Monthly Archives: March 2011

Where Is Your Creative Zone?

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

I am a painter. Oil and acrylics. Landscapes and still life. Lately, I haven’t been very inspired likely due to stress, a recent bout of the flu and a winter that just won’t go away. But this past Sunday, I got up early and enjoyed some reading and coffee in the quiet of the morning, went and got a massage, then went to my mom’s for Sunday dinner. While there I sat on her sunporch with the sun beaming in through the glass, I laid down in the warm light, stretched out like a cat and fell asleep.

I awoke later to sound of my toddlers talking to grandma about bees, butterflies and flowers. And in my freshly awakened, relaxed state, it hit me. I should paint something whimsical. Something for one of my girls’ rooms. Later that evening, looking out my bay window into my wooded backyard, I did just that. I painted some cute buzzy bees – it was outside my comfort zone and it felt great. And, if I must say so, it turned out cute.

Recently, my colleague, Shelley, wrote asking what inspires you as an author, what drives you to write every day and what drives you to create your next masterpiece. It’s not just ‘what’ inspires you, it’s also ‘where’ inspires you.  You need to be in the right frame of mind, the right place and the right time for true inspiration to take over.  My quiet morning, massage, catnap, and favorite spot in my home put me in the creative zone.

Where is your creative space?

Publicity: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

by Hashim Hathaway, Literary Publicist

The KISS Principle, first coined by Lockheed Skunk Works lead engineer Kelly Johnson, was a semi-humorous way to remind his fellow aircraft engineers that the simplest way was always the best as it pertained to design.

This same principle has been applied to various other aspects of life, and for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be applying it to publicity.

When entering the publicity process, it’s easy to come with a head full of ideas and little in the way of an organized plan of execution. It can be daunting to spill out all your ideas out at one time, because while you may understand everything your book is trying to say, the point of all of it is to make sure that potential readers also understand, because these are the people who you want to read your book.

Whether your book is about astrophysics, or how to cook the best-tasting duck breast, the goal of any good publicity campaign is that the simplest person can grasp the concept and determine for themselves whether or not they are interested in finding out more. This is the KISS Principle in a nutshell.

So how do you get there?

One of the first things you have to do is take a look at your work, and from it, distill the most basic of ideas, ideas that would resonate with anyone at just about any level, because that is what determines a successful campaign. It doesn’t matter what you think about your book, because chances are, no one will love the book as much as you will, which is fine, however, if you have designs on being the next great author, your goals are much greater than you…and much simpler.

Keep your message clear and driven towards a singular point. Make the author want to know more without giving too much away in the process. That is how you set the tone for a successful publicity campaign. Anything more than that will be attributed to “white noise” and often times ends up drowning itself out altogether.

Clients We’re Lucky to Have

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

As a publicist and social media specialist at AuthorHive, I work with a wide variety of clients (and with just about every genre and topic you can imagine). I’ve worked with scientists, engineers, CEOs and psychics, and pitched romance novels, cookbooks, business books, and more.  But my absolute favorite projects to work on are campaigns with a great cause.

We must be having the “luck of the Irish” lately, because I’ve been working with a great group of authors. Being that it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I’d like to highlight a few of the awesome and inspiring clients I consider myself lucky to be working with:

ANNA M. WARNER, My Lipstick Journey through Cancer:  A Journey of Faith and Finding the Right Shade: Diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive thyroid cancer and told she’d never again be able to continue her passion of signing, Anna Warner turned to what she knew best: lipstick. In this humorous, inspirational and intimate memoir, Anna shares her battle with cancer, beating the odds, and regaining her voice—all while making frequent visits to the cosmetic counter.

Anna, a self-proclaimed “lipstick junkie,” collected over 50 tubes of lipstick and lip gloss over her three-year battle with thyroid cancer—a different one for every mood she had. After being laid off after radiation, she chose YSL’s “Golden Gloss #14.” After having to quit her next job due to side effects of her cancer, Warner chose Laura Mercier’s “Brown Plum.”

“It’s about staying positive and finding humor during a difficult time, being thankful for every day, and letting even the smallest thing—like choosing the right lipstick shade—bring a little joy to a situation,” Anna says (she also shares her story here at Voice Day 2010). Throughout all the trying struggles Anna has been through, she’s maintained an incredibly positive outlook on life. I’m no lipstick wearer, but Anna is already inspiring me to consider wearing some in her honor!

LYNN ROSEN, Tomorrow’s Vision:   Tomorrow’s Vision shares an inspirational story of a third-grade class that learned about world hunger, brainstormed ways to combat it, and made a difference in their community by donating their time and personal belongings to a cause.   Written by a former New York City teacher and hunger activist, Lynn Rosen, the book is a glimpse of the promise of tomorrow’s generations, starting with the children of today.

Lynn is passionate about ending poverty and world hunger, and as a human rights activist is working on several projects in order to spread awareness of these issues.  She donates her time to the Hunger Action Network of New York, United for Action, New York Cares, and the International Educational Research Network.

It makes you think: If a third grade class can make such a difference, what can we do?

DR. EVERETT WINSLOW LOVRIEN, Doctor Guilt?:  In the 1980s and early ‘90s, hundreds of people experienced what insiders call the “Hemophilia Holocaust.” New medical breakthroughs allowed doctors to relieve suffering from hemophilia, and prolong life. However, the new “magic” medicine unknowingly harbored lethal viruses: Hepatitis and HIV.

Who was at blame for the deaths of the hundreds of patients who died from these viruses? The doctors who administered the drug? The pharmaceutical companies who manufactured the drugs? Or the scientists that were supposed to test the blood? Dr. Everett Lovrien, once a doctor at a hemophilia clinic, was one of the doctors who unknowingly infected patients he deeply cared about. In Doctor Guilt? he explores why this event happened, and shares the stories of the brave patients—some just children—who lost their lives due to these mistakes.

Now he is also on a quest to educate others about hemophilia, and to bring the same hemophilia treatment options that American’s other countries through making hemophilia medicine available and affordable.

All of these authors have inspired me, and I consider myself lucky to be promoting such great causes. What do you feel lucky to have this St. Patrick’s Day?

What Inspires You?

by Shelley Rogers Landes, Marketing Manger

in·spire  verb \in-ˈspī(-ə)r\:  to influence, move, motivate or guide

 
At the beginning of my professional career at Macmillan Publishing, I remember being the youngest person on our sales team and I was proud of that fact.  I always felt lucky to be in the right place at the right time and to work for managers that valued my opinion and encouraged my development as an  account manager and sales professional.

I look around our offices today and realize I have suddenly become one of the oldest people on our team and often wonder to myself, “….how did that happen?”  Some of my colleagues are honestly old enough to be one of my kids and a year ago, that really bothered me.

Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, LinkedIn, WordPress, Flickr, Yahoo IM, You Tube. I had a vague knowledge of social media and could talk my way through a meeting but the reality was, I was being left behind.  As a marketing manager, I was diminishing my value proposition to my employer as an effective part of our marketing team because I was feeling uninspired to know and use the tools that are essential to our industry today.

Once I got past the fact that I had aged much quicker than I had realized, I will tell you that much of my inspiration, energy, education and enthusiasm in 2010 came from the wide eyed, untarnished and courageous ideas of this young creative team I work with on a daily basis. 

While I have taken the position of the “industry veteran” on our team, my young colleagues have taught me a whole new way of communication through social media.  I have been inspired to keep up, stay fresh and educate myself about trends and technology that are essential to the success of my job.

So what inspires you as an author?  What inspires you to write every day?  What drives you to want to create your next masterpiece?