Thursday, March 05, 2009

Speaker and Author L. Diane Wolfe

Today, professional speaker and author L. Diane Wolfe stops by Straight From Hel to talk about promotion. Wolfe is the author of Overcoming Obstacles With Spunk! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting, as well as the young adult series, The Circle of Friends. She conducts seminars through community colleges, organizations and club, and travels the East Coast extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, averaging over one hundred appearances each year. Today, she tells us ways to promote our books through reaching our audience.

Welcome L. Diane Wolfe.

Promotion Begins With the First Word

When do promotions begin? Too often, promotion does not enter the minds of writers until after the book is completed. Passionate to express themselves through words, few consider the potential market for their work. Without this knowledge, we may be doomed to failure, because our chances for success are determined by that very first word.

We write because we love to write. However, unless it is just for personal satisfaction, we need a purpose and a plan. We must consider the marketability of our work before pouring heart and soul into a project. Why work long hours on a project that will be impossible to sell? The publishing industry is tough enough without making it even more difficult to succeed!

Before putting pen to paper, we need to be sure our book will fill a real need. Explore several bookstores to determine if the niche is too small or genre over saturated. Examine the competition in depth. Remember that most book purchases are determined by either subject matter or the author’s reputation. Do we have enough status to be considered an expert in the field? If writing fiction, will our story’s hook be powerful enough to make our work stand out from all the other authors in the genre? It is important that we take all of this into account before passionately writing a book we cannot sell.

If our work fills a real need, do we know how to reach that audience? The world will not beat a path to our door! Book promotion is a multi-faceted endeavor and we must reach our readers by any means possible. Great effort will be required both in the physical and virtual worlds. Do we have the necessary resources? Are we willing to devote the proper amount of time? If we aren’t prepared to do whatever it takes, we’ll set goals for our book that are impossible to attain.

Tie-ins and endorsements play a key role in the success of a book as well. We need to ask ourselves – who would endorse our book? Mentioning specific products, companies, individuals and locations may garner endorsements if done so in a favorable light. The setting of our story might be of great interest to the residents of that location. (In fact, they could be our target audience.) A celebrity endorsement, whether from an actor, an athlete or another author, can greatly increase the credibility of the work. Do not forget organizations, non-profit groups or even political parties that might recommend the book to their members or use it for a fundraiser. We should consider all of these aspects before we create our book.

The promotion process begins with the writing phase. If we fail to prepare during this time, we’ll find it difficult (if not impossible) to properly market our book. In order to spare ourselves the aggravation, we must write success into our book right now!

Thank you Diane. It’s easy to see how you got the nickname “Spunk on a Stick.”

In addition to Wolfe’s travels, she also maintains a dozen websites and blogs, manages an online writers’ group, and contributes articles for several other sites. If you’re interested in her insight into writing, she does characterization sessions for schools and speaks to writers’ groups.

Before you rush off to check out her site, leave a comment or question here for her.

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  1. Thanks for the wonderful insight and motivation.


  2. Excellent article and cogent advice. Thanks for sharing with us, Diane. It's obvious you got it goin' on!

  3. Great advice. I'm not much of a planner myself. As when writing my book, I don't use an outline, when marketing I follow whatever grabs me. It wouldn't hurt for me to sit down once in a while and plan my strategies.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. Thanks Diane, great suggestions! I'm about to launch my third book of a series which involves a sunken pirate schooner that comes up in the bayous of southeast Texas, and a resulting murder due to greed. I'm wracking my brain trying to think of that celebrity endorsement. (Yeah, I know, should have been thinking of that before, and was--just haven't made the right connection. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!


  5. Thanks everyone, hope this helped and maybe motivated you a little!

    Syl, have you checked out It's $1 for a week's trial and they have hundreds of thousands of addresses for celebrities. You can search for ones wha are authors of similar genre books, or experts in the field of sunken treasure, or those who have close ties with that area of Texas.
    Get creative!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  6. Ladies...wonderful post and suggestions. Planning is definitely doesn't want to lose the perfect opportunity.

    Donna McDine

  7. I have a feeling Diane is very organized. You'd have to be to do all that she does (without going berserk).

  8. Very good article, Diane. Your advice works very well with nonfiction books. I wrote a centennial history that was picked up by a local realtor and given to prospective out-of-town buyers, which really helped sales.


  9. Great idea, Jean. Realtors usually give a gift to home buyers. Often a potted plant. Why not a book?

  10. Great suggestions, Diane. For us mystery writers, there are so many sub-genres that the main thing is to write a good story. Then get it reviewed and plug away at whatever hooks are available, setting, characters, industry tie-ins.

  11. Great idea, Diane, never heard of them before but I will definitely check it out! And the realtor idea is good, too!! Thanks to all. I love how writers support writers! Anything I can do for anyone, let me know!

  12. Another thing to be doing as you write and to continue doing for all the years you write and promote and sell is to start and maintain a database. Divide it into booksellers, organizations, niche markets, readers, bloggers, etc. Offer a sign-up sheet at booksignings and talks. Often when you sign with a publisher, big or small, you're asked to provide a database list of at least a hundred contacts. This list is just as important if your self-published.

  13. Thanks for the suggestions, Diane, you give some great advice! I don't know how you do all you do, but thanks for taking the time to share this!

  14. I wish I had read your good advice a few years ago! When I started writing, I never considered the marketing aspect until my manuscript was accepted by a publisher. Now I am trying to make up for lost opportunities.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  15. I bet you've pretty much caught up by now, Jane. Although, really, you never catch up since new opportunities keep appearing on the horizon.

  16. Yes, Ginger, a database is essential!! If you start orgainizing this right away, you'll be better prepared.

    And I am a scary organized person. That's the melancholy side of my personality!

    Thanks again for the opportunity, Helen!

    L. Diane Wolfe


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