Thursday, June 19, 2014

                Getting Out There!  By Catherine Lanigan
  
    




       For those of you who know me and know my writing you may remember that I have written a series of books about angelic intervention in human lives. These collections of stories are not just from people I’ve met during my life, but of my own life, that of my father’s near death experiences (yes that’s multiple since he died several times and came back to tell about it) and visitations from our departed loved ones. I also have long sections in each book about those rare, strange and life altering events/coincidences and “divine nudges” that always manage to put us in the right place at the right time for exactly what it is that we were put on this earth to do.
     Since my fellow Heartwarming Authors are of the same “ilk”, “artistry” and talent as myself, it’s my bet that what I’m about to write about will ring true with a good many of you. If it doesn’t, I say, “shame on you, you’re just not paying attention”. 
     Book promotion is without a doubt one of the most difficult aspects of our writing careers. Just when we think we’ve figured out how to do this, the game changes. OR, if you’re like me, everything else that seems to work just dandy for everyone else, just doesn’t seem to click into high gear for me. That’s when it’s time to “go to the mattresses”.  Or in my case, to my knees and pray.
     I ask for help from my angels and especially all my dead relatives when it comes to book promotion. After all, my folks are dead. What else do they have to do? My passion and love is writing my books. In order to do that I must actually write the books, re-write the books, come up with more ideas for synopses, meet my AA’s deadlines, send in my synopses, write another book while my editor is deciding on the next storyline and yes, write another synopsis. I’m supposed to be Twittering, Facebooking, Bookperking, Goodreading, Linking In, writing this blog and checking on all the newest goings on with RWA, HAN, PW, NYTimes and any and all other reviewers and “lists” of note. I don’t mind doing all these things, they’re just part of the job. But, again, my dead folks need to get off their butts and work for me.
            Last fall as I was finishing up my AA’s  for LOVE SHADOWS, my agent booked a speech for me at a Librarian’s Tea for the first week in April.  At this point I did not have my pub date yet for my book and I was too busy starting the re-write on HEART’S DESIRE to pay much attention to the event other than contacting Jennifer the co-ordinator.
            A few weeks later, my editor Claire called and told me that LOVE SHADOWS would be an April book. You got it, that event was now my “media launch” for LOVE SHADOWS.  The event had marvelous pre-publicity and they booked nearly 200 people. I was able to taut the event on all my social media and then some.
            One of the ladies attending, at the very last minute, coerced her husband, Tom Lounges, to come to the Tea with her to listen to me talk. Tom, as it turns out, hosts a fantastic radio show “Looking at the Arts” on 89.1 FM The Lakeshore. Tom liked my speech and then booked me on his radio show. We had some very good feedback from the show and it was aired a SECOND time before going “on sale” to public radio to be aired again. Then the show was archived and is now available on the web/podcasts etc. 
            Yesterday I received a letter from Tom that a local author is requesting sections of that interview for a segment in her new book!  That book will be published , promoted and talked about in all the social media and advertised using my name and my story and in addition, will feature/mention my newest HEARTWARMING titles.
            This chain of media events all happened because I “got out there”.  I said “yes” to the library event. Then I said “yes” again and again. (Of course, I thanked my angels just in case they DID have something to do with all this. I have to admit—the timing was uncanny.) 
       Like all of you, I have sat in grocery stores, gift stores, department stores, flower shops, candy stores and even a meat market at a card table selling my books to people who don’t show up. I have advertised in flyers, on postcards, on my web site and on every media site they can come up with. But for my money, nothing has ever or will ever beat radio.
            Radio these days never goes away. Just like our e-books that won’t be shredded after a month on the shelves, these interviews last forever. They are “archived” now and can be heard on the internet, streamed on computers, IPads, Iphones and in your car. Even in the “old days” when I first started out, it was radio and those interviews that got our books out there. Those fabulous local shows that featured authors for morning drive time and evening rush hour, are gone. But there are still loads of podcasts and webcast interviewers looking for material. They need exciting, fun and relevant stories to make their shows “a cut above”.  What the interviewer doesn’t want to hear about is your book. Oh, you can mention the title and give a “log line”, but what he does want to know is HOW DO YOU DO IT?  Truly, the mind of an artist is a fascinating landscape and no one has ever properly defined it, categorized it or figured out how to bottle it and sell it. THAT is what they want to hear about.

            So, put your scintillating personal story together, pitch it to a podcast or web show if you can’t find a local radio show, and don’t take “no” for an answer. I bugged radio talk show hosts for weeks and months and didn’t let up till they put me on their show. Then I took them food when I showed up. (Please use real butter in your cookies.) Be persistent. Just remember, radio guys and women, are as passionate about their talent and “place” on earth as you are about yours. They understand you. And the show you give them will be memorable.  

16 comments:

  1. Catherine that sounds fantastic! I can't imagine getting asked to a 200+ Librarians Tea to begin with - but if I did, I would say YES and then Yes to the follow-up Radio Show that came from it and YES to the second Radio rebroadcast and YES to the Public Radio showing and YES to be in a book! It is a wonderful chain of events. My challenge is to start somewhere- like a largely attended tea- that will set that ball rolling. I'm mostly just limited to being one of a million people shrilling about books coming out on Twitter, FB and other social media- but nothing special like that... maybe someday :) Congratulations!!! You've accomplished so much in your wonderful career and deserve this attention in spades :)

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    1. Okay, I just had to jump in and say, Karen, you are my early morning sister! I was up at 3:30am because, now that school is out, it's the only time I can get peace and quiet lol. I'm thinking we'll have no trouble being the first in line for coffee at Nationals LOL!

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    2. Oh, my Gosh, you guys! At 3:30 I can only dream of getting MORE SLEEP. Oh to be young again.

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  2. Thanks, Karen! Know what I think? I think we should do a Heartwarming Authors radio show or a tea or something. Back in the OLD DAYS, which really seems old to me, we used to do these HUGE book events at an independent bookstore in Houston. We authors would bring food and wine. Oh, yeah, lots of wine or punch even and we'd sign all Saturday afternoon. WHAT fun we had. I'd love to do something like that. OR a SKYPE authors party! By the way...LOVED your book!!! Keep going, girl!
    PS. What in the world are you doing awake at 4:42 AM????

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  3. Catherine, great post. At one time or another I've tried all of the promo things you mentioned except for podcasts. When I lived in Texas I did both a radio show and was invited twice on an afternoon TV show where the hostess had read and liked my books. The radio was fun---all old cowboys called in from the range. And bookstores did host really great signings. Around here now the only bookstores that do signings are the new/used combos. And you have to promote and get people to come. I went to one a friend did the other day and 4 people were there---all from our writing chapter. Someone just posted an article on our chapter loop that says blogging is dead. Huh? We're just going good here, right? I love to read and I tell people when I read a good book. I hope that still gets authors new readers. Yay for your 200 attendees. That's really good news.

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    1. Hi, Roz,
      Trust me, I have more horror stories in my arsenal of promoting events than you want to know. The real answer is that there is no guarantee --ever. You just keep doing it , and doing it and hoping one will work. I STILL believe that the real promotion for us is to NEVER, EVER give up on the God-given talent we have to keep writing. Even when no one will even talk to you, not even your agent, just keep listening to that voice in you, those characters you haven't even met yet and what they want to tell you about themselves. Never give up. That's my motto.

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  4. Catherine - I think you're right about everything, down to real butter in the cookies. My life is full of little miracles and a few big ones, but I'm still blown away when they happen. What a generous God. Except for the things we should "Just say no!" to, saying "Yes!" is always the right answer. About promotion - I do what I can in our little town, and trust in Providence. That's probably not a good business plan, but my time's limited. I'm proud of all of you who know how to get noticed - your good books being a great way!

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    1. Muriel, dear,

      My mother used to say, "I expect miracles all the time." Generally, I think this is so very true. What I DO expect is for my angels to help me out. There is only so much a human person can do in a day and as I get older, it seems like I'm not getting very far, but really, when I think about it, I'm doing a whole lot more than I did 30 years ago. No wonder I'm so tired!! But like you, my only business plan is to believe that God is leading us, every step of the way.

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  5. great post Catherine! I definitely agree. I was fortunate enough so far to be interviewed on two real radio talk shows and two blogtalk radio shows and yes, that publicity was fantastic! And this fall, a California Women's television talk show has asked if they can do a segment around my Sept release as it deals with infertility and adoption-um...yes!You're right-you definitely have to put yourself out there and sometimes it's just about drafting a great press release and emailing it out to every outlet possible:) Takes time, but it's worth it!

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  6. Catherine, I can see why you're so successful--your writing is so wonderful and captivating. I believe in the miracle-intervention-angel thing, also. The timing of my first book was too 'interesting' not to be a part of something much larger than myself. My first book just came out in March so promotion is the most daunting aspect of it all for me. But thank God (literally) for people like you and our other experienced, knowledgeable authors who so generously give advice and set the most wonderful examples. Thank You!

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    1. Carol, I have to tell you that your book was just fabulous. I loved Mountains Apart and couldn't put it down which is ANOTHER reason I keep staying away from my desk probably too much and not doing all my other promotional stuff we have to do. But I will tell you, NOTHING, but nothing promotes like writing stories from the heart. There were so many years when no publisher in the world thought that my "wholesome" romances were worth a whit until Heartwarming came along. So, for all of us, we DID have to wait and believe, and believe until God and the angels came along, changed the world and said, "HOW ABOUT FIFTY SHADES OF LOVE AND LIGHT" ....so that we all get to be heard!

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  7. Catherine, I absolutely believe in 'divine nudges'. Sometimes they're so clear that anyone who ignores them is in denial or, like you said, not paying attention! Just like Carol said about her book, I had too many 'coincidences', signs and patterns related to my first book sale and release...and I don't think they were coincidences ;).

    Your successes and your history with radio is fascinating. Of course, you earned those opportunities through your incredible writing talent. Your angels were definitely inspired to help you along because you deserved it. And I'm inspired by your post! Thank you for sharing your experience with those of us still learning.

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    1. Rula, I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that I'm still praying for you and your son. I hope he's okay. AND, if he's doing well, then all those prayers will be for your writing and for your sales. I believe in you.

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  8. Catherine, you're right you have to put yourself out there. I managed to get a write up in the Sunday paper, but I had to be creative. The story focus wasn't just on me, but on the fact that there are three plumbers (my husband, his older brother, and his dad) and they are either married to romance writers (the brothers) or dating a romance author (dad.) I had to find a hook :)

    I miss the days when bookstores really wanted us to sign.

    Now, they just want JK Rawlings to sign.

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    1. Pam,
      You are so right. I truly miss those old days of fun signings and the friendships we used to build with our readers. Some of them became real girlfriends. And the booksellers!!! Gees. We used to go to lunch and take our kids to the zoo. It's really sad!

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