How do you make yourself stand out from the crowd?
In these days of viral marketing, self-marketing, and the seemingly 24-hour-a-day job of publicizing yourself, it’s gotten pretty confusing about what a writer’s responsibilities for marketing are. Many writers I’ve spoken to say that their publishers give them some publicity, but to have any success, they have to take their act on the road and market themselves aggressively. It’s gotten me thinking about some of the conventions of self-marketing and how relevant they are to writers.
Business cards Do you have a business card, and if so, how do you use it? I recently had business cards made up, but for the purpose of marketing this blog, not for promoting myself as a writer. If I had a book completed, though, I might consider having the book’s information on a card. Business cards are still useful for people who do a lot of in-person networking, such as going to AWP’s conference, for example, or other conferences. Do you use business cards to promote your writing?
The One-line bio The value of having a ready-to-go one-line bio continues to be very important for writers. Whenever you get something published in a print or online journal, you’re expected to produce a quick bioblurb so that readers know who you are, what you’ve previously written, and where they can learn more about your work. It’s important to have one of these handy, especially because things like Twitter profiles still use them heavily.
The elevator pitch The other old marketing tool that never seems to get old is having a ready elevator pitch. It’s useful to have a ready way to tell agents and editors what your novel or story is about and why it’s a unique project, or why you have special insight into a topic. Many writers shy away from this pitch, though, because it seems appallingly commercial to have to think about their work in terms of selling it. Just remember that the first line of your novel is about pulling readers in and grabbing their attention — and so is an elevator pitch.
What classic (or modern) self-marketing tools do you use to promote your work? What do you think we could use less of in the writing world, or more of? Should writers promote themselves, or does it conflict with their art?