This is part of the Bittersweet Book Launch case study, where Dan Blank and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore share the yearlong process of launching her novel. You can view all posts here.
By Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Julia, Dan and I were all surprised by how quickly this ballooned from text message to full-blown event, probably because none of us on our own would ever have been able to pull this off on our own. So how did our efforts complement each other?
-As founding director of Sackett Street Writer’s Workshop and general friend-to- writers-about-town, Julia has a ton of personal connections that she has honed not through “networking,” but through genuine friendships and support of her friends’ work. But although she knew a lot of people whose books were coming out in the next few months, she was swamped with work and knew she’d have no time to put together a big giveaway like this on her own.
-Meanwhile, I’d been feeling restless and was looking for that one final push idea, a way to keep my hands busy and spread the word about Bittersweet to people who wouldn’t otherwise hear about it. I had the desire to reach out, but since I’d been in hermit mode in terms of the New York writing scene until about a year ago, I really don’t know very many writers. And I was starting to feel that my regular forms of getting the word out- Twitter, Facebook, my newsletter, were stale. I wanted to try something new but I had no idea what it was until Julia mentioned how many friends with books she had coming out (and I realized I had a handful of friends in the same position).
-Finally, Dan and I have been working together for the past year, but lately we’d started to notice a lull in the tasks he and I could come up with together. He’d helped me build FriendStories. He’d helped my redesign MirandaBW.com. He’d helped me figure out a workflow for my social media presence, and although he serves as a constant source of encouragement and a resource of fabulous ideas, I could tell he was eager for something more to do. And then, lo and behold—we gave him something to do! The logistics of this giveaway—from the legal side of things, to the workflow, to the day-to-day organization—is something that neither Julia nor I would have ever had any interest in/knowledge about; frankly, it would have kept us from organizing such a thing. Meanwhile, Dan actually thinks all that is FUN (can you believe it?).
When were first discussed this giveaway, I knew there would be ways it would benefit me. I knew that:
– I was getting a chance to be introduced to many authors whose work I greatly admire, and, because Julia was the one making the introduction, her “vouching” for me would bring me many steps closer than I’d ever been before.
– In extending the invitation to promote these new friends’ books, I would be able to gain their respect and show them, through my generosity, that we could be friends down the road.
– We would be driving traffic to my website, which would mean that people who were coming to this giveaway through other avenues would end up knowing about me and Bittersweet.
– In banding together a group of so many authors and hosting this giveaway on my blog, I hoped we’d be making enough of a news story in and of itself that we would extend our reach beyond even our personal networks.
But there have been other benefits too:
– The chance to drive traffic to my fellow authors’ websites.
– The enthusiasm of many of the other authors’ publicity and marketing departments, and their pledges that they will help us spread the word too.
I’m sure other good fortune will come thanks to the forward momentum this project seems to have already gained. I’ll keep you posted!