Monday, February 7, 2011

Worlds and Wonders

The subject for this month is “publicity advice”. Webster tells me it is “information sent out to attract attention”, which makes the old adage “bad publicity is better than none” true, because even bad information attracts attention – maybe even more attention than good information.

When I began writing, no one told me about “publicity and marketing” (just like new mothers never told me about stretch marks and sleepless nights). When I started letting words lead me into stories and other worlds, I never once (not even once) thought about “publicity” or “marketing”. I dwelled only on creativity and story structure and words and meanings. Then my first book came out, and I was assigned  a “publicist” where the world of branding and marketing opened up to me in what originally looked like a glimpse into hell. I had to speak? I had to “put my name out there?” I had to sign and smile? Yes, that sounded like hell.

But I was wrong. It’s not hell. Yes, it can be exhausting, but here’s the stunning thing – “Publicity” is networking, and networking forms friendships and friendships open up worlds and wonders. I have met some of the dearest people in my life through the “necessary” publicity and marketing. The writing universe is large enough for a million stars. I will leave the specific advice to those who know so much more than I do. (ie; Kerry Madden’s link below – I will just say “ditto”).

I do have one warning though (from personal experience); be careful how wrapped up you get in the world and wonder of publicity and marketing. There is this very thin and fragile tightrope between “writing” and “marketing”; it is the writing that we are here to do. Dedication to story is our job. Yes, we must do the other. But don’t look at it as a necessary evil, see it as a gateway into another world, a beautiful world.

Patti Callahan Henry is the NYT Bestselling novelist of seven books. Her new novel – COMING UP FOR AIR – will be released in September 2011.


sigge said...

arbeit macht frei

Anonymous said...

well said, thank you for your insight.

Anna Michaels said...

Brava! Good advice from a great writer. Story is the crown. Marketing is a small jewel.

River Jordan said...

Yep. Hard not to just ditto Kerry. You didn't talk about all your beautiful kick off events or the fact that you seem to be one of the most loved writers on the circuit. There's a reason for that Patty. I think all the publicity in the world does make up at all if the person is ugly on the inside. You are a beautiful soul inside and out!


Kerry Madden said...

I couldn't agree more about knowing the difference btw writing and marketing and all of it, Patti...and
Just so I don't come off as all sunshine and light happy author on the book trail, here is a link where burnout and mortification can happen as it did when I was scheduled to appear with...get ready...the Care Bears.