“Promoting Yourself in This Day and Age”
Contributed by Wulf Moon
Day Eight’s theme featured “Promoting Yourself in This Day and Age.” The workshop’s start was set later, to 1:30 p.m. We’re certain this was in no way influenced by the afterparty that continued for some until 3:30 a.m. Really. Pure coincidence.
For the first time in the week, writers and artists gathered in a combined workshop, as promotion is vital in both the domain of the writer and the artist. Some of the highlights:
Owner of Kindlepreneur, Dave Chesson, addressed the group on social media and email lists. He said it takes five to seven digital handshakes before a reader or viewer will decide if they like what you create. Chesson said some creatives try to represent themselves on every social media platform they can find. He recommended picking one or two that you’re comfortable with and enjoy working in. “Don’t do them all,” was his advice.
Jody Lynn Nye spoke on elevator pitches, which are short 15-second pitches designed to be shared quickly when an editor asks about the novel you are writing, or when a consumer asks about your art. They’re short because if you’re on an elevator making the pitch, you have little time to get an editor interested in your story (or a consumer interested in your art). Nye stated the pitch should have two sentences maximum, but one sentence is best. Choose dynamic elements and include the name of the protagonist.
Emily Goodwin reviewed the marketing kit being provided to help writers and illustrators promote their work. This is a rolling suitcase given to each winner with their trophies, posters, bookmarks, and complimentary author copies packed inside. Winners are now loaded for bear … not that we saw any in L.A.
David Farland returned with sage advice on getting write-ups in local newspapers. He said there’s one story that always does well in local communities. “Local boy or girl does good.” He also recommended leading with your art in social media posts. A graphic is more attractive than a block of text with no pictures. A bonus to the winners is that many of the recent volumes have hit #1 in large categories like Science Fiction Anthology. He said when you sell a novel, it allows you to say #1 bestselling author in science fiction, and that readers pay attention to that. Another great bonus of winning this Contest!
A former winners’ presentation returned with Kary English, Martin Shoemaker, and myself. English advised the winners to view promotion as making friends; Shoemaker encouraged winners to work hard at meeting people even if they’re shy; and I encouraged all to support the Contest that did so much this week to support them.
John Goodwin returned with advice on avoiding flame wars in social media posts. This comment seemed especially pertinent in view of recent headlines: “Be careful what you post. It can and will be used against you in the court of social media.”
Then Joe Montaldo did a presentation on how to get radio interviews and how to guide the host to ask questions you’d like to answer.
After a break for dinner, Kevin J. Anderson (Dune: House Atreides) hosted a private screening of Dune on Hollywood Boulevard. He welcomed all the winners and spoke about his involvement with the movie as a consultant, and then the lights went down. I won’t spoil the movie for you, but since Dune is my favorite science fiction novel, I will simply say one word … SANDWORMS! What a privilege for all of us to conclude a week of knowledge and celebration by enjoying a great science fiction movie with Kevin.
The magical week had come to an end. Winners said goodbye with happy smiles, giving thanks to all the staff that had made the event possible. Me? As I watched the farewells, I sang to myself a play on an REM song: “Shiny Happy People Bumping Elbows.”
Despite the pandemic, we all made it work. Miracles do happen. See you next year.
Wulf Moon wrote his first science fiction story when he was fifteen. It won the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and led to his first professional sale in Science World.
Since then, Moon has won more than forty awards in writing. These include: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2; Critters Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story of 2018, Best SF&F Short Story of 2019, Best Nonfiction Article of 2019, Best Author of 2019, Best Writers’ Workshop of 2019; and the Writers of the Future Contest, Volume 35.