About three weeks ago, I was invited to join Stacey J. Miller and Susan Lit for coffee. Well, it was brunch which was even better. I had met Susan and she had introduced me to Stacey via e-mail. Susan is an editor, Stacey is a writer. I knew it would be a nice couple of hours out, probably talking shop. I didn't realize it would be a great lesson in ingenuity.
Stacy and I had each donated a book to Temple Beth Am's annual auction and it was Susan who put our books together in an e-mail to notify people that Temple Beth Am's authors had each donated a signed book. I knew from the title that hers would attract attention. 101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes is a grabber. Who knew there would be more than one recipe for a microwave mug cake?!
Susan and Stacey live on Boston's South Shore, while I live about 40 miles away from them in a suburb West of the city. I arrived a bit late thanks to traffic. The conversation was in full swing and I arrived to hear the name Rachael Ray as I enthusiastically accepted the waitress's offer of coffee. Trying to follow the conversation after introductions had me playing catch-up. I asked Stacey if she were going to be on TV. That would certainly be enough to get me to tune in to Rachael Ray, a program I have never seen. She said she was on the previous Friday. They taped for a few days and she didn't expect it to air so soon.
Here's the kicker: her book is Print On Demand. She got this major break with a POD book. It pretty much blew my mind. She had brought us each a copy of the book and I have to say that I'm impressed. The recipes are straight-forward but produce more than I expected. I thought maybe a microwave mug cake would be some sort of brownie concoction. She has recipes for such creations as Chocolate-Covered Cherry Microwave Mug Cake, Peach Butterscotch Microwave Mug Cake and Baked Apple Vanilla Microwave Mug Cake.
Stacey is also a publicist. And therein probably lies the key. She treated herself like a client and got some well-deserved hits for her press release.
I'm starting to think that POD may be a viable option for some authors if they're also good business people. I also know the value of publicity and I'm beginning to see that most of us need to learn more about the nuts and bolts of it. Knowing how to write a good press release and how to target the right outlets is important. Crucial.
And never be afraid to aim high.
I'm looking forward to the next time we share an interesting brunch. I enjoy their company and for those of us who live such solitary lives as writers, it's important to get out and have some intelligent conversation with interesting, warm and friendly people.
Food for thought. And yes, any pun intended.
Causes Darlene Arden Supports
The Marcia Polimer Abrams Fund for Canine Behavior Studies at the AKC Canine Health Foundation