Sunday, June 10, 2007


Good meeting! I didn't get too, too much out of the humor workshop, but it was definitely interesting. She had a few good tips, including a suggestion to plan a rewrite for your characters to 'flush them out with humor'. Julia London herself does three passes. Once for the hero/heroine. Once for the secondary characters. And a third time for the romance plot. She then gave us a handout with a basic paragraph. We were supposed to rewrite it and add wit (finding the humor in people), then repeat and add satire (finding humor in life or the world), and once again to add humor (poking fun at yourself). I didn't catch whose definitions those were. Some interesting results.

Disclaimer: Julia London was speaking very quickly for the duration of the second workshop, and I did my best to capture the info as accurately as possible. If something here is incorrect, it was unintentional.

The second workshop was really sort of fascinating, if inconclusive. She had polled eleven best-selling romance authors (all but one NY Times) as to what sort of promotion techniques they had used and what they'd found to be successful. She covered printed materials, the Internet, public events, publicists, PA's, etc.

Some of the info came as no surprise. Pretty much everyone felt that websites were the best tool an author can have, and that they should be updated regularly with new, fresh content. Ooops. It's just that I don't have much going on as an 'author'. That's why I have my blog.

Bookmarks and postcards were sort of a mixed bag as were newsletters. Pretty much it was personal preference. Some authors did each and felt strongly about it. Julia London did a virtual blogging tour and felt that it was a tremendous promotional opportunity but too exhausting to repeat regularly. She had also recently done a book trailer relatively inexpensively and had found that her site hits doubled in a month long (or some such) period. Plus, both her publisher and Waldenbooks posted the trailer. Booksignings were essentially billed as a necessary evil, paid ads were encouraged, particularly in Romantic Times Bookclub if you or your publisher can afford it, and if not, Romance Sells was touted as a very reasonable alternative.

Mollie Smith, who is Jenny Crusie's 'Girl Friday', suggested a 'cross-contest', whereby you find someone who is writing on your level, in the same genre, and host a contest with each other's book as the giveaway. This builds your mailing list and potentially builds readership by luring in targeted readers. Also suggested was that you ask your publisher what they can do for you, because whatever you do is a drop in the bucket compared with what they can do if they're really behind your book.

Hope that helps! Thank you Julia London (and all you best-selling authors that participated in the survey)!


Amanda Brice said...

Sounds like a great meeting!

Stacy said...

What exactly is a book trailer?

Vicki said...

We did this at our meeting a few months ago and it was great. It was one of the reasons I started my blog.

As always, love, love, love to come read yours. (Did I sound just a bit like Paula there) :)

susanhatler said...

Lots of good info. Thanks, Alyssa!

Sara Hantz said...

Great post, Alyssa!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

A book trailer is like a little mini-video preview for your book. Julia London's is here

Ava Rose Johnson said...

That sounds interesting, I've always wondered which promotional materials work best. I thnk a blog is very important as you can interact with your readers.
Newsletters, I think, are overrated. I, for one, never bother reading them when I recwive them.

Christine said...

I did my own book trailer and got a pretty good response. One of these days I'd like to get a more professional one done.

Some great advice here Alyssa.

ERiCA said...

Ooh, I love the cross-contest idea. Brilliant!

Lara Croft said...

Thanks for sharing! All good tips and things to think about. I just read about a woman who started speaking at book clubs and was able to create quite a stir about her book. It gave the readers the chance to meet the author in person and interact. Now she does it all over the country. LC