This post comes from NHWN guest writer, Deborah Lee Luskin.
When White River Press offered to bring out my novel, Into The Wilderness, I was too thrilled and too naïve to understand fully what the offer involved: White River would produce the book; marketing would be up to me. My publisher provided me with a template of the cover art with which to make postcards and suggested I read Guerilla Marketing. After that, I was on my own.
My first move was to launch a website, which would be my calling card to the world. Because I hope that Into The Wilderness is the first of many novels, and because I’m also a public speaker, a commentator on Vermont Public Radio, a teacher and a pen-for-hire, I used the opportunity to make the site as all-encompassing as I could. In the freelance world of self-employment, I wanted the site to pull in any interesting jobs that floated through its orbit.
The website took about five months to develop. I was lucky to be able to work with a friend who was just expanding her graphic design business to include web design, so she gave me a bargain price in return for honing her skills on my site. We had a lot of fun working together, and we’re both immensely pleased with the results.
The website is the keystone of my marketing plan. To develop it, I researched other writers’ sites to learn what I liked; then I wrote and rewrote my content until it was spare and informative.
The site has served me well: It offers readers a place to buy my book, learn more about Into The Wilderness, my other published work, my teaching experience, and me. I send people to the site to find reviews, information, and templates for press releases, photos and posters. Many of the people who have sponsored author events for me have thanked me for these tools, and many of my readers have used the Contact page to email me heart-warming notes, telling me how much they have loved the book and my characters, Percy and Rose.
The website is linked to my Facebook Fan Page for Into The Wilderness. Some readers have clicked through to my main Facebook page as well. At this point, I don’t have a blog and I don’t use Twitter, but I do use Facebook a great deal. Through Facebook, I’ve discovered reviewers and reading groups, and I’ve kept news about Into The Wilderness front and center among my Facebook Friends. To my amazement, I’ve discovered that there are people who “follow” me, which is flattering and alarming and at the end of the day helps keep Into The Wilderness on their minds, so that these friends and readers keep mentioning the book to their friends, who are potential readers and fans.
Because I have limited capacity for sitting in front of my computer, I try to write first and market second. During the first six months following my book launch, this was impossible, and I lived and breathed marketing, using the internet to find venues that would review the book and venues that would host author events. In the process, I’ve stumbled upon sites where I’ve been invited to write guest blogs (like this one), which suits both my personality and my goals for connecting with readers and writers.
There may come a time when I regularly blog, tweet and text. For now, I’m pleased to have learned how to use a few of the internet’s many tools well and still remain centered and sane, with energy to spare for my prose.
About the Author: Deborah Lee Luskin is the author of Into The Wilderness, “a fiercely intelligent love story” between two 64-year-olds, set in Vermont in 1964. Luskin is a regular Commentator on Vermont Public Radio, an editorial columnist, and a free-lance writer. In addition, Luskin teachers literature and writing in prisons, hospitals and libraries; she holds a PhD in English Literature from Columbia University. Learn more at her website: www.deborahleeluskin.com