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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Marketing Materials - To Author Bio

1 September 2011, Marketing Materials - To Author Bio

I'm showing you how I prepare marketing material for my novels.  Here is a repeat just to introduce the subject.  Today, I'm working on the second section of the long form information.

Marketing a novel is more difficult in my mind than writing a novel.  I'd like to just spend my time writing, unfortunately, before your novel is published, you have the burden of finding a publisher and after your novel is published, you have the burden of following your publisher's marketing instructions.

Marketing is a very important part of writing a novel.  The first thing after writing your novel is get your marketing stuff together.  Marketing information is critical to your writing and it forms the basis for the inner and outer cover and other future marketing materials.  Here is the outline of what is required.  I'll start with the long form information and continue to the short form.

I put all this information together in the same file.  I do produce a second file, that I will go over with you specifically for my regular publisher.  I put the commentary in italics.  I'm moving on to genre and author bio today.  I'll leave in the past info without commentary.

The long form information:

Title of Work:

Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon

Author(s) Name:

L. D. Alford

Type: Either Screenplay or Book


Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays

121,475 words

Keywords and Market Focus:

Fiction, Russia, Austria, 1918, Wien, Vienna, Daemon, Demon, Aksinya, Asmodeus, Catholic Church, Sorcery, Travel, Orthodox Church, Russian Revolution, WWI, temptation, desire, convent, nobility, Countess, aristocracy, languages, Latin, Greek, German, French, contract, evil, Tobit

Will fascinate anyone interested in sorcery, mystery, and suspense—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy historical mystery and suspense novels.


Fiction Suspense

Your publisher will definitely get involved with the choice of the genre.  This is your first chance to give your opinion of the genre and help focus the thoughts of those you are marketing to.  Remember, this is really your best guess.  Many times, the genre of a work is in the eyes of the beholder and your publisher uses this as a description to drive the market for the work.  Don't get too enamored with your own idea of the genre.
Author Bio: Approximately 120 words

The finest escape in literature is an escape into a real and inviting culture—so asserts L. D. Alford, a novelist who explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know.  He builds tales that make ancient people and times real to us.  His stories uniquely explore the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive.  L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, and Air Command and Staff College.  He is widely traveled and has spent long periods in Europe and Central America.  L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality.   

Author bios can be cutesy.  They can be serious.  They can be familial.  They can be artistic.  The most important idea in an author bio is that it ties the work to you.  Generally, cutesy bios are only good for best selling authors.  Those authors don't have anything to prove, and they don't have to tie themselves to their work--they only need to tie themselves to their readers.

Yes, once you have a best seller, you need to appease your fan base with information about you.  Before you are a best seller, you need to sell your novels.  So, you can observe in my author bio:

It is written in the third person.  It starts out intimately with a quote and some text that explains in exciting terms what my writing attempts to achieve.  Remember, you are marketing your novel.  Then, the bio moves to information that gives some proof text to the assertions about the writing.  In other words, it gives qualifications that define why the statements about the writing might be true.  It closes with a kicker.  That is a single sentence that wraps up what I want the reader to know about my writing.

If you were writing an author bio and you were a mother writing about your experiences with your children, you might open with some intimate statement about what you learned by being a mother.  For example, Life isn't always a bowl of cherries, but with three girls in the house motherhood isn't always about the pits.  You could then give some information that ties your novel to being a mother and why you write.  Finally, you can round it out with your qualifications:  Ms. Blank has been a mother for thirty years and raised five children to semi-adulthood.  The final sentence should be a kicker of some type.

The author bio will likely find its way into your novel--it will be the author information there.  That's why it is important and why it needs to generally reflect your entire stable of writing.  Remember, you are selling your writing. 
Synopsis:  Approximately 500 Words
Registration: WGA, ISBN, or Library of Congress, Write the number.

Other Information:  If you have more work, a website, anything interesting and professional, especially any awards or recognition.

Short form information: 

Reviewer’s quotes.

1.  No more than 3 sentences about the content of your manuscript.

2.  One sentence about successful works similar to yours.

3.  No more than 2 sentences about yourself. (use 3rd person)

4.  No more than 2 sentences that include “other,” i.e. any reasons, relationships, or other factors that might make your work more attractive.

Tomorrow, we'll look at more information with commentary.

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