by Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Sam BarryFebruary 2011
Right on target
Practical advice on writing and publishing for aspiring authors
Dear Author Enablers,
I just finished my autobiography, Escape: How I Fight the Demons of the Past and Win, and it will soon be on sale online. My target audience is women of all ages because it concerns many types of abuse. If you have any suggestions on how I might promote my book I would be very appreciative. I signed on to Facebook two days ago and I’m still learning how to navigate. I heard there was a Facebook for authors, but can’t seem to find it.
It makes sense to think about the audience for your book, but “women of all ages” might be too broad a category. For instance, you could start by reaching out to women who have been abused and the professionals who help them. The point of narrowing your focus is to generate interest where it is most likely to influence book sales, and then hope that this leads to broader sales.
Creating a presence on Facebook and using it to build your fanbase is a great idea. Facebook offers the opportunity to create an “official page” for your brand or business. You can either create a page for yourself as an author or for your book, and then use Facebook to promote your book and interact with fans. You should also check out other sites popular with authors, including Redroom.com, Filedbyauthor.com, Booktour.com and the author program on Goodreads.com.
For more specific ideas on marketing and publicity, we recommendPublicize Your Book by Jacqueline DuVal.
SHARING YOUR PAIN
Dear Author Enablers,
I am writing my first book, an account of an unbelievable turn of events that I have lived through and was able to conquer. It is an amazing story; however, when I write, it stirs up a lot of pain and other feelings that I’d rather not experience again. Do you have any advice on how I might be able to minimize or eliminate these emotions?
Gloucester City, New Jersey
This question provoked much discussion at Author Enablers World Headquarters. The two of us had different opinions about what you should do, so we ultimately turned to a pair of professionals for their advice. We’ll provide all the responses so you can choose the approach that works best for you:
Sam says, “The passage of time allows us to reflect on traumatic events and put our thoughts in perspective. Give yourself a break and let life resume its normal rhythm for a while; you will find it easier to write your story later.”
Kathi says, “Writing about a difficult personal experience immediately after the fact can be cathartic and may actually help you get over the trauma and move on emotionally. Remember that no one has to see your writing until you are ready to show it. The writing process might actually help you heal.”
Clinical psychologist Asa DeMatteo and psychiatrist Tom Brady offer this reponse: “It is perfectly understandable that your reader experiences anxiety when delving into his past in his writing, and it is also understandable that he is reluctant to revisit the emotions that the past events call up. On the other hand, if he were to seek psychotherapeutic help in resolving the emotional difficulties engendered by entering that world of the past, it would be precisely the recall and recounting of those events that his therapist would encourage. To revisit difficulties in our past within a safe present is in itself therapeutic and offers perspective and understanding that one cannot have when in the midst of pain and trauma.
“Your reader is attempting a courageous task: He wishes to share his experience, to capture and convey the emotional turmoil that had such a great effect in his life. If he is able to manage that task, he may well help other, similarly situated readers. We hope he tries.”
Email questions to Kathi and Sam. Please include your name and hometown.