Thursday, October 04, 2007

Of Googlegangers, Cute Promo, and a Couple More Contests

So a few days ago, Marianne mentioned Googlegangers, which got me to thinking...

I chose my pen name, about a year ago, because there was no other "Allie Boniface" out there. And as of right now, there still isn't. I'm the only one! But my given name? Let's see...I have many Googlegangers, including a minister, Scottish author, professional photographer, "life coach," psychology professor, and advice columnist.

Might be interesting to get us all into a room together, hmm?


A couple of neat writing contests that I thought I'd mention here:

The Reader Views Annual Literary Award - This one is open to authors published by small presses OR self-published. Looks as though there are a wide range of awards being given, by some really prestigious sponsors, so make sure to check this one out.

Hook, Line, and Sinker - This one is run by my local RWA chapter, and it's a nice contest because you only enter the first 3 pages of your manuscript AND it only costs $10. Plus Brenda Chin of Harlequin is the final editor, and word is she often requests full manuscripts from the finalists she reads. First prize is $50.00!!


And in other interesting news, one of my publishers posted this on a loop, earlier this week:

"I attended the Central Ohio Fiction Writers Conference this past
weekend. Thank you to these wonderful authors for having me and
allowing me to listen to so many pitches from some really fabulous
writers. These ladies were gracious and kind and oh so much fun.
Lori Foster is a member of their chapter and very active. She gave
the keynote speech and was just a pleasure to speak with time and
time again.

I came back from the conference with a couple things to share with
all of you and one is about promotional items. Those little things
we spend our money and time on to promote our books. Things like
bookmarks, charms, pens, or sticky notes, etc.

Lori Foster remarked in her keynote and also in a side conversation
with me that she doesn't understand why authors spend so much time
and money on cutesy promotional items. She said that 99% of the
stuff is going to be tossed away as soon as we get home from the
conference and if we do end up keeping anything out of the goody
bags, it would be something we'd use, but even then, would never
matter to us what author had her name on it.

She was right. Back in my room, I tossed out everything that I'd
collected except for two things; one was a tiny stuffed animal that I
gave to my son when I got home and the other was a keyring with a
horse on it. I kept the keyring merely because I have a thing for
horses. I will never visit the author's web site or buy her book
simply because of this keyring.

Think about that next time you are doing a booksigning or going to a
conference. I think that as a publishing house, the items we put out
in the goody rooms, etc. have a good chance of driving folks to the
web site because we are promoting something entirely different than
one author's book.

Lori remarked that what is important is possibly having an item at
your table when you are doing a booksigning to draw peoplet to your
table. For example, one author had a funny stuffed dog that everyone
wanted to touch. It drew people to her table where she could talk
about her book and why she had the dog there, etc. I would think
something gimmicky like that, that you cuold use time and time again,
makes more sense than a stack of bookmarks that will simply wind up
in the trash.

The other thing to come out of the conference was the editor at
Berkley as well as the owner of Samhain and the agent from Three Seas
all said your web site is your most critical promotional item. All
the editors there said that when someone submits to them, if they are
interested, they immediately check out the author's web site. If its
outdated by more than a year or its obviously not kept up, it makes
an impression. The web site doesn't have to be expensive but it
shouldn't be one of those freebies that has pop-up ads and other
annoying features.

So that's my big tip. Skip the money you spend on little
cutesy things and spend the money and time on your web site. It'll
get you farther in the long run."

Hmm. I've got to say, I agree to a certain extent. I mean, how many times have you bought a book because of a pen or a bookmark you picked up on a goodie table? I don't think I ever have. What does make me buy a book? Word of mouth or reviews. Now, I'm sure those bookmarks and pens do help with name recognition (what is it, like 7 times that someone has to see your name before they remember it??), but how much time and $$ do you want to spend on those things, when you could be writing instead?

I'm going to think long and hard before I spend a lot more money on promotional things. I'm curious - what do you think??


Mel said...

I'm a nerd. I keep the bookmarks, and pens. But do I really look at the name? No. I say what makes me buy the book is the author's persona. If I get to meet them and like them then I'm sure to buy their book to see if they write likeable characters. If I read their blog and it makes me laugh, keeps me interested, keeps me going back to read more, then I go buy their book.

The website is also very important. If I go check out their website to find out more things about them and read "Spring is here" and it's almost Christmas time and they don't live in Australia then I usually rely on the blog if they have one. If they don't then that's a wrap. Harsh I know, but to me if the author doesn't have the time to update at least their book page and welcome page then I become suspect of how they feel about their readers.

Mom said...

I select books to read by:

1. reading book reviews
2. following recommendations of my sister and daughter, both voracious readers
3. returning to authors I have enjoyed in the past

Bookmarks and pens would probably not send me to search out a particular author, but then I'm from a different generation!

Marianne Arkins said...

I've been known to look someone up because of their promo stuff, but it won't make me buy their books. I rely mostly on word-of-mouth (word of blog?). With the exception of already fave authors, every book I've read or bought lately has been because someone recommended it to me.

Still, I imagine I'll get myself some bookmarks at the very least when my novel (Yes, I still love to say that) is released in early 2008. Also with some other goodies Judy... er... my publicist thinks I should buy. *G*