Marketing Part Two: F-Words

Two years ago, when I sat down to tell a simple story, I never planned on having Fans. I didn’t create a fictional town called Iti Taloa, Mississippi and plop some interesting characters there in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s so that I could become Famous (which, let’s be honest, is another F-WORD). It never occurred to me that I would need to take Author Photos or invite folks to please, please, pretty please, LIKE ME on facebook (can you say YUCK?! Double Yuck!). I just wanted to tell a story, share a little glimpse into a different world, invite people into the mind of my main character, Millie Reynolds, and hope they feel as inspired by her as I have.

Yet here I am, in the final rounds of edits on my debut novel, Into the Free, and all I can think about is finding time to finish my website (sigh). Welcome, by the way (smile)…it’s a work in progress…please be gentle.

Thankfully, a talented team of publicists will help build PR lists and get reviews. The marketing team at David C. Cook will devise an advertising budget, print galleys, ship ARCs, and work with Sales to deliver the perfect pitch to the optimal outlets. A long line of hands will touch this book between the time it’s written and the time it hits shelves, and each of them will contribute their weight in gold to the success of this book. But ultimately, it’s the readers who get to decide what they buy. You, my friend, are in control.

Thankfully, I’m not just a writer. I’m also a reader. And as a reader, I understand the importance of the “big machine.” When I’m in a bookstore or browsing my online booklist, it first takes a brilliant cover design to catch my eye. Then, I need clever copy to sum up an entire story in a paragraph or two that makes me want to know more. The price has to be right. And my mood probably plays a role in the decision.

But…aside from that…

I really enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes view of the journey. I want to know what brought that idea to the page, how did the writer find time to put it to ink, and how many rejections were delivered before the big debut?

I want to know how these characters came to be and where they were created. In a coffee shop? On a sofa? In a backyard swing? This is what makes me interested in following a particular author for the long run. Long after that first publication falls from the shelves.

And so, that’s what I hope to offer you…a behind-the-scenes look at how Millie Reynolds came to be. And a collection of tidbits about creating this story, so that Millie can literally walk off the page and into your world.

I extend my warmest welcome as you visit my humble little website. Because the book won’t be out until 2012, I’ll be adding content slowly. I do hope you’ll return so you can get to know Millie and Mississippi. In the coming months, you can visit this site not only to follow my blog, but also to learn about the:

  • Romany travelers
  • early American rodeo competitors
  • and the members of the Choctaw nation

who inspired this story. I also hope you will use this site as a source to  learn more about domestic violence and to become a proactive voice to protect innocent victims.

Be sure to sign up for the free updates, as I’ll be adding lots of content before Into the Free hits shelves in January (including freebies and sneak peeks).  And, um, (clear throat, awkward downward glance at my feet, nervous little shuffle-ball-change) will you please, please, pretty please go Like me on facebook? It’s a brand new fanpage created by my publisher, so I’ll be adding content to that as well. (Hint: Look for facebook icon on right side of homepage.)

Don’t look now, I’m on the clock tower!


4 thoughts on “Marketing Part Two: F-Words

  1. Julie, It’s great to “hear” from you. I completely empathize with your situation. We have a nonfiction debut author in our writing group (Joanne Kraft wrote Just Too Busy ~ Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical). She has been overwhelmed with all the marketing effort. She is currently on a cross country book signing tour (with her family) on her way to the national MOPS convention.

    We now call her our marketing maven. She landed several radio interviews and a TV spot not to mention articles rolling out across the country in many national papers. Check out her contact info at our website

    • Hi Chris, It’s great to hear from you again too! I’ve seen that book…and I can totally relate. Can’t tell you how many times a day I consider taking a radical sabbatical with my family. Glad she’s able to take them on the road with her, and I know she’ll LOVE the MOPS convention. I miss my MOPS days! Hope you’re writing is going well. All the best, j

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