I attended several marketing panels while at AWP. Marketing is such an important part of being a writer, but I don't ever feel like I'm doing it right. I participate in blog tours and try to do readings at libraries and bookstores, but I'm always open for other ideas on how to get myself and my work out there.
One of the biggest things I learned from all of the panels was that it's not enough for me to promote my book, I have to offer myself. Readers want to connect with the author. They want to know there's a human being behind the writing. One of the suggestions that came from all of the panels was to give something back. They suggested offering to do workshops or presentations.
That thought got me excited. What could I possibly have to offer to other people? What would they be interested in hearing me talk about? Then it hit me: research. For both my fiction and nonfiction I've done research, and for both types of writing, how that research is incorporated varies greatly. I thought it would be fun to share with others what I've learned about research during my writing career. Perhaps they could find something useful in my presentation.
Another thing that was suggested was to pool resources and share the stage with another author. Again, I thought this idea was fabulous and instantly found my friend Tamara to convince her to share the stage with me. It didn't take much. We've been friends for a long time, so helping each other out with our writing and promotion is second nature. Currently, we are working on a proposal about how research is necessary when writing either fiction or nonfiction and ways to incorporate it into your writing.
I'm sure if I thought about it, there are several other workshops/presentations about writing that could be given. The only thing I really need to do them is time. With a full-time job and a family, plus trying to find time to write, I don't have an abundance of it. But I'll do what I can when I can.
The most important thing I learned from all these panels was that you have to put yourself out there. It doesn't matter what kind of promotion you do, just as long as you do something. Personally, I really enjoy talking to people about writing, so I have no qualms about presenting in front of a group. I hope with the new ideas Tamara and I are putting together we'll get to do it often.