My 11-point marketing plan with next action steps and a timeline.
Laura wrote: "I'd like students to choose 10 that they think fit a) their personality and b) their book. I'd also like students to choose one of their own - something that may have occurred to them over the course, or perhaps a tip they've learned from their fellow students during the class"
Ok so here's my plan:
1. Tip 1- Ideal Reader Exercise
So, I began here and after describing my ideal reader, rather rapidly wrote a piece that evolved from nowhere. I really enjoyed this, as I haven't written for a while as life has been getting in the way. However, I really wasn't sure which language to take from the journal entry or how I'd use these in my book description. I didn't use any of it!
As you know I'm struggling with my book title and Laura suggested I chose a title that my idea reader would respond to. So, what I intend to do is select 5-10 people I know/am acquainted with who fit the ideal reader profile and gather opinion on 5-8 possible titles. I'm going to stretch the age group as I've had some good response to my book from older women.
My deadline = May 19th (I'm away May 24th - June 9th and I'm actually going to just spend time with my family so this explains a lot of my deadlines.)
My ideal reader is:
Lives in a modern flat in a culturally happening city
Single, betrayed previously
Has one parent – Mum or Dad has died and 1 brother
Busy, socially active. Has a high-powered, high-earning job, is well educated to degree level
Enjoys sports at weekends – netball? Visits Pubs/clubs with a group of good girlfriends some single, some in relationships
Loves Chocolate, talking to friends, lunchdates, match .com, good wine
Rents car for weekends away from the city but otherwise walks/cycles – it’s quicker in the rush hour
enjoys well-prepared food from scratch – a foodie watches cook shows and likes preparing meals for friends. Shops at Waitrose as organic is important.
My daughter says, she's a bit like these guys:
Sunday 13th June
So I’m sitting in my favourite spot, next to the window, where the sun filters through the space in between the two opposite apartment blocks in the morning. I’m gorgeously cozy, curled up with my legs under me in my old armchair. It’s falling apart; the only old piece of furniture I possess in my modern, sparkly new apartment. I keep it because it was my Grandad’s chair. It reminds me of his good nature, his warmth and his enthusiastic support of everything I under-took. I found it difficult when he died. He was my number one fan and his death was my first experience of loss. I was 7, he was 77; 70 years difference and yet we shared a closeness, a deep understanding. When I lost my father, ten years later, it was still my Grandad I missed more.
I read all the books on his bookshelf in my Gran’s room, when I was deemed old enough. He loved James Bond and Alfred Hitchcock so my first ideas of relationships were those of heroes, rescuers - sophisticated men in fast cars with dazzling good looks. My own experiences didn’t turn out that way. My first real boyfriend – Jake didn’t even have a car and Steve, number two had a small city car so hardly a car in which to look cool and drive around with the sun-top down. Reality was a long way short of James Bond. The boys I dated weren’t especially well mannered and suave. It wasn’t until I met Joseph, ten years my senior that I experienced anyone with an ounce of sophistication. But, my, oh my, he was my downfall and now perhaps I wish I’d never got fixated on James Bond. However, I suppose that was better than the psychopaths in Alfred Hitchcock’s novels.
So the books I read now are more realistic. I love cookery books. There’s nothing I love more than poring over the latest offerings from personality chefs. I sit here in this spot on a Saturday morning and work out entire menus for dinner. Then, in I pop down the road to the local Waitrose and buy all the ingredients I haven’t already got, often the obscure things that these chefs love introducing. I get a kick out of filling my trolley cart with fresh organic produce - the aromas of the newly introduced spices invigorating my artistic imagination. The Saturday girl on the check out knows me now and we always discuss what I’m going to be cooking up. I adore the kitchen in my new home and on Saturday afternoons it smells divine as I conjure up new dishes. Often I’ve invited 4 or 5 friends round on a Saturday evening to sample what I’ve come up with.
I do still read novels though. Honestly, I find these a much better way to switch off at night rather than watching crime shows on TV. Joseph was partial to those but all the blood and gore just didn’t induce a peaceful sleep for me. So I read books, short-listed for the booker prize and those recommended in literary guides. I’m sure they look impressive spread across my coffee table but one of my guilty pleasures is reading romance. These books are hidden in the bedroom. I do find it embarrassing to admit but I do love an easy read, where the heroine, who’s not perfect, eventually does find her Mr. Right. I guess it provides me with hope that sometimes relationships do work out and life can sometimes be cheesy and yes that’s ok. Despite my portrayal of a confident, carefree happily single girl, I do have a hidden hankering for someone to share these experiences with. Wouldn’t it be nice to meet a man interested in creating a menu plan with me, happy to be inventive in my kitchen and share a glass of wine and some close physical contact whilst we prepared a gourmet meal for our friends?
Relates to book? Looking for love after bad relationship – ‘Despite my portrayal of a confident, carefree happily single girl, I do have a hidden hankering for someone to share these experiences with’
‘I’m gorgeously cozy, curled up with my legs under me in my old armchair.’
‘My first ideas of relationships were those of heroes, rescuers - sophisticated men in fast cars with dazzling good looks. My own experiences didn’t turn out that way.’
‘I do find it embarrassing to admit but I do love an easy read, where the heroine, who’s not perfect, eventually does find her Mr. Right.’
2. Tip 2 - Your Book Description
Then I looked at my book desciption, blurb. I had a short and long version and worked on the short one. Looking at the examples given I did wonder if it wasn't long enough so I'd like comment on this - perhaps I don't say enough about the story? I intend to send this out to my ideal reader group with the suggested titles.
Deadline = May 19th
The only language from the above exercise that I considered using was "hankering" but decided not to.
I then rewrote it in light of Laura's interview with Mark Edwards and comments from classmates.
Here is what I finished with:
Think you know about betrayal?
Fuelled by Scotland’s finest Malt Whisky and the kindness of strangers, Jen must start again after she loses her long-term partner of thirteen years, her home of ten years and her income.
Is rubbing hot chilli onto the adulterer’s under garments, an apt reply? Has a toilet brush ever featured as equipment of revenge before? Is it safe to pose naked for an old friend as an Artist’s model and will this really help build her self-esteem?
Glimpses of hope are found in bizarre opportunities. Having not been single since the last decade, is Jen equipped for dating? Should she text back straight away or wait until the morning? She would never have had sex on a first date before but have things changed?
Perhaps being single is easier, safer and preferable but if she decides it isn’t, can she ever trust enough again to have a fulfilling relationship? As Jen struggles to make sense of her life and what she wants she poses the question:
“Can anyone ever know the person, lying beside them in bed?”
Tragic yet humorous, this book is full of suspense and will keep you turning pages into the ‘wee hours’.
3. Tip 3 - Cover, Title, Subtitle.
This is where I'm still panicking - the basics.
Title and because I'm not sure about the title I haven't got a cover yet although I do have a cover designer ready to work with me, once I've settled on the title.
Deadline = May 24th
I'm creating a list for my ideal reader group - 'title - opinions please'. It's still in flux but any comments would be gratefully received.
The original 'Betrayal, Malt Whisky and a Toilet Brush'
Exiting The Scotch Mist
New Wings for a Second Chance
Teardrops to Sunshine/light
If I used any of the latter 3, could I then perhaps put in the first line of the blurb: This book is about Betrayal, Malt Whisky and a Toilet Brush. Yes, I am keen to get the toilet brush in there!
Amazon has already picked up on this as an obsesssion of mine (well Ira's) and is emailing me all sorts of designer types of brush. Who knew there were so many and that people would pay $70 for one!
4.& 5 Tip 4 - Author Bio (and I think I'm going to add to this) - The Tip I've learned from fellow students.
The Author Bio. I have decided with everyone's help that I will go with a Pen name and use a side profile shot of myself wearing a wig. I intend to get a better wig and some more professional shots but here's some draft versions of me in my daughter's wigs (Ha!) I look a lot older, with short hair, which could be good. I think. Any thoughts wig fans?
So here's the bio:
This is Ira Phillips’ first novel. It is humorous, romantic fiction, bordering on Chick Lit but it has no gay friends or handbags. Born in South East England, she has lived in Scotland and North Florida. She has always had a desire to write but got sidetracked singing in a band and by a career in Alternative Health and Property Management.
Having time to take restock of her life due to an illness, Ira finally had no excuses left and began writing. She hasn’t looked back since. Her favourite fridge magnet is “Whatever you want to do, dare to begin it.”
My Tip 6 came out of the Q&A during the live hour with Laura - it was actually when she paused for a sip of water and disappeared on us all. Mary, Ernest and Octavia especially helped me with their comments.
Octavia suggested I used a photo of myself as Ira, which demonstated a different side of my personality, for example hair lose rather than up, different type of clothing and pose, and so on.
This has inspired me to want to actually develop Ira Phillips' character in this way, which I am going to need to do for the website, facebook and Twitter etc. I think that keeping her close to my own experiences and persona is going to work out more easily than developing a whole new person and it'll be fun. Ira is a pen name I've had since I was 15 so she already has a history.
Deadline: May 24th
6 & 7. Tip 6 - Media Kit & Tip 19: Twitter
Not only do I need to begin creating this, but I firstly I must set up an email account, web page and social media sites under my pen-name.
This is very outside of my comfort zone as I'm very private, hate bothering people and distrust facebook - I currently use this to check out potential tenants and cannot ascertain why anyone would post so many personal details and boast about excessive alcohol consumption. This sure helps me to reject lots of applicants and potential tenants!
Very fortunately, I have been offered assistance in the form of a swap by two acquaintances. I intend to explore this further and look at examples of their work. One is a website designer, the other a journalist and blogger. I'll also look at other author's websites as recommended including Catherine Ryan's.
I am not currently signed up with social media at all due to the confidentiality issue previously mentioned on the Q & A regarding my therapy business. Therefore, this is all very new to me and a lot to fathom out - especially twitter. I cannot understand how people find the time to tweet but I'm determined to get there and use this to my advantage. It'll be fun to create some depth to Ira's background!
Deadline = June 1st but also ongoing.
8. Tip 21 - Easy Tips
Whilst doing the above, adding a URL to Ira's email shouldn't be too difficult although it'll involve me searching out how to physically do this, so who knows it may bamboozle me and take me far longer than imagined!
Deadline = June 1st
9. Tip 11 - Get Reviews
I have 3 beta readers who I will approach for reviews prior to publication, someone who proof-read my Scottish terms and my copy-editor who promised me a review. I will make sure to add the request for reviews and a link to a sign-up form to the end of my book before publishing. I thought Ernest's comment suggesting a free short story, as a giveaway was a good one.
I am happy to swap books with anyone in this class for me to review theirs and them mine. I am used to solicitating reviews for two of my other businesses and usually do well with them. I do have a list of email contacts prepared for an announcement for when I publish the book so I will follow these up for reviews.
Today, I heard of a self-published local author, struggling with sales (who needs to do this course) and intend to approach her for a swap of books and reviews.
I loved the advice concerning how to handle negative reviews and intend to search some of those out.
My aim is for at least 6-8 reviews prior to publication. I also plan to check out Good reads and Library thing and prepare a short piece for author central.
Deadline for these = June 1st
10. Tip 18 - Taglines
I love "Heart, humour & happily ever after" and want to create something similar. Funnily enough my daughter is covering television advertising this week at school and has taglines as part of her homework so we intend to work on this together.
Deadline (same as her's!) = May 3rd
11. Tip 21 - Easy Tips
DON'T DO THE THINGS YOU DON'T ENJOY
This is something I need to apply more thoughtfully to my life, not just my book promotion. Ira, being more kind to herself than I am, already embraces this concept fully!
And there it is - a finished, workable plan. Thank you so much Laura for all these tips and classmates for their helpful ideas and supportive comments. Is there a way we can stay in touch or maybe feedback in 3 months time?
And an afterthought - as Ira doesn't yet have her website up or her novel published, if anyone would like the first two chapters to read to see if this novel is something they'd enjoy reading and reviewing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get Ira to send it out.