Conversations: 9/16/2016


It’s Time to Think About adding the Frosting!

cake with frosting

Just last week I went to a writers’ workshop and within the first two minutes of the speaker’s presentation she said, “From the minute you sit down to begin your first book, you need to be thinking about marketing.” OH, my! I printed my first book in 2004, self-published my second book in 2015, and have a good start on book number three. With the help of several very creative friends, I’ve dipped my toes into the marketing river, but it’s not a comfortable place for me. I really don’t know many writers who are (honestly) comfortable wearing marketing shoes.

So, today, I’m encouraging every writer I know to think about the book you’re beginning—or about to finish—as if it were a delicious cake just waiting to be tasted and enjoyed. If it were sitting in the bakery with no frosting covering it, how many people would buy it? All the other frosted and decorated cakes would appeal to buyers first. Your cake/book would sit there for a long time—maybe not be selected at all.

If you’re a self-published author you may be familiar with the concept of “optional assistance” publishing companies offer to help launch our books into the world. One such option for most of my clients has been the Professionally Designed Book Cover. This is really the frosting-on-the-cake! I remember working with a client who knew the image she wanted to present on her book cover. We spent hours discussing it. She wanted to have it ready to submit with the manuscript, and did not want to add the expense of using the publisher’s Designer. So, she had me “spend” hours researching potential images—multiple illustrations—and finally selected two possibilities. When her manuscript was sent in, with the cover images, the Designer showed her the two she’d selected. He also showed her a proposed option—his interpretation of what she wanted. WOW! That book cover “popped!” It was immediately clear to both of us that when her book was placed on a shelf, it would be quickly noticed.

We both learned a valuable lesson that day—to consider what the publisher can offer us in the areas where we are weak. Our time is a valuable commodity, as is our brain-power which we need to begin the next book(s). If we need editing assistance (see last week’s blog), marketing inspiration or help with developing a video trailer that will catch the attention of today’s Readers who search the Internet before making the book-purchase selections, then that’s what we must do.

Even if you have a contract with a traditional publisher, you may need to seek out assistance in the marketing arena. These publishing houses may introduce the book and give authors a nudge into the world of book-promotion, but they rarely offer additional help beyond that. Their book will go out of print after only a few years if the sales don’t keep it alive.  (This is not the case with self-publishing companies. For a very modest yearly “storage fee” your book will be available as long as you want it to be.)

So it is that I encourage you to build up that layer of frosting/visibility as thick as you can for the book you’ve worked so hard to deliver. ⚓︎


ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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