Saturday, June 22, 2013

Confusion or Chaos? (Checklist)

I'm a control freak, I admit it. In my business, being in charge works well. I gather information, assess options, make decisions and move on. Decision-making is probably my strong suit, and my 35 years in a successful business attests to this winning formula. But, my "ways" are failing me as a writer.

Here's my new book, Ghost of Lost Eagle. I'm proud of it and looking forward to the big release on Amazon, July 11.

What's my problem?

I don't know what to do next. The book is ready to go, but now begins the marketing, promotions and advertising. Like I've done for 35 years, I turned to professionals for the next phase. Writing the book turns out to be the easy part. I find myself lost now. The marketing company gave me a list of things they will do but no instructions on the timing. I asked them which things we should do and when. They said, "It's up to you, the author."

Uh, hang on a second. I am confused, a bit intimidated and uncertain how to decide on the timing of activities. For example, how do I go on a "blog tour?" I called my travel agent to book one, and she asked what country they are in. What kind of explosives do I need for a Twitter "blast?"

Seriously, I need a timeline. I have their list, but I don't understand what needs to be done in what order. I was told to send out ARC (Advance Review Copies free ebooks) to people who are willing to read my story and make reviews on Amazon. In fact, they said these ARC reviews are very important to my ultimate success. Great, let's do it!

Wait a minute. They want me to solicit a bunch of reviews but the official book release is not for another three weeks. How will my readers post their reviews before the book goes "live" on Amazon? I don't get it.

They talk about blog tours that they will schedule, but how can I post links to the book on blogs when it's not even on line yet? How am I supposed to make decisions on matters I don't fully understand?

Fortunately, my coordinator with Fostering Success talked me down from the ledge this week. When I originally asked for the timing of everything, I was told "It's up to you." Huh? I had no idea what kind of timing should exist between events. I am completely new at internet marketing. What should I do first? And second? And third? I needed a timeline, not a generalized comment about everything being up to me.

Why am I writing about this for you, my readers?

My experience points out the importance of good communications with your marketing company for a smooth campaign. My PR coach had no idea how na├»ve I was. When she said in the beginning that everything was up to the author, she was trying to be respectful and let the author/client know they are there to serve at the writer's convenience. With one simple telephone conversation, we outlined a marketing plan, complete with timing for the ARC requests, a release date, things I need to accomplish along the way and a systematic order for getting everything done. Twitter blasts, blog tours and regular promotional releases are on my list now that I have an idea what they are and how they fit into the overall timing. Professional reviews will have to wait until I have ISBN numbers and some will not agree to review until I have a physical book.

I feel much better now.

The point of this blog is to share my own learning curve so my readers avoid making the same mistakes. I can move mountains as long as someone gives me a place to pile the rubble. Things will be accomplished very quickly and in the order provided by my marketing company . . . now that I HAVE a checklist! I feel much better and hope you benefit from my angst.


  1. Thanks, Dean, that does help. I am probably going the self-pub route with my nonfiction book, and I'm in the same position as you - totally clueless. Appreciate the insight.

  2. Having a solid plan, and not waiting until the last minute, even if it leaves one frazzled a bit at times, is a good thing, Dean! Hang in there. Looking forward to your novel's launch.

  3. Looks amazing Dean!! Exciting times.

  4. Let me know if you need an ARC, I would be honored to volunteer.


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