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.