S2/E23: The Proactive Author by Georgia Clark
This week, we’re reviewing The Proactive Author by Georgia Clark.
According to her website, Georgia Clark is “an author, performer, and screenwriter. She wrote the critically acclaimed novels, The Regulars, The Bucket List, and others. [She] is the host and founder of the popular storytelling night, Generation Women, and comedy showcase, Funny Over Fifty. Her fifth novel, It Had To Be You, is out 2021. A native Australian, she lives in Brooklyn with her wife and a fridge full of cheese.”
I think I first came across Georgia Clark on a podcast that profiled the incredible success she’d had in the promotion of her debut novel.
She is a cheerful, engaging, likeable teacher, but make no mistake: Her class is as organized and thorough as any out there. She breaks the enormous task of devising a marketing strategy for your book and breaks it into digestible bites and offers concrete templates and checklists to help you keep track of everything. She organizes this vast information into eight masterclasses:
The Author Online
Advance Copies and Influencers
Pitching and Writing Articles
As usual, because of the size and scope of this class, I will barely be able to scratch the surface, but here are my…
1 Whether you plan to go the Indie or Traditional route, you will almost certainly need to learn these things if you want your book to sell. Again, the days of sitting back and letting the publisher do all the work are (mostly) gone for most people. There will always be a few Stephen Kings, John Grishams, and J.K. Rowlings out there, but they’re the unicorns, even among the Trad Pub set. Writers need to think of the life of their book in two major phases – the writing and the marketing. Taking some time to sit down and go through a class like Georgia Clark’s (or Sarra Cannon’s Publish and Thrive or Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula) will make all the difference.
2 You can’t do it all. There are so many things that you could do to market your book that it’s virtually impossible to do them all. You’re going to have to choose. To decide what combination of activities is the best for you, let two things guide you: your strengths and your interests. There’s no point giving yourself a bunch of marketing activities that you’ll either struggle to complete because you don’t have the capability to do them well or that you simply hate doing. Don’t plan a bookstore or podcast tour if you hate public speaking of any kind. (That being said, if you hate speaking before a crowd, podcast tours might be okay since you’ll feel like you’re only talking to one or two people during the interview itself.) For example, Georgia has three social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) that she is moderately active on, but because she doesn’t have enough interest in social media to make it a major player in her book marketing strategy, she doesn’t make it a major focus of her time. She enjoys events, but not book tours. Her website and newsletter (like her social media) allow her to showcase her funny and optistic nature. She doesn’t have a ton of interest in technology, so making a book trailer or blogging isn’t her game. She’s passionate about feminism, so she submits articles to feminist magazines and reaches out to feminists celebrities to get blurbs for her book. She’s tailoring her marketing efforts to what works for her strengths and interests and leaves the rest.
3 Fast-Good-Cheap. This rule of thumb is useful for so many things besides marketing. In a nutshell, you can usually have any two, but not all three at once. Knowing what’s important to you will help you adjust your strategy accordingly. If you’re working on a shoestring budget for marketing, you’ll need to keep cheap, which means you can still get quality (good) materials for your marketing efforts, but you have to plan ahead because getting them quickly (fast) is unlikely. If your marketing budget has more room in it, then you can pay a premium for faster work. If you try for fast and cheap, prepare yourself for a drop in quality.
*Hack: She highly recommends that you maintain your own site, and I completely concur. As frustrating as that learning curve can be, I believe it pays off. I tried to delegate this work at the beginning by trying to hire someone from Fiverr. At my budget (cheap) and timeline (quick), good wasn’t an option, so I rolled up my sleeves and figured it out. The perk about this is that I’m reliant upon no one to get the job done when I need a change. This is particularly important if you have a blog or podcast or are regularly updating events, etc. This may not be true for you. I will add that I’ve now used three different web design platforms. I don’t have any sort of technical background, and I haven’t taken any classes. Here’s what I can report. WordPress (which I use for this site), has the most adaptability, has advantages for blogs and podcasts, and there are a zillion templates available if you want to use one. That being said, it requires the most technical knowledge of the three. I’ve muddled my way through this and been (mostly) okay with the results, but I know that if I ever actually took the time to learn more, I could do so much more/better with this site. If you’re not techy, I’d steer clear of WordPress, personally. We use Squarespace for our UnsettlingReads.com, which is far more intuitive and pretty good about promoting podcasts/blogs. That being said, it is not nearly as intuitive and user-friendly as Wix, which is what I use for HDairBrown.com and HappyBusyKids.com. I’ve put in far less time figuring out Wix as I have figuring out Squarespace (and only a small percentage of the time it took me to figure out WordPress). Plus, Wix is constantly having sales for 50% off the premium levels, which means you can take care of your website costs for $67 a year, about what I paid for just the template I used on WordPress. PLUS, Wix has a decent email marketing package built in so if you’re not up for messing with Mailchimp or Mailerlite or the like, you can just stay on Wix. One-stop shopping can be nice, especially when your bandwidth is running low.
As a final reminder from Georgia Clark:
“You absolutely can’t do it all, even if you work full-time on your launch and you have endless financial reserves, which of course most of us don’t have. Don’t be afraid to court an idea, and let it go.” Georgia Clark, The Proactive Author
This course is offered on-demand (with lifetime access) through Georgia Clark’s platform: http://www.georgiaclark.com/proactiveauthor-sign-up. She has so many templates and real-life examples, you’ll feel like you’ve hired a book marketing coach to help you with your day-to-day decisions.
Next week, I’ll be reviewing Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble.
In other Dair-related news:
I have a book out! If you’re at home with your kids and need some fresh ideas to keep them sane, engaged, and entertained, check out Happy Busy Kids: 50+ Dairbrained Ideas, Games & Projects. I’m donating 30% of the profits to the COVID19 projects of First Book, No Kid Hungry, and Prevent Child Abuse America. And for free resources and more ideas, visit HappyBusyKids.com.
Fellow author Robin Knabel and I recently posted a new episode of our new podcast, Unsettling Reads. Come check out our spoiler-free review of Simone St. James’s The Sun Down Motel and browse our other reviews of books from the crime, fantasy, horror, literary, mystery, sci-fi, suspense, and thriller genres. You can find it all at www.UnsettlingReads.com.
To find out what I’ve been working on, fiction-wise, visit www.HDairBrown.com. Sign up for the email list, and I’ll send you a free story every month. Just one email a month. I promise not to inundate you. I hate a pesky emailer!
Finally, to help you keep track of both your writing goals and your time, visit TheRookieWriter.net and sign up for the email list to get a free undated quarterly version of The Rookie Writer Playbook (a planner/organizer just for writers) to try out. And, of course, The Rookie Writer Etsy shop has full annual, dated Writing Planners available, along with a few other tools and fun swag for writers. Now on sale for 50% off!
Until then. . .
Happy writing, people!