Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mentoring and what we learn

I have been a mentor for a year or more to a fellow Kiss of Death RWA chapter member. It isn't an onerous job -- we email occasionally, I've read her synopsis & query letters, we chat about publishing opportunities, and when she made her first sale, we talked about contracts, cover art, etc.

Lately we've been chatting about promotion. Her first book will release this spring and she's so anxious (remember that feeling?) She wanted to hire a marketing professional to "get out there and talk about her book." She asked a lot of questions of me: who to hire, where they should promote, etc.

I gently pointed out that unless she was with a major publisher (she isn't) she shouldn't expect to make a ton of money and that really, readers want to make a connection with the author, not with a publicist. That entailed a discussion about blogs, and how to blog, and where to blog, and what to do when you blog...

Anyway, the point of all this is: it showed me how much I have learned in the four years I've been published. I well remember that panicked feeling of "how do I tell people about my marvelous book!" and "I must talk about it today, on the day it releases, or...or..." (Not sure what came after 'or' but it felt dire). I've learned that promotion isn't about the one book. It's about your writing, which means it's about all the books, all the writing, all the things you're learning along the way.

Now I have to laugh, because one piece of advice I gave her was "don't sweat a blog post. If you're scheduled to blog, sit down and write what comes into your head. Don't spend a ton of time agonizing over it."

And you know -- that's exactly what I did. I sat down, knowing I had to do a blog post, and I thought, "What to write about? Oh, hey: how about practicing what I preached."

If you get a chance to mentor, give it a try. It's amazing what you learn about yourself in the process!

6 comments:

Lizzie Walker said...

Paisley ain't that the truth. When my critique partner told me that I should be blogging I said. 'I already have a blog'(in a very snooty manner). HA! Said blog had been left untouched for two years.

I had initially intended it to be musings about life. Well that is exactly what it is about except for it's about my writing life and any little thing in between. Sharing my experiences (one of my new ones is with you personally) has been a revelation to me. I find sometimes I hate to blog but once I get into I realize that someone is going to read this and identify with what I am saying. It makes a big world seem so much smaller. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :-)

Jill James said...

Great blog post about promoting ourselves. Thanks JL

Mona Risk said...

I started my blog two years ago with so much enthusiasm and then I got burnt and I neglected it. I lost a lot of followers, and I came back to it once or twice a week, and neglected it again. I love my blog but I wish I had more to spend on it.

Joan Leacott said...

I had a mentor once. She morphed into one of two critique partners whose I opinions I will always value. Thank you Helen and Mona.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for the great advice. Some day I hope I will have the chance to follow in your footsteps. I am so blessed with lots of friends around me to give me great advice. I agree that I do look for books written by people I know or know about. Maybe its because I love supporting those I know. Whatever, it works and is something to remember when the time comes.

Joanne said...

I've always though of my CP partners as mentors. I value every piece of advice they've given me.