Getting the Most from Your Promotional Dollar: Part 1– Writing Implements

As writers, we soon learn that as hard as the actual writing seems to be at times, it is the easy part. Once you finish the manuscript, find a publisher–or decide to go it alone–and have the final product in your hands, THEN the hard part really begins.

You have to promote the book.

Promotion is by far the hardest, and potentially most expensive part of the writing process. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new book and go hog-wild trying to get the word out.

That enthusiasm can lead to this:

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That’s not all the promo stuff I have…and haven’t used.

I get great ideas. I get caught up in the moment. I am SURE I have found the next best thing that will make my books fly off the shelves. But let’s examine some of these things in more detail:

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See that bottom box? It is 2/3’s full of pens like this:

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The pen says in total:

Visit Rie Sheridan’s website
http://www.riewriter.com
Come share the fantasy!

 

Nice sentiment…though you can’t read it all at once. And…I bought those pens in…2002 maybe? What are the chances that they still all write?

Most of my recent work is Steampunk or horror. It isn’t that I don’t HAVE fantasy, but most of my canon can’t be effectively promoted that way.

A more useful promotional device would just have the first two lines.

Are these pens still useful? Maybe, but if I put them out, it should be after checking EACH one to make sure it still writes. What a time sink!

Three lessons learned here:

    1. Buy the smallest quantity you think you might use. Sure, you might get a price break if you buy 1000 pens. But if you still have them almost 15 years later, you bought too many.
    2. USE the promo items you buy. You don’t have to be sold on your work. OTHER people do. So don’t keep them hanging around.
    3. Be generic in your message if you are a multi-tasking author. Don’t pigeon-hole your work.

 

It gets worse when you get fancier with the pens. The Highlighter pens aren’t quite that old, but I doubt that all the highlighters still work, and the batteries for the flashlights go dead VERY quickly. If you aren’t going to use something like that almost immediately, there isn’t any point in them.

Of all the types of pens to buy, I recommend the plain stick pens. People will almost always pick up a pen–you can never have too many pens. A simple stick pen, or one of the plain click pens like my friend Kathryn Sullivan uses will keep your message in front of people on a daily basis.

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I use Kathy’s pens all the time. They write well and have a good ink.

For my Steampunk series, The Conn-Mann Chronicles, I decided to go even more old school, because it fits the period (1874). My promo for Jo and her friends is classic and practically indestructible. They will have an unlimited shelf-life…as long as the series does well.

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But, can anyone spot the flaw I just saw?

These are a great, long-lasting promotional item…that promotes the main website and not the series specific one that now exists, but didn’t when they were ordered… Ah, well.

When you are looking for writing utensils as promo items–and these are always a practical choice, as long as you keep the number down, because you can always use them around the house if nothing else…here are some websites to consider:

National Pen — this is where I got the stick pens.

Oriental Trading Company — great for pencils.

4imprint — where I got the Conn-Mann pencils.

All of these sites have other items available besides writing implements. We will get into the paper products next week. 🙂

 

 

 

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Making the Big Sale

Ghosts on Drugs

My first submission of the year has been accepted and paid for. It has been a really unique experience for  me, and I wanted to share it. 🙂

I saw the call for Ghosts on Drugs, and it sounded really fun. The premise is a simple one — each story must include at least one ghost on at least one drug.

I came up with a flash piece about 1400 words long that I really liked and sent it in.

The response was quick, friendly, and positive. And, in a very unique twist for me, the editor, Hy Bender, liked my story, but asked for edits BEFORE acceptance. It was intriguing.

We went back and forth three times before he sent it on to his co-editor, Will Paoletto, to look at.

Then, the waiting…luckily, not TOO long a wait. 😉

To get that email saying “We want it, where do we pay you?” was AMAZING!

I think this was the first time I’ve been paid on acceptance. 15 cents a word. Making this my biggest sale yet.

This is a great start for my goal of $5000 this year!

If you are a writer looking for a great place to submit–I highly recommend Ghosts on Drugs.

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What Do I Talk About Now…?

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The end of the insanity has left me a bit at odds. Yes, some days it was almost impossible to come up with a submission. But in the end, it always worked out, and I did it.

There were For the Love submissions, like the Haiku Universe offerings. (Great place to submit, by the way–even better place for your daily haiku fix.)

There were the “for the long haul” royalty submissions to Horrified Press.

Several flat fee submissions, like “Leaving the Tower” in Hides the Dark Tower.

My first editing foray into the world of anthologies with Avast Ye Airships!

Branching out on my songwriting with a sale to GriffinEd.

It was a great year.

But now, it is over. And I am a little at a loss for direction. It isn’t as if I don’t have many project irons in the fire… (Did you see the call for my next anthology Ghosts, Gears, and Grimoires?)

Still, I am feeling a little lost. My house is getting more organized. I actually cooked dinner the other night. I am trying to walk 30 minutes a day. But missing that extra frenzied urgency is weird…

Ah well, I am sure I will find some sort of mischief to get up to. 😉

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Ending and Beginning: The State of the Resolution Address

Those of you who read this blog regularly (Thank you!) have been following my saga of submittals for the past year. Some days, we weren’t any of us sure that I could meet my goal–but I did. Over 400 submissions for 2015. At least one a day. Those submissions ranged from haikus to a novel. Some were submitted multiple times before they found a home–I never said it would be a new submission every day–but most of them did eventually find their niche.

Total Stats:

Month Rejected Accepted Subs
Jan 11 7 33
Feb 9 3 29
Mar 20 23 39
Apr 13 11 32
May 17 15 38
Jun 20 13 31
Jul 16 18 38
Aug 20 19 37
Sep 17 9 30
Oct 13 19 34
Nov 11 16 30
Dec 14 3 32
Total 181 156 403

 

It took some searching to find numbers I had missed posting to the proper columns, but this now works out correctly, with 66 subs still out and not finalized carried over to the 2016 page for follow-ups in the coming week.

I don’t know if you are impressed, but I am…lol.

 

It was exhausting. And, though i saw an uptick in the income page, not particularly profitable. My greatest income by far came from CD royalties and editing.

This year, my husband has provided me with a new goal–$5,000 income. Steep, but I am now of the opinion that if I try hard enough, i can do anything. 🙂

I will be cutting my submission goal to one a week, so I can concentrate on writing more polished pieces of greater length for markets that stretch me as a writer. (I won’t neglect my favorites, but that is the official goal.)

I will consider taking on more freelance work, and doing more paid editing.

Plus, I am in the process of re-releasing my Conn-Mann Chronicles books, and finalizing guidelines for a new Steampunk anthology with Mocha Memoirs.

The year ahead should be exciting, and busy, but not as terrifying as trying to come up with that sub for the day. 😉

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Happy Holidays!

It’s Friday, so I am blogging, but it won’t be anything extensive, or witty today. Just a heart-felt wish that your upcoming year is filled with everything you wish for, and that I learn how to schedule posts next year. 😉

It would be awesome to have it post for me on days when it is hard to get to the keys on the correct day. You ever have that problem?

Still the To-Do list is working. Some days I look at all those check boxes and sigh, but they are all done by the end of the day. And I am NEVER that organized. 🙂

If you have an Android phone (apparently, it isn’t available for Apple) I highly recommend the Splend Apps To-Do List. Not saying it couldn’t be improved, but definitely the best one I’ve tried.

Anyway, that’s enough for me to check this off the list today. I hope you have a great day with your family and friends. I plan to.

 

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I Find This Fascinating…

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I promised more pictures from Galveston, but this struck me as something I wanted to talk about more. After all, the pictures will still be here next week, or the week after…

So, last Saturday, there was a special showing of Mary Poppins on TV. I recorded it and watched it on Monday.  I was incredibly impressed how well it held up. I sang along with most of the numbers, and rediscovered some that I had totally forgotten about.

It got me thinking about the recent Saving Mr. Banks. I wanted to see the story of the movie getting made. I’d never seen it, and I hadn’t read a lot about P. L. Travers, though I knew a bit about her life. So, I watched this film immediately after Mary Poppins. I was amazed how different the film the fictional version of the author wanted was from the final version.

It made me wonder what the original book was like. I started reading it Monday night. I haven’t gotten terribly far in the novel, but it is substantially different. I also have copies of The Real Life Mary Poppins: The Life and Times of P.L. Travers and Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers in my queue, because I want to see how accurate the portrayal of Travers was according to her biographers.

Am I obsessing? Is this a trip down the rabbit hole–or maybe up the chimney? 😉

I think it is a good example of how interesting following a research thread can be. 🙂

It’s also an interesting tale of how a writer’s work can wind up totally different than their vision if they are ever lucky enough to get that “Big Hollywood Break.” This is something that every writer needs to be aware of. (Though I’d still love to have to worry about it…)

 

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Promised Pictures from Dickens on the Strand

I said in last week’s post that I would be posting pictures from last weekend’s trip to Dickens on the Strand. We didn’t stay too long at the event, what with bad boots and tired child…but we had fun, and there were some wonderful sights to see!

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We dressed up Saturday morning and headed for the Strand, but needed to stop for some supplies on the way. Like something to carry my things in. That turned out to be a great little basket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We split into two different lines to see if it moved any faster. Jamison and Lauren discussing the doll Grace and the parasol…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nurse waiting in line.

Love the detail.

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Beautiful costumes were everywhere.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the street performers

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Suffragette City!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20151205_135012[1] Little Lolita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Absolutely gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My favorite hypnotist!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This skirt is some of the dual color fabric that I just love. I can so see Jo in this material…20151205_130300_001[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bobby and his Sergeant

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A doctor and his nurse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tired child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steampunk beauty.20151205_123347[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truly Dickensian family of Beggars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bobby stand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Punch and Judy show. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20151205_113450[1]My favorite part of the event!

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Loved this girl’s outfit. I can so see Jo wearing this in green. Practical and pretty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adorable child. She didn’t like to have her picture taken, but I caught her when she was distracted. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chimney sweeps
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He made Sunny’s vest for

Into the Badlands!

One of the talented members of Airship Isabella — I am a major fan girl.

I had to buy one of his handmade journals…

Their official website is here.

 

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One of the many Penny Farthings to be found.

This was the biggest one, for sure!

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Jo definitely needs one of these cycling costumes!

So much more practical than trying to fly in a fancy dress…

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My friends Glenda Jordan and Annie Walton dressed for fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the Dickens part of the day. 🙂 Next week, I will show you some of the evening’s entertainment at the Pleasure Pier.  😉

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