When I opened the e-mail, I wasn’t sure how to react. I’d used the Audio Name Pronounciations on TeachingBooks.net to help students learn the names of their favorite authors. Once you hear some of them, you never forget how to say them. Scieszka rhymes with Fresca.
But why would they contact me? Sue Bradford Edwards. That’s pretty straightforward.
They has provided me with several links so I listened to Neil Gaiman explain his pronounciation and the origin of his family name. Maya Angelou explains how she got the name Maya which isn’t her given name.
Stories. Hmm. I can tell a story. And, like much of what I write, this would be nonfiction. I’m good at that.
It took me about a week to decide on a story. Then I wrote it out and rehearsed. When I could read it through out loud without stumbling, I called the handy dandy phone number and recorded my message. You can hear it here.
It would have been easy to just let this opportunity slide. After all, my name is easy to pronounce so I don’t think that teachers are going to look hither and yon for how to say my name. But as I poked around the site, I discovered that each author has a page. The page includes links to their website and blog and at least one of their books. Otherwise, it is a great place for teachers to look for author information but also a “safe place” for young readers.
And now I’m a part of it. What might be the most fun? I can share this recording far and wide. That means that I have an interesting little tidbit that I can share with people who are interested in me and my writing. Now, I have to figure out how to imbed it in my web site…
Right after Christmas, I co-hosted a Blog Talk Radio spot with my writing buddy Lori Strawn. It is archived here, so pop on over and give it a listen when you have 15 minutes. The topic is the poem Noel by Anne Porter as well as Christmas music and how it effects us.
Blog Talk Radio shows are one of the ways that you can publicize your work and I would highly recommend it. You call in to the correct phone number and chat away. No special equipment needed. The only down side is that cell phones and Skype are not reliable ways to link up.
Still, this is something I may be doing again in the not so distant future.
Marketing budgets may not be what they once where but there is something you, the author, can do about it. Bring your talents into the equation and get out there and publicize your book.
I mean it.
You don’t have to do public speaking and school visits although they can help. Any skill that you have should be brought to the table. “Tell us everything you can do,” said Atheneum’s Namrata Tripathi.
The author for Nevermore, Kelly Creagh, was the engine behind a website, bookmarks, temporary tattoos and a song that she wrote and Atheneum recorded. The site alone is so awesome that Borders doubled their order after visiting it.
And don’t overlook a web presence. A blog and a site and time spent engaged in various social media can help build a fan base who will purchase your book as well as telling others about it.
But do not be the author that cannot be trusted out of your editor or agent’s sight. One author tweeted negatively about the publishing industry, griping about how long editors took to respond and stating that such laziness would not be tolerated in any other industry. Bad, bad judgement. Her ms was on the desk of at least one editor who returned it to her agent immediately.
Publishers are still willing to publicize your book but you need to help. Why whine about how things used to be? This is the publishing world of today. Take advantage of the many opportunities it offers and an editor or agent will see you as an asset.
(Again, this was compiled from comments made throughout the day and the information is from multiple sources including Tripathi and Ogden.)