As is usual for my blog (and, let’s face it, my personality), I’m jumping around from subject to subject – history, animals, TV, Amazon, woo hoo! This post is for the fiction writers among you, mainly self published but also traditionally published.
Story Grid Me, Baby
For a few years now I’ve been in a wonderful, amazing, transformative, insert-over-the-top-praise-here writer’s group whose goal is to look at our stories from a structural viewpoint using ex-New York editor of bestselling novels Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid principles. Coyne’s system is helpful when it comes to figuring out the major elements necessary in a story to make it “work.” And his ideas about genres’ obligatory scenes and conventions are just as revolutionary. While I think Coyne’s information is very helpful, it does go into too many details for me. When he says to list every story scene on a spreadsheet and graph it out my eyes glaze over. Gimme simple, please. I need simple. (Along those lines, a fellow writer turned me on to the 8 point story arc method, which I’ve been using with success.)
To learn more, you can buy Coyne’s book Story Grid or attend his pricey seminars, or you can read a bunch of articles on his site and listen to his podcasts and find out pretty much everything you need to know, though you will need to take said seminars if you want to become a certified editor yourself and work with clients.
No, Book Launch Me Instead!
The reason I bring Coyne up is that his marketer extraordinaire, Tim Grahl, interviewed him for a gazillion episodes of the Story Grid podcast while trying to finish his novel. Grahl, a marketer who has engineered bestselling book launches, also started a podcast called The Book Launch Show. Grahl pretty much does the same thing as Coyne did for the Story Grid podcast with the Book Launch Show: it teaches you what you need to know to launch your book successfully if you don’t want to buy his book Your First 1,000 Copies or pay for his pricey seminars in which you become a certified book launch coach.
So, that long-winded explanation aside, the Book Launch podcast provides much invaluable book marketing advice. I’ve been listening regularly since a writer named Valerie Francis (also a Story Grid Editor) came on the show to walk through her particular marketing challenges with Grahl as her mentor. That series begins on 11/20/2018 with Where do we start? The whole series is very informative, but one episode in particular has really hit it out of the park as far as I’m concerned: episode 44, The Magic Number. In it, you’ll learn:
- why selling 1,000 copies is an important milestone in your writing career
- average sales figures for an independently published AND traditionally published book during its first year
- an actual plan for assessing the success of your marketing endeavors
- why publishing your books is a long term game, with specifics
- why authors fail at this long term game
- why blog articles that have titles like “119 Ideas for How to Promote Your Book!” are a bunch of crap.
- how to evaluate your marketing progress in a low-stress, easy way
The entire series is highly recommended, but this particular episode provides information in a manner that makes sense, is totally doable, and does not involve losing your mind over marketing.
Give it a shot! And let me know what you think. This marketing thing is a multi-headed beast and most of us writers need all the help we can get.