Monday, September 09, 2013

Military School and Marketing

I may be in even more trouble with the children's choir this year than I thought. I found out that the other adult teacher in my group has asked her Sunday school class for prayers because we'll need all the help we can get. I might also be wrong in my assessment about Problem Child. She doesn't think there's necessarily anything wrong with him, just inconsistent parenting. Yes, the mom does try to correct him, but she also tends to give up when her first attempt doesn't work, so he's learned to ignore all correction because it'll pass. I may not have a case of "no one can correct my special snowflake" or "we think the word 'no' stifles a child's creativity," but it seems to be a case of "maybe the teachers can teach him to behave, and that will make my life easier." The people in charge are even talking about getting a dedicated "buddy" for him, like they have for special needs kids, so that the teachers can focus on the whole class instead of having to devote all their attention to the one kid. I'd think that would be a huge parenting wake-up call if your kid isn't special needs but is such a bad behavior problem that he requires special needs treatment. Do they have military boarding schools for kindergarteners? That may be what this kid needs. I think I need to practice my military "Atten-hut!" bellow. Maybe the boys will enjoy being treated like they're in military school. I'll teach them to salute and march. That's sort of music-related, right?

I'm forcing myself to get back to "normal" this week. Five days should be enough time to recover from a convention and travel. I have some marketing work to do, some bookkeeping to deal with and then I want to get back to the writing in progress. I went to a really good writing session at the convention (about the only thing I managed to attend where I wasn't a participant), and now I want to see how it applies to the work in progress. I'll have to re-read the whole thing first, though. I'm a little hazy on what's actually on the page vs. what's in my head.

There may be some swimming pool time, as well, since I've realized that I need more exercise. I've put on a bit of weight over the summer, probably from eating out more often than I usually do. It's not much and probably doesn't show, but there are clothes I wore last summer that don't fit this summer, and I can feel the difference in the way my body works. I also don't have the fitness and endurance levels I'd like to have. I shouldn't nearly collapse after 45 seconds of jumping in ballet.

Back to the marketing stuff: How many of you subscribe to author newsletters? Do you actually care about them? Have you ever signed up for a newsletter to be eligible for a giveaway? If so, did you keep subscribing afterward? I suspect I'm about to have a tussle with my agent about this because she thinks newsletters are an excellent marketing tool and I think they're preaching to the choir. If you care enough to sign up for the newsletter, you're already on board. Hearing about the giveaway means you've already heard about the author, unless it gets out onto one of those contest junkie web sites, in which case they sign up for the contest, then unsubscribe (sometimes even being tacky enough to label the newsletter as spam when they do so) when the contest is over. Most of the authors I know have stopped the giveaways other than those to reward fans because they don't actually do much good. Then again, that may be my personal bias against marketing that looks like marketing, and "win an Amazon gift card!" looks too much like marketing to me. Newsletters might work better for the kind of self-published authors who have a constant stream of releases, but I don't have anything new coming for a while, just an existing series that's all out there. I guess I also have a personal bias against author newsletters. I've been automatically subscribed to too many by authors who just subscribe everyone in their address books, and I unsubscribe from them all. I do follow a few authors' blogs because they have interesting things to say, but this really doesn't affect my book purchases, and there are a few authors I follow on Facebook just to find out when they have new books coming out. I don't even know what I'd say in a regular newsletter.

What I need to find is a way to expose more people to the existence of the series, get them to try it, and then make sure they know there are more books. I don't think that e-mailing existing fans is the way to do that, but in responding to my agent, I can't just dismiss her ideas without offering any of my own. How did you first learn about this series? What works to make you aware of a book and then get you to try it? How do you keep track of a series to learn about new books?

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