Thursday, July 20, 2006

ICRS, part 6

Captain’s Log, Supplemental

Blog book giveaway:
My Monday book giveaway is DIVINE STORIES OF THE YAHWEH SISTERHOOD edited by Michelle Medlock Adams and Gena Maselli.
My Thursday book giveaway is WEB OF LIES by Brandilyn Collins.
You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for YAHWEH SISTERHOOD and post the title for another book I'm giving away.

ICRS, part 6 (continued from part 5):

My senior editor Sue Brower made time to see me and introduce me to the senior public relations manager, Karen Campbell. We had a great lunch meeting.

Sue talked with me about marketing and publicity that I could do—for example, connecting with my reader demographic in the Bay Area. I work with 20-something Asian Christians at the church youth group, and I can hit them up for publicity ideas and also for valuable input to make sure I’m hitting my reader target—that I’m not talking down to them, that my writing is in line with the age group.

Sue also talked about ways to increase my newsletter Yahoogroup membership. She suggested maybe an iPod contest. I said, SURE!

Sue mentioned fiction shorts in a newsletter for my series, and I told her about ideas I had for a character blog where all four cousins from the series AND Grandma would put up short blog posts. I’ll have to work on developing that. It’ll also take a lot of work to write the content.

What I found very intriguing was when Sue started talking about when she first met me in Denver two years ago at the ACFW conference. She said that one of the things that caught her attention was that I had a definite genre/sug-genre—Asian chick-lit. It had marketability because it was unique and definable.

At the time, Sue had been the Senior Marketing Director and so she’d been thinking like a marketing person, not necessarily an editor. She looked at the whole package, not just the story idea.

Her comments made me realize that as writers, maybe we should be looking at the whole package, too. I’m not talking about tag lines, but I am talking about Branding.

My agent Wendy said something similar—basically, to find your genre niche and run with it. By “niche” I think she was also talking about making sure you write in a sub-genre or with a style that other people haven’t—something unique and original. Like non-humanoid science fiction, or humorous Biblical fiction, or time-travel prairie romances!

Okay, I guess we shouldn’t get carried away—not too original. But I realized that as writers, we can make it easy for the publishers to market us—that “whole package” which extends beyond just good writing.

Sue and Karen also talked about the marketing and publicity for my series. They admitted that they’re taking a risk with me, because they’re marketing to an age group and demographic they’ve never targeted before, and they’re going to use different marketing tactics—not the standard things like getting in the catalog, etc. I’m the guinea pig.

I guess that’s a good thing. I have a feeling God wants to test my faith in a major way. I just wish it didn’t involve the $100,000 cost/gamble to produce a single trade paperback book. Ai-yah—I’m starting to sweat already.

Karen is totally nice, and she’s also young—right in my reader demographic. She seems very excited about the campaign for my book, which is terrific. I think it’s a God thing that she’s the senior PR manager right at this time that Zondervan is publishing my series.

Next: The Adventures of Camy on the ICRS Floor.

The Shirlee and Sabrina Show: Two of my favorite people, Sabrina Fox and Shirlee McCoy, have teamed up in an interview on Sabrina’s blog here.

6 comments :

  1. Thanks, Camy! This has me thinking about how to market my series. I'll try to figure out my niche before I talk to publishers.

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  2. stop sweating woman! your books will rock!

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  3. I have a friend who invented the "horror picture book" sub-genre. Think there's a market? (Really it was an accident - a dead grandfather showed up from a previous draft - the danger of cut and paste.)

    Good to see a publisher taking a risk.

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  4. This all sounds very interesting. I'd never thought about the actual marketing niche.

    For instance, we get a lot of Asian students here and in many universities across Canada. I don't know too many people that work with that age group but we do have, at least we've always had, Asian students at our church. We also have a number of Canadian-Asian couples who might know more people to market to.

    During my year in residence at my university, at least half of my friends were Asian. That's why I still have a friend in Hong Kong. I don't think she is a believer the way we are but her son was married in a Church and I do write to her about what God means to me though I don't know if I've gotten into the Salvation story. She has a daughter in her late 20's, early 30's who just got engaged. Somehow after trying to read Diann's book and not being able to relate to the fears her character has, I have a feeling that it's probably easier for more people to relate to chick lit, because everyone has gone through that stage, than for singles to relate to wife-lit if you haven't gone through that. Certainly, as we age we do go through some of the same stages, but "Cold Cream, etc" related more to being a wife than just being an older woman.

    Anyway, if you can, e.g., find out some of the churches that have Asian or half Asian members or ditto universities to target them specially somehow. I think a lot of non-Asians will be interested too if they have Asian friends as I do. The rest of it is just the same as African-American books. I read those too because I want to know what makes them different from me as well as the things we share, especially as Christians.

    Oops. Talking much more than I intended.

    E-mail coming sometime today.

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  5. Okay, I'm gonna quit reading about your ICRS adventures now cuz yer makin' me insanely jealous.

    ; )

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  6. Camy,

    Let me know how I can help. I live in the community with the "Japanese Band School." My church is in the same area and we have a ton of Asian singles.

    Also the assistant manager of Logos is the sister of a member and a really cool person. She's always looking to expand their inventory. :)

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