Please welcome Kim Wright as our guest today. Kim is the author of Last Ride to Graceland, The Canterbury Sisters, The Unexpected Waltz (all Gallery Books), and Love in Mid Air (Grand Central), as well as seven books of nonfiction and the historical series City of Mystery. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Like, I suspect, most writers, figuring out how to promote and market my books has been an ongoing struggle. How much social media is too much? Is there a way to make book tours more palatable? What works and what’s a complete waste of time and money? When I fell into the Authors Out of Carolina group, which is the brainchild of a group of longtime friends, it seemed to offer a fresh new way to look at the marketing angle, and I wanted to share our experiences with other writers.
Authors Out of Carolina (or Anywhere Else, for That Matter)
Like most writers, I have a lot of friends who are writers. And, also like most writers, I have a knee-jerk reaction to the very idea of using my friends. But lately I’ve been rethinking the assumption that it’s somehow morally wrong to base your marketing plans around your personal relationships. Here’s why.
Through a strange piece of serendipity, four members of my local writing group have books coming out this summer: Last Ride to Graceland by me; The Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Callaway; The Last Treasure by Erika Marks; and The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Whalen. We all have different publishers and thus different publicists, but we decided to pool our efforts, starting with a joint launch party.
We’re renting a nearby Victorian house and each theming a room to our novel, complete with snack. (In honor of my book’s Elvis connection, I’m doing banana and peanut butter Hunka Hunka Burning Love milkshakes.) We decided to call it a salon and invite everyone in town—Friends of the Library, book clubs, the historical society, retirement centers, and of course our own family and friends.
Advantages of the joint launch:
- It’s kind of a no-brainer that four writers can draw a bigger crowd than one. And people coming in for Erika might end up buying Joy’s book as well.
- Four themed rooms are more festive, and we’ll always have at least one writer reading in the gazebo.
- By turning the launch into a community event rather than a private function, we got a discounted rate on the rental, which we were furthermore able to split four ways. We can promote the event to local media with the “ick” factor reduced. It’s no longer about “Buy my book” but more about “Let’s celebrate local authors.” (And yeah, while you’re celebrating, you might also want to buy my book.)