IWSG: Ask PZM – June 2014

Welcome to Insecure Writer’s Support Group day, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place for you and you’d like to join, click here.

It’s a simple process:

“Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.”

Our Twitter Hashtag is #IWSG

Alex’s other awesome co-hosts for today are C. Lee McKenzie, Tracy Jo, Melanie Schulz, and LG Keltner! Please stop by and thank them for their time. 

Please help us spread the word about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website. And if you don’t already know we have a IWSG Facebook site too.

IWSG Facebook Guidelines:

1. Since the focus of IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.

2. You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSG’ers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges, with the rest of the group. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some lurk for a long time, before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up…

3. Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link for any news you may have. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.

Now it’s time for another post by my IWSG guest host Phyllis Zimbler Miller. If you have a question for Phyllis for our next IWSG (first Wednesday of the month), please forward your question to cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca and I’m make certain she receives it. 
If you’ve missed any of Phyllis’s posts, just type in Ask PZM in the search window on the right and it’ll take you to all of them. 

Q: Is it worthwhile hiring a PR firm to market my books?

The answer to this question depends on several variables.

First, let us assume that you have a marketing budget that can cover the cost of a PR firm’s campaign, which frequently requires a number of months.

What goals do you want this campaign to achieve? Name recognition, validity for future writing projects, book sales?

If you are hoping for big sales, the question becomes:

How will you feel if you get great publicity in numerous places yet do not sell any books?

And, yes, this can happen.

But before you cross off the idea of paying for a PR campaign, consider what else you might achieve:

There is a marketing adage that people need to see a particular message several times before acting on that message. The same can go for name recognition of you or your book.

Having a PR firm get you publicity in places that you could not do so for yourself has the important advantage of getting your name and book in front of new people. And while these people might not buy your book now, if they come across more publicity about you at a later date, they might be motivated to buy your book then.

Then there is the scenario that you have a second book ready to go and want to get attention for that book from agents and/or book publishers. Being able to share links of multiple publicity features for your first book could have a very positive impact on these agents and book publishers.

It is important before hiring a PR firm to know what achievements are most important to you and whether traditional publicity or digital publicity fits better with these goals.

When reviewing what a firm is offering to do for you for a set price and set number of months, make sure that you and the firm are on the same wavelength. A PR company offering a certain number of followers on Twitter, for example, might not fit well with your main priority of getting book reviews in certain publications.

Another important consideration is how much work you are committed to do yourself for a specific PR campaign. If, for example, you are paying for a company to set up a blog tour for you, clarify how many blog posts in what amount of time you will be responsible for writing.

You will also need to know how many physical books you will be required to provide for a PR company’s review campaign for your book. Will the PR company pay for and do the shipping of these books, or will this be your responsibility?

If you have flexibility in the amount of money you are spending on a PR campaign, you may want to pay a company more if the company will handle these shipping chores. Or you may decide that you are happy to do the shipping yourself.

Although deciding to invest in a PR campaign is something that each author has to decide for herself and himself, this decision should be based on careful consideration of the various factors.

Q. What is #MSWL on Twitter?

#MSWL – Manuscript Wish List – is an organized chat that takes place on Twitter in which agents and editors tweet about the books that they are interested in acquiring and include the hashtag #MSWL.

(It is not, regardless of any such tweets you may see, a place to promote your published book for people to buy.)

You do not need to be present during the actual organized chat to see this list. Instead you can put #MSWL in the search bar of Twitter and see the tweets that have been posted with this hashtag. (Agents and editors may add tweets with this hashtag at times other than the organized chat.)

Sometimes the link for submission is put into the #MSWL tweet. Other times you have to click on the person’s Twitter username and read that person’s bio for the link to the agent or publisher site where manuscripts can be submitted.

Although there has been another way of seeing this list by going to http://agentandeditorwishlist.tumblr.com/ – when I checked in order to write this reply I noticed that the list on Tumblr has not been updated recently.

This may be because there is now a dedicated site for this list where you can search by book genre – check it out at mswishlist.com

TWEET #1 –  Is it worthwhile hiring a PR firm to market your books? (Click to tweet)

TWEET #2 – The cons of using a PR Firm to market your book. (Click to tweet)

TWEET #3 – Understanding #MSWL on Twitter.  (Click to tweet)

Phyllis Zimbler Miller on Twitter is at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller and she is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon. Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and her nonfiction books at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/keep-in-touch/

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