Book promotion 101 – relationships are key

 (Author Patti Murphy (L) talking with Amanda Turner, host of Radio Boise’s Writer’s Block show)

A lot of writers hate the idea of having to do self-promotion. Trying to pitch someone on why they should do a story on you and your book can sometimes feel uncomfortable. For me it conjures up the words of my grandmother, “No one likes a braggart. Just work hard, and people will notice.”

Sorry grandma, I have to disagree.

Media relations is all about making personal contacts and building relationships.

How do I know? Because I’ve been a public relations consultant for more than 30 years. People hire me to promote them, their businesses and their achievements because they aren’t sure how to do it and they are uncomfortable doing it themselves. It’s my job to get them in the news so they can tell their story, and its always easier to have someone else (your PR rep) talking about how great you are than to try and do it yourself. Continue Reading…

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25 things writers should stop doing

Today as I was jotting down thoughts for a New Year’s blog about some of the things we writers (me especially!) need to stop doing this year, and other things we might start trying to do, DING, DING, DING!, a friend forwarded to me this blog link from terribleminds.com, called “25 things writers should stop doing.” All I can say is Wowser!, this is what I was thinking except he says it in a much more, um, shall we say, persuasive way than I ever could.

“Stop the moping and whining,” “Stop playing it safe,” “Stop trying to control shit you can’t control,” “Stop being afraid.”

So, props to blog author Chuck Wendig for his great ideas. Note: there is profanity in the blog post. I think it gives it a bit of urgency…what do you think?

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13 things I learned in 2011

I don’t know about you, but 2011 has probably been the most difficult, bittersweet year I can recall. It was a year in which I excitedly published my first book, and then lost my dad a few months later. That sort of year, if you know what I mean.

There are a few quotations that come to my mind in describing such a year, “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” Or “A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.

But life, once it’s gone, there are no do-overs. There’s no backspace button. No deletes.

What I know for sure is that adversity and challenges suck, but they also lead to knowledge and insight and growth. So, I’d like to share some of the lessons that came to life for me in 2011. Continue Reading…

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A job loss doesn’t mean a loss of identity

“All the world is a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and entrances;
Each man in his time plays many parts.”

 ~ William Shakespeare
(photo source)

 

Often we see ourselves through the filter of our job titles. Our work becomes such a large part of our identities. And why shouldn’t it? We spend so much time working, making a living, getting ahead, and thinking about how we fit into our workplace that sometimes its difficult to separate who we are from what we do.

When we meet new people, one of the first things we ask each other, right after names, is “What do you do? Where do you work?” Continue Reading…

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I write, thanks to those who believed in me along the way

Those of us who become writers likely have a zillion people to whom we can be thankful. Teachers, parents, bosses, all the editors who have rejected our submissions – each of them have pushed us (or kicked us) along the way to follow our bliss and live our dream of being a writer.

So, on this Thanksgiving 2011, I sincerely thank:

- My dad Pat, a lifelong journalist, freelance writer, political commentator and all around great father for teaching me, talking to me and spending time encouraging my writing career. You’ve always been there when I had a question about grammar, journalism, interviewing someone, or simply figuring out the right approach to a story. Dad, you’ve been my mentor and friend and I owe so much of my writing career to you. Continue Reading…

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Hate “Writer’s Block?” Kill it with persistence

Good Writing is Hard Work!

I recently read an interview in which several authors discussed whether or not they actually enjoyed writing for a living. It’s a pretty interesting question to ask because I think a lot of writers tend to romanticize writing and talk about it in terms of a “calling” or a “passion” that fulfills us. Not many of us are willing to admit that this “dream” profession sometimes feels like a nightmare.

The “Misery” of Writing

Which is why I was intrigued by some of the answers in the article. Scottish writer A L Kennedy said, “The joy of writing for a living is that you get to do it all the time. The misery is you have to, whether you’re in the mood or not.”  Joyce Carol Oates is quoted as saying, “Given that the act of writing provokes such misery, why do you do it? – here is the writer’s perennial riddle.”

If you know you have to write something every single day, even a paragraph, you will improve your writing. If you’re concerned with quality, of course, then not writing is not a problem, because zero is perfect and without defects. ~ Seth Godin

The dreaded Writer’s Block

I think one of the main causes of our writing misery is writer’s block and the inability to work through it. It causes us to fidget in our seat, our minds begin to wander, we check our Facebook page and decide we’d rather go watch TV than deal with the frustration of gridlocked writing. I think many writers, including myself, have bought into the mantra that we need to be inspired in order to produce. And if our creative muse happens to be AWOL, well, then, you’re simply out of luck for today. Continue Reading…

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The NaNoWriMo self-imposed writing frenzy

Rosie the Riveter2

I am joining with thousands of writers around the world to participate in NaNoWriMo, the annual self-flagellation writing event for authors who want to prove to themselves that they can finish an entire novel in a limited amount of time and still keep their sanity.

For those who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Writers knowingly and willingly sign up for the following challenge: Write and finish a 50,000 word novel between midnight November 1 and midnight November 30. The up side is that the novel doesn’t have to be great or sellable. It just has to get finished on deadline.

It’s a sly and brilliant way to get writers to basically rid themselves of the fear of failure and to tell their internal editors and critics to butt out and shut the hell up. All we have to do is write. It doesn’t have to be profound or bestselling. We just have to commit ourselves to the task at hand. And, if and when we complete the challenge, well, we’ll have proven to ourselves that we are up to the next challenge…perhaps writing a novel that WILL sell. Continue Reading…

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