articles emphasize the point further by saying that we cannot even wait until we finish writing the book before we start building our following. (The latest article, which you might find of interest, is “Audience Development: Critical to Every Writer’s Future,” by Jan Friedman, Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Digest: http://writerunboxed.com/2010/02/19/audience-development-critical-to-every-writers-future/.)
Reaching that understanding was one of the epiphany moments in the conference last September that inspired me to start this blog/Plan in the first place. And last night I was reminded that every single event in our days, and every single person we meet, presents us with the opportunity to add one more person to our “audience.” One person might not seem like very much, until we consider how many other people that one person knows.
Every article on the subject states that creating a following takes a very long time, which is why those articles also tell us to begin before we have a book. Remember the point in my Blog Launch Posting on November 4 where I mentioned another epiphany moment from that September conference–the moment where I heard that the first thing agents and editors do when they receive a query letter from us is Google us? And, if little or nothing pops up on that Google search, the odds of that agent/editor responding favorably to us–regardless of how good our work might be–are slim to none, with emphasis on the “none.”
A couple of quotes from the Friedman article that stand out are:
- “Mediocre writers with sales & marketing savvy are more likely to succeed in commercial publishing than talented writers without sales & marketing skill.”
- “You must cultivate a readership every day of your life … Your readers will not be interested in reading just one book; they will be interested in everything and anything you do–and that includes interacting with you online.”
I know (believe me) that just finding the time to get the writing done is challenging enough. How are we supposed to work all of this other stuff in? Well, the answer needs to be “somehow,” if one of our goals is to actually have people read what we spend all that time writing.
Sharing ideas for how to get that done is something I’ll continue to do through this blog.
Trends in Fiction
This is another article (by Chip MacGregor) that I found of value: http://chipmacgregor.typepad.com/main/2010/02/the-trends-in-fiction.html. He addresses a number of categories, but the one paragraph that stood out for me personally was:
“Literary fiction is definitely a growth category in American publishing … many of the books [on the bestseller list] have a clear spiritual thread …”
This is very encouraging, with respect to Separation of Faith.
Another article on the subject of trends that you might want to visit is by Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent: http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2008/02/trends-in-fiction.html.
Plan Update–Separation of Faith
The edits are all complete. Now I’m going to give the manuscript a final “once-over” and then email the finished product to the publisher by tomorrow. Next, we’ll wait to see what the new Editorial Evaluation says. The goal is to receive the Editor’s Choice designation prior to production, so I can use that achievement in my marketing. We’ll find out soon if the book makes the cut. Stay tuned …
The Truth About Cinnamon
Yesterday I published the 10th free serialized issue. Originally, I was only going to release the first seven chapters, but there’s enough time (and there are enough chapters) to keep going for awhile. As soon as Separation of Faith enters the production process, which will take a number of weeks, I’ll return to the reduction edit of Cinnamon, which will also take a number of weeks.
The new edition of Cinnamon will be published shortly before Separation of Faith–and remember that, as soon as the new version goes into production, there won’t be any way to buy the original. So, anyone who has the original will be in possession of an authentic First Edition. Of course, that will only mean something if this Plan is reasonably successful.
If you’d like to check out the free serialized chapters (which will also go away when the new version goes into production), please feel free to visit: http://www.filedby.com/author/cheri_laser/2721580/documents/24081497/.
- Hits on this blog: 1255 as of a minute ago (1177 last report)
- My website: 35,795 (35,658 last report)
- Amazon: I’ve decided not to worry about this one until the new version of Cinnamon comes out … 🙂
Hope you’re all having a good week and that the weather is calm where you are. Our big snow is slowly beginning to melt now. Temps reached the 40’s yesterday, and are supposed to do the same today. A little more snow might come tomorrow, though … Like building an audience/readership following, the melting is going to be gradual over a long time. Take care.