Today, non-fiction author Andee Jones explains how she promotes her work. She also talks about life as a writer.
What’s happened in the past with publicity and promotions for your book? Have you had assistance from your publishers or have you organised everything?
I’ve done the lion’s share of publicity work. Publishers are up to their necks getting new books out, and they don’t have the time required to properly market a book by lesser known authors.
I’ve had the luxury of being able to spend eight months pitching for gigs, and it’s paid off — 25 to date.
Tell me about your online strategy. Why did you choose to do a blog on MySpace?
The MySpace page is essentially a free webpage to which I can refer media and other interested bods.
What’s worked well and what’s not worked with your book promotions?
What’s worked best for me is to list all possible gigs — radio and TV interviews, print media mentions and reviews, live talks, festival appearances and live readings.
I write a targeted letter to each media person, get their name right, thank them for their entertaining program, include a hook/idea that fits their program focus, and do a follow-up call after a week or so.
The scattergun approach of generic media release mail-outs resulted in fewer than 1 in 100 successes.
Do you plan on trying any other promotions?
I’ll try anything that’s promising. Unfortunately, like it or not, promoting one’s book is media-tart-land. I try to keep a watch on any media stuff that’s connected to the ideas in my book — tenuous or otherwise.
How do you structure the days that you write? Do you have any methods to keep you motivated?
As an older writer, I have the luxury of not having to do anything full-time, and I have no structure to speak of. Perhaps it’s an infantile reaction against my academic training.
I go by the principle ‘start and continue’. I start anywhere that has energy, and the writing grows organically. I keep soliciting reader feedback, just so I don’t go off into la-la land, as happened with my first book, which never was and never will be published.
If I’m stuck, I do something else for a while. For example, the book I’m currently writing is half-way there, but I needed a break. So I started thinking about cover designs, blurbs, etc. That interval has given me the motivation to press on.
How has your background shaped your writing?
For 50 years (school+ academia), it mostly got in the way. However, once I found my voice, my background has become the biggest shaping factor.
As a working class girl, I soaked up the double-whammy socio-political message that I had nothing worth saying. Now at least (as the saying goes) ‘I’ve got nothing to say, and I’m saying it!’
What is it that differentiates you from other writers? What is your ‘author brand’?
As a psychologist and writer, I like looking at things from both sides of the couch. This is my niche.
I’m also a seasoned client of therapy, and the book I’m working on now is called Barking Mad: Too much therapy is never enough. It’s a memoir about trying to get a grip, losing it, trying, losing … and so on throughout forty years of therapy, a dozen therapists, and a ton of trouble.
If you could travel back in time to the moment before you sent off your first manuscript, what advice would you give yourself?
Feel the fear and do it anyway, that is, before you send the m/s to publishers, ask a bunch of articulate readers what they think of it. Would they want to read it? If not, why not?
Nothing more useful than constructively critical feedback from people who know what they’re talking about … as long as you retain the casting vote.
Kissing Frogs — the back cover in brief
Kissing Frogs is a tragi-comic memoir of four years of dating and relating by a psychologist who at fifty-something went looking for love.
AMI4U? Contemplating internet dating? Fantasising about what you’d find? Fretting about kissing frogs?
Entertaining and earthy, Kissing Frogs brings a light touch to some pressing questions about love.
What the critics say about Kissing Frogs
AMUSING, WRY, BEAUTIFULLY written, and thoroughly engaging from the get-go, Kissing Frogs is frank, disarming and heartfelt, dizzying at times, with elements of a good thriller … Oh and a lot of fun — Psychotherapy in Australia, May 2010
A GREAT READ — lively combination of entertaining descriptions and thoughtful insights ― Social Commentator, Hugh Mackay
FASCINATING, AWESOMELY HONEST account ― Richard Stubbs, ABC Radio 774
I LOVE IT! intensely personal style, dry and self deprecatory, earthy and immediate, very beguiling ― Psychiatrist & bestselling author, Julian Short
Andee Jones is a Melbourne-based psychologist, author and former academic. Kissing Frogs is her first memoir.
AFI-award winner Annie Byron’s one-woman show based on the book will premiere in 2011. Andee is currently working on a second memoir, Barking Mad: Too much therapy is never enough.
Click here to visit Andee’s blog.
Kissing Frogs on the Finch Publishing catalogue.