Like the little engine who could, the publicity machine is rolling

It’s odd. From a quiet role, listening, evaluating and estimating costs, I’ve had more pictures taken in the past couple weeks than in years. I’m being told that people want to see and hear authors, the better to get a feeling for the person behind the words. It makes sense.

It’s one of the aspects of social media that Peter considers now that he participates on Facebook. He asks himself daily – what am I doing today that would be interesting to my friends? And he makes a point to schedule a “photo opp” for a regular post.

Now that he is reading posts daily, he has strong opinions about what makes up a good post. He strives to avoid wishful thinking. He’ll share posts that he finds amusing or inspirational. But mostly he’s looking for photos from his life that might be interesting.

So with his tutelage, I’m beginning to look for fun shots – like me with a sabre toothed cat from the Museum of Natural History. Not here. Not yet. I have some technical mastery to achieve first.

The first interviews are in the pipeline – an Internet radio interview aired and is archived on and we shot an “author video.” Balboa’s video vendors provided services for this first venture. It was all relatively painless. The area around my office served as a location and I just answered questions. I’m looking forward to receiving the cut. While the author video is being edited, my plan for this week is to review a strategic plan for promoting the book.

Peter and I have never used a publicist for his books. Perhaps we should have. Publicists have the connections to get press releases out, provide an extra pair of hands to drive stories to others and, quite honestly, they are probably better at it than we are. Plus I know that there are too few hours in the day for me to do this alone. That’s why I made the decision to hire a publicist.

For the television show, we have the benefit of higher visibility and a handful of people to promote the show every day. We have grown enough that our post on Facebook have been seen by over a million viewers. Even with visible growth from when we started, we are happy when the show is picked up by some media organization for a story, so I have measured expectations about what the response will be to my book. My hope is that people will get to know me through the publicity and then seek to continue a relationship over time.

As an author, part of my responsibility is to participate as much as possible. Facebook is reasonably easy. It reaches a greater number of people with only one message. And I am always surprised by how many people are following our activities even if they don’t respond regularly. Twitter isn’t bad either, although I don’t have a strong presence there. I use LinkedIn as well — so with only a few posts, I can reach quite a group of people.

But the name of the game is to tell as many people as possible about each event in conjunction with my book. That’s where email messages need to go out as well to reach friends and associates who are not connected to me via social media. At this stage, this is very time consuming. As I sat down to email friends about the interview, I was reminded why I want to hire an assistant to create the database for such things. I do not have a formal mailing list yet. The result is that I will have to write individual notes to each person I want to contact unless they give me permission to send news updates to them. You forget how tedious it is until you are under a deadline to get the word out before an air date or broadcast time. That was me last week, emailing friends until midnight, then up at six to get the word out to a few more people before the 8:00am air time on the West Coast.

In this case, I ran out of time. The downside is that far fewer friends learned of the air time for the interview than I would have liked, however, it was great to receive notes back from the folks who did respond. A few people took the time to listen to the interview, then call me and chat. Others sent notes which I was just as happy to read. There were several people I had not contacted in quite a while and I loved hearing from them. I asked a few people if they would review the book – so that others would have some other information than promotional material to make purchase decisions.

The plus side in today’s environment is that interviews for the digital marketplace are archived long term. So, even if I could not get the word out fast enough this weekend, I can continue to keep telling friends about the interviews, my new website and, of course, Rainbows Over Ruins.

I’m also being told that I will need to increase my You-Tube presence. Thankfully, I have a friend who will help me shoot a few in the beginning and help me get comfortable with setting up and recording short snippets, but that will be for another week.

All of this is the first stage of what is described as a 3 year process. Promotion takes time. We give it as much as we can carve out of our lifestyle demands and then figure out how to make more effective use of time. So far, I’m having fun.

May you find the things that give you the feeling of fun too.

To Your Success,

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