Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Spreading the Virus By Thomas N. DeWolf

Thomas N DeWolf is our guest blogger today. He will be our chat guest on Sunday September 6. Read his advice and be sure to come back for Sunday's chat!

Spreading the Virus By Thomas N. DeWolf

(guest blog for Writers Chatroom)

I’m infected. I caught the virus. Now you’re infected. It spreads from one person to the next quickly, quietly. You turn on your computer and it’s staring out at you. The only reason you’re reading these words is because of the virus. Together we can transform the virus into an epidemic. The epidemic is my goal. It should be yours as well.

Inheriting the Trade is my first published book. It took roughly six years to write—five years of squeezing writing into the cracks of time my job allowed, and one year of full-time writing after I resigned from that job. Finishing the book was hard enough. Then came the rigors of marketing. The art of writing is quite different from the business of publicizing what you’ve written. The publicity staff at Beacon Press has done a terrific job. And I learned that I have a key role to play.

A friend of mine, James Malinchak, asked me if I believed in the message contained in my book. Well, yes, of course I do. Will your book help people? Yes. Will the world be a better place as a result of people reading your book? I believe so, yes. Then you have an obligation to get your book into the hands of as many readers as possible, he said. To not do so would be irresponsible.

So I learned about the virus. The Swine Flu virus will spread because we have so much contact with each other at work, school, at the store, on airplanes, and subways. Think of book publicity in the same way, only this is a virus writers want to spread. Learning to more effectively use the internet, blogs, and social networks is crucial. And we are in the midst of a social media revolution. Click on this link before continuing to see how the opportunities for infecting others through social media have never been greater.

I haven’t met James Malinchak in person. I found him through the virus. I read several books about publicity including Building Buzz, Publicize Your Book, and The Savvy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity. Tips from these books led me to scour the web where I found Steve Harrison and John Kremer. I receive e-newsletters or other book publicity information from both of them regularly. Steve put on a telephone seminar last year in which he interviewed James Malinchak on how to become a public speaker to increase outreach and enhance a writing career. I use what I learned from James to get my book into the hands of more readers.

There are useful services and products that people like John, Steve, and James offer that you can invest in. There are many valuable nuggets that cost you nothing beyond your time and willingness to learn. In his July 14 newsletter, John Kremer announced a contest. Literary Publicist Stephanie Barko was offering a free virtual book tour. I entered and my book was selected from more than 70 qualified entries. And here you are reading these words. Because of the virus.

There are many aspects to spreading the virus. Imbedded links in this article, for instance, are important. First, they provide relevant information to readers. Second, they support the people who supported you. The world of books is a community and we need to support each other. Third, links increase traffic to each of the sites they lead to as well as to the site from which they originate—in this case, the Writers Chatroom site. I hope you’ll click on the links and utilize the services of the people here, especially Stephanie Barko. I plan to work with her in the future. I’ve been both amazed and impressed by how much work it is to organize a viral (oops, I mean virtual) tour like this one. The goal of all publicity is to connect with people with whom you probably otherwise wouldn’t.

A writer’s website is the host for the virus. Pack it with useful information about yourself and your book; the message you want to share with the world. Mine is filled with links to past interviews I’ve done, reviews of my book, YouTube videos from past appearances, information for the media, and more. Your blog is where you can showcase both your thoughts and your writing.

My hope, of course, is that you’ll be inspired to spread the word about Inheriting the Trade; that you’ll inform your friends, write a post on your blog, link to this site, or to my website or blog. I want you as my Facebook friend, for us to follow each other on Twitter, to DIGG each other, and to connect on Goodreads. And I look forward to more contact with other authors here at Writers Chatroom.

We can infect (and affect) many others with our ideas and our words. The virus is essential to your health as a writer. Catch it. Spread it (ah-choo!)

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