On Thursday, October 28, 2021 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EST Via Zoom I will be hosting a panel called ” Book Marketing 101 with The Idea Shop.” Chris Houston, the Marketing Guru of The Idea Shop, has over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. He’ll share his tips and stories about his best marketing campaigns, and explain why it’s important to let the world know that you have a unique book that they need to discover!
Chris Houston, the Marketing Guru of The Idea Shop has over 20 years of experience in book marketing. The Idea Shop is a one-stop shop for fresh new ideas on how to promote creative endeavors of all kinds, from books to podcasts. The Idea Shop can be heard each month on Sauga 960 AM radio.
He answers the question “Why should an author hire a marketer?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 5. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.
During September 16-19, 2021, FIYAHCON 2021 is happening! It’s a BIPOC speculative fiction virtual convention where writers, artists, publishers, editors, marketers and vendors meet up. There are a limited number of free tickets available, do check it out if you have time!
Different Ways of Publishing – Saturday, September 18th, 2021, Day 2 – 11:40 am EST, Track B
Traditional publishing is often seen as the most common way of publishing, but over time, there are other methods: self-publishing, serial publishing, hybrid publishing, etc. This panel will explore different methods of publishing because sometimes getting an agent or traditional publisher may not be possible if the book is considered “too niche” or “unmarketable”.
Strategies on Publicizing Your Book – Saturday, September 18th, 2021, Day 2 – 12:50pm EST, Track A
A book is a baby you need to present to the world that is already filled will millions of babies. How do you find your readers? Let’s talk about Kickstarters, PR firms, paid and free strategies you can use to publicize your books.
For these panels I am also a moderator so over the next few days I will be contacting my fellow panelists to brainstorm and to write up speaking notes for engaging panels.
Recently I signed up my indie publishing company, Dark Helix Press, to be a vendor at FIYAHCON, a virtual convention centering the perspectives and celebrating the contributions of BIPOC in speculative fiction. (I’ll be speaking about publishing there too, will release details when I have them.)
At FIYAHCON the vendors are setting up a virtual table on a platform called AirMeet which I have never used before. One of the items I needed to upload was a video and I don’t have any book trailers for Dark Helix Press. In the past I made a book trailer for The Undead Sorceress which was ok, but with new tools available, making a trailer now is much faster than ever before! The concept of making a trailer is the same to make any video for social media, once you learn how to make on video, it’s a skill which can be used for lots of creative fun!
The trailer I made below took about three hours, because I was fiddling with fonts/colors/layout and made some custom graphics for the Dark Helix Press Threadless Shop merchandise because I wanted “clean cut” items that would “pop out.” I had to use a graphic editor to do that (did it quick and dirty with the free Paint.net graphic program) because video programs have limited graphics editing capabilities. Note I had $0 budget, but the video looks pretty good for zero dollars!
Steps used to make a book trailer:
List out what you want to put in each “slide” which is really a short video. Pretend it’s a PowerPoint and on each slide think about what message or text you want to convey.
Recently I finished an op-ed piece and sent it around to major media outlets. It wasn’t picked up by anyone. Naively I thought that since the piece was about a small press publishing a book by Asian writers and finding it difficult to gather in-depth book reviews, this would be an interesting read since a lot of diversity articles only talk about the good things about why it’s needed or negative experiences. The experience I had was a good one, but in the op-ed I wanted to highlight the fact that people are scared about being cancelled, so they can’t comment on anything, which makes it difficult to move forward. Everyone says they want diverse books, but is this really true? Or are they saying this because it sounds like the right thing to say?
As a writer, I wonder about why this piece was rejected. If you are a successful op-ed writer, perhaps you can send me some tips!
Generally, the message in this piece was: sometimes it’s best just to sit down to have a cup of tea and eat together to build relationships going forward. Basically instead of preaching diversity, let’s talk about what we have in common and be friends!
This morning we woke up early to listen to “The Raw Mike Richards Show” on Sauga 960am which caters mainly to the Toronto area. Once a month, The Idea Shop goes onto the show to promote the latest book releases in the Canadian market.
To be honest I was a bit nervous about what people would think about the book because although I think it’s fantastic, I’m also the gardener who helped plant the flowers, so my perspective is biased!
It was wonderful to listen to the opinion that the stories were like a “box of chocolates” which cheered up the readers during COVID and also brought up memories of the host (Mike Richards) being close to an Asian family in the town they grew up in. Canada’s strength lies in diversity and the ability for people to work together to transform society for the better.
Yesterday someone dragged me into a Zoom conference about selling and customer retention. One of the guests said that you need at least 35 YouTube videos before anyone notices you are alive! Eek!
For my new Artsy Raven podcast I have confirmed 8 people to be guests for me to interrogate (um, interview), so in a few months I’ll have over 35 podcasts and people will hopefully notice I am trying to spread the love of reading, writing and publishing! In a way I feel like I’m on a conveyer belt right now, just churning out podcast scripts and graphics. Maybe one day I’ll be rich enough to hire a minion to help me…
I start off with a template script and for each guest I modify based on what they write or what their occupation is. One of my upcoming interviews is with a book marketer – Chris of The Idea Shop, and I am super excited about talking to him. Authors want readers and he is a book marketing master for the Canadian market. I’m sure he will share lots of great ideas will us struggling writers!
To organize the scripts I numbered them onto my Google Drive. This way I can also share them easily with my guests and they can edit too before we meet. Onwards with another day!
Next Thursday I’ll be hosting an Asian Speculative Fiction Reading event as part of Small Press Fair for Dark Helix Press. All of the authors are wonderful readers and I look forward to listening to them do their magic! Details about this event below!
Also putting together another digital raffle to test how successful it is as a marketing tool. Someone told me that all raffles need to be coupled with Amazon gift cards so we will try that. I do worry about coupling book giveaways with gift cards – do they want the gift card or to read the books? Sigh.
March 4, Thursday, 2021: 8pm EST – 9pm EST Asian Speculative Fiction Readings panel features Asian speculative authors who will read their stories featured in Immersion or Dark Helix Ezine. There will be a Q & A after the panel. Authors featured include Vincent Ternida, Carlo Javier, Melissa Yuan-Innes and Lily Chang. Host: JF Garrard
February is Women in Horror month and to celebrate at Dark Helix Press we are giving away a set of books containing horror elements. Prizes include: My Girl, a short story by JF Garrard, Immersion an Asian speculative fiction anthology and Trump: Utopia or Dystopia anthology.
No purchase necessary and reward will be delivered via e-mail.
This year I’m doing a few talks at Capricon 41 (Feb 4-7, 2021), a spec fic convention based in Chicago. I’ve been sent their panelist invites a few times, but this is the first time I’m attending.
To my surprise after receiving the schedule, I saw that I’ve been paired up with a few people I know from Toronto and someone I met at Detcon1 years ago! Looking forward to meeting these friends virtually again!
The con features many panels on writing, science and fandom – so if you’re looking for people to chat passionately with about geek topics, come hang out!