Sunday, July 25, 2010
I talked about self-publishing a couple of weeks ago and promised that I would take you through the steps. Last week I talked about how important it is for us to be present in everything we do. This week I'm going to write (at least a little) about something that's kind of important to the self-publishing process.
Writing a novel.
The point of this blog entry is not to take you through the entire process of writing a manuscript. That's not really what I do here. If you're looking for help with the craft of writing, go to my @writingnodrama Twitter stream, where I talk about the day-in, day-out process of writing a novel or a script. You can also go to that stream's blog.
The idea here is that in order for us to get that writing career we've always wanted, we kind of need to...well...write. #awkward
If you already have a manuscript written or well on the way to being written, this may not apply to you quite as much. The questions you need to ask yourself is whether or not you're moving forward as quickly as you'd like and whether you've gotten to the point that you're needlessly fine-tuning instead of putting it out there.
However, if you've got the idea for a novel in your head and you're not moving forward with it, the question becomes, "Why on earth not?" What's holding you back? What "reasons" do you give yourself for not putting words on the page, even if they're horrifically bad. Believe me, every author has written bad stuff.
Whatever the voices in your head are telling you, the real answer is that on some level you're scared. Scared of exposure, scared of failure, or just simply scared that on some basic plane you're not worthy of success.
Now, you can listen to those voices. That's a choice. It is, however, a choice that will mean that succeeding with a writing career will be a bit of a tough sell. It also means your voice will be silenced.
And that is the real tragedy.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
That old phrase “The proof is in the pudding” is apropos. At the end of the day, it’s really about what works.
We talk about structure and discipline and making time for our art. We talk about craft and precision and specificity. We talk about “the path” and promotional tools and networking.
And all of those things are good. Really good.
And when push comes to shove, the most they will yield you on their own is a good product, adequately promoted. I don’t know about you, but “good” and “adequate” are not really words that I want used in regards to my work.
So what is it that makes for something great, brilliant or even spectacular?
Not to put too fine a point on it, it takes us. Putting the pieces of our projects together like they were some sort of a jigsaw puzzle or paint-by-the-numbers watercolor will yield us a result that is. . .good. Marketing in the same way that everyone else does will give us a campaign that is. . .adequate.
We want to infuse ourselves into everything we do. Take in all the ideas on structure, craft, precision and specificity. But then, loosen it up. Have fun with it. Enjoy the process. We can bring our unique talents and “voice” into the process.
The same thing goes for marketing. If we pursue a “cookie-cutter” type of promotional plan, we’ll get “cookie-cutter” kind of results. What can be our individual spin on it?
I have an actor friend who wanted to get an agent. He had taken all of the textbook steps that can lead to representation. None of them had given him more than a mediocre outcome.
So he did something different. He put together postcards that talked about himself as a product that he was selling. He was a comedic “staple” that every agent needed to have in his or her pantry. It was funny. It was eye-catching. It was completely him.
It worked. He had meetings within a week and an agent within two.
This is the kind of thing that we do for our clients. We approach each project as an extension of the individual we’re talking to. We listen to you, and then ask questions and then listen some more. Because we want your promotional process to be “you”. Your take, your voice, your campaign.
You’ve heard me talking about my novel Plain Jane recently. Take a look at what I’ve done with it. Go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/16176 and watch the trailer and the excerpt. Read the reviews. Download 30% of the novel for free to get a sense of it. Go to www.plainjanenovel.com and see what my website looks like. Then decide for yourself if I’m walking the walk.
Whatever your opinion of what I’m doing, I want to give you a challenge. Make the choice to step outside your comfort zone and promote your project, if you aren’t already doing so. If you are, take a careful look at what you’re doing and see if there’s room to improve. We’re not asking you to use our services. We’re asking you to get your work out there!
Want to take a look at what we’ve done for others? Go to our website: www.zstpromotions.com.