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Friday, June 20, 2008

Western Writers of America Conference - Conclusion

Sorry to take so long since my last post on the 15th. I had no rest time from the end of the conference to the conclusion of the work week and I’ve been beat!

I’d like to conclude my posts on the 2008 WWA conference with info I gleaned on marketing and screenwriting. Most of the marketing tips were shared during the marketing panel, others I gleaned from other attendees or thought about myself.

How To Market Your Books:

· Arts and craft shows are great places to market your books. People come there to spend money.
· Gun & Knife shows can be good avenue as well (more for westerns specifically but may apply to other genres. Wonder if the horror writers use this avenue to market their books? 8-)
· Authors must have websites, blogs and video trailers – electronic presence essential
· A local independent book store here in AZ hosts 300 events a year (they don’t call them book signings)
· The independent book store recommends imprinted book bags rather then bookmarks. Bookmarks not very useful because not enough display space for them
· Find something you’re an authority on and build your platform. Use economy of force and principle of concentration
· I wondered if you can do book signings at Walmart?
· Book signings not very profitable but good PR
· Do press releases via email with newspapers, attach a jpg of your book cover and your mug shot.
· Your Website = Internet Business Card
· Amazon Affiliates Program – if you drive a customer from your site to the Amazon link to purchase the book, you get a small dollar return
· Do links on your website (though I confess I didn’t catch why this was important)
· Do local radio
· Do local public TV
· Do newspaper (both local and pertinent others)
· Utilize libraries for marketing
· Civic Groups
· Little Red Marketplace (I have no idea what this is but wrote it down anyway)
· Independent Bookstores a good source
· Schools
· Book clubs
· Book fairs
· Workshops
· Genealogical societies
· State & National Parks and Monuments (for state or national park send reading copy to their concession to see if they’ll carry the book)
· Local tourist stores
· Military sites/re-enactors
· Bed & Breakfasts
· Dude Ranches
· Pair up with an author. One of AZ’s local independent book sellers no longer does single-author events. Find another author and work up a program. They want programs to make it worth the customer’s while to burn the gas to come.
· Homeowners Associations are like a giant book club
· You shouldn’t just think about one book but your overall brand
· If you’re going to stop at a bookstore to sign stock, give the store advance notice so they can be sure and have copies in stock.
· I extrapolated from this conference that’s its wise to write a lot so you can take advantage of different opportunities whenever they present themselves.
· Sell your books on Ebay

Screenwriting Panel:
· Debate among the panelists – some felt if you have an interesting character the plot will come. Conversely, others felt that if you have a good strong plot the characters will come. (In other words, do whatever works!)
· This applies to those who write non-fiction history, or screenplays based on history: It is not our job to present 21st century worldview but to present the times as they were
· Don’t use research as a crutch. WRITE! (Gulp!)
· Write a lot
· Stay healthy
· It’s a lot tougher these days if you’re “just” a screenwriter. You’re better off being a writer/producer etc. You need to be able to give them a visual calling card. Write something and film it so you can get it in front of someone.
· Use for posting your work

Great conference. Very informative. Next year’s event will be in Oklahoma City. I can’t wait! I visited Oklahoma City for the first time 2 years ago. While it’s too flat geographically for my liking, I found Oklahomans to be the nicest people, and I loved the Cowboy Hall of Fame too. Looking forward to visiting again, including visiting the folks at Crowne Point Baptist Church as well.

That’s it for the WWA report. Now, to quote one of the many pieces of sage advice I received last week –


1 comment:

Patti Shene said...

Brenda, thanks for the wonderful report! I may have to seriously consider that OK City WWA conference next year!