photo by macropoulos

Back in December we received a note from author Kim Boykin, whose debut novel The Wisdom of Hair was set to release in March. We book WU guest slots far in advance, and had to let her know that we would’t be able to offer anything in March, however something Kim said to us sparked another idea. She spent a good deal of her own money on promotional opportunities offered through the Brenda Novak Auction last year–opportunities that have and will help her to market The Wisdom of Hair. The Brenda Novak auction, which raises money for diabetes research and has become very popular among all in the writing community, was kicking off again in May. Maybe there would be an opportunity to talk about it then?

Absolutely.

Said Kim:

I believe writers make a difference just by telling stories. Winning the right item for your writing on Brenda Novak’s Auction For Diabetes Research can go a long way toward advancing your publishing career AND go a long way towards saving lives.

Last year, Kim came away with many useful wins, including an AUTHORBUZZ Package from Author M.J. Rose and more. (She’ll tell you more about them below.) Wonderful buys, and it’s a win-win-win for Kim as the cause hits close to home. She said:

Both of my husbands parents are diabetic and my grandmother was too. Brenda Novak’s son is 15 and insulin dependent, it’s a cause close to many hearts.”

You can learn more about Kim and The Wisdom of Hair on her website and blog, and by following her on Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy, and bid, WU’ers; this is a great cause.

Doubling Down

Recently, I told a group of aspiring authors that there’s never been a better time to be a writer, and it’s true. Even with traditional publishers still trying to figure out the industry and Amazon’s continued march toward domination, I believe this is the best time in the history of storytelling to get your story out.

As a novelist, I thought nabbing a publishing contract would be the hardest part of the process. I was wrong. Whether it’s your first or your fifty-first, getting your book noticed today is like meeting a blind date at a massive cocktail party in the middle of Times Square and telling him to look for the girl in the little black dress.

So, what’s a traditionally published or self-published author to do? Coming from a marketing background, I looked for ways to maximize the advertising and promotions budget I set for myself and found bestselling author Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction For Diabetes Research.

Not long after Brenda found out her five-year-old son had juvenile diabetes, she wanted to do something to help eradicate the 5th deadliest killer. So she started an online auction to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute that lasts the entire month of May. What in the heck does this have to do with selling books? Well a lot actually. While Brenda’s auction offers things like designer handbags, once in a lifetime trips, and Celine Dion meet and greet and concert tickets, she also offers things to help market your book and better define your brand as a writer.

You don’t have a published book? No worries, bestselling authors and top shelf agents and editors have donated their services to help you out. You can win one of a multitude of creative offerings like having Laura Bradford as your agent for a day, to full manuscripts and/or query critiques with amazingly fast turnaround times.

Boykin is a new voice in southern women’s fiction, and her strong, flawed female characters should appeal to fans of Dorothea Benton Frank and Karen White, and those who enjoy stories about “the bond of sisterhood and friendship that overrides all things” — Booklist Review

Last year, I spent my small advance and walked away with some amazing stuff. Just to list a few: a customized media consult from PR wizard Pierce Mattie of Pierce Mattie Public Relations. I was a guest blogger on Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book at Publishers Weekly.com and won advertising on Author Buzz and Romance Junkies. AND I have a fabulous new website by Cyndi Papia at Office To-Go.com. In all I tripled the money I spent, and the best part is every dime went towards finding a cure for diabetes.

Twenty years ago, I could count on one finger the people I knew with diabetes. At 55, I’ve run out of digits because the reality is, diabetes effects 25.8 million men, women and children in the US alone. Closer to my heart, are my insulin dependent in-laws and my husband, who even after dropping some weight and exercising is borderline diabetic.

So if you plan to spend some money on yourself, whether it’s for a much needed vacation or a much needed boost to your writing career, I urge you to go to Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction For Diabetes Research website and spend your dollars there. Who knows, you might find out how to make your story sing or sell. And your dollars might just help find a cure.

Readers, you can view the book trailer for The Wisdom of Hair just below, and please click here to learn more about Brenda Novak’s auction. Write on!