Category Archives: RESOURCES

BOOK PROMO 101

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GUERRILLA BOOK PROMO 101

Several authors have asked me to teach them how I promoted my book L IS FOR LION. Here’s a quick list for you!

PARTY
Your book needs a party. Invite everyone you want to thank. Everyone who’s helped you along the way to this special day. Have books for sale, and have someone else handle the cash. I made paper roses out of manuscript pages. They were gorgeous, fun, keepsakes, gifts for the guests. At one point in the party everyone read some phrases out loud from their rose. It was fun to see who got what part of the book. I asked friends to help make this party happen. One friend donated the room. Another brought a case of prosecco. Another hosted a ritual, played DJ, etc… The publisher said “yes” when I asked for some money for food. I went to the best Italian deli and got broccoli-rabe, mozzarella, sopressata, olives… a feast.. I got blue glass champagne glasses for a buck a piece on-line at Dollar-Tree. Plan the party a couple of weeks after the publication date, to make sure you get the books on time, and all is set. Confer with the publisher about a safe date, so the books definitely will be in hand.

WEBSITE
Make sure your web designer understands SEO (Search Engine Optimization. So that when someone googles your subject area, your book has a chance of popping up at or near the top of the list. When you google Bronx Italian Books, my book pops up number 1) Keep your website on-point. If you’re a renaissance woman, keep the website focused about the book, at least for the first year or so….

VIDEO TRAILER
Make a 3 minute video trailer of you talking about your book. Post to YouTube. Eblast the link. You can do this yourself. Keep it simple, focused, fun. There’s plenty of book trailers on YouTube to watch for examples. I had a friend hold my iPhone and I sat on a mailbox and talked. I edited in iMovie. You can watch it here. http://annielanzillotto.com/video-trailer/ Have fun doing this!

PROMO TIMELINE

15 months out:
Schedule book readings. Give the first dates to priority spots — people will show up to support you and your book. Some venues book their schedules 12 months out, so you want to make sure you get on their calendar. Some venues offer an honorarium for authors, others don’t. The places to approach are: bookstores, college profs who can invite you for a campus talk and reading, centers that deal with your subject area, libraries, spots that are special to your book. If you want to book other cities or countries, you gotta figure it out: travel, lodging, book shipping, venues, etc… I did not have a “tour manager” – I did what I could figure out and afford. And I’m still doing it…

Talk with your publisher’s PR person and ask what exactly they’ll do, and what you need to do. Ask if they recommend you hire your own PR person, (for print, radio, social media, or all three…) Ask if they can donate books for you to mail to print reviewers and radio hosts, or if they’ll do it for you…

12 months out:
1. Make a spreadsheet of your contact list for book promo. Ask other authors to share contacts of reviewers, radio hosts, professors in your subject matter. Decide if you want to pay for a Kirkus review. It’s over $400.

2. Contact book promoters to see if you want to hire one. I raised funds on kickstarter and hired a PR person who deals with radio shows. I bought a landline phone, a headset, and they prepared a list of potential interview questions from the book and sent to their contacts in radio and web-radio. This was a lot of fun and got the word out. These curated conversations were phenomenal. Having an outside pro do this work was great since I was too close to the material in the book at the time… Now a year out, I have much more distance and can pitch better. If you want to do this guerrilla style, look at authors’ publicity pages on their websites, and see who they interviewed with… Listen to the programs. Send a press release and letter to who you like. Here’s my page: http://annielanzillotto.com/interviews/ And there is lots of links to my interviews on my Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Lanzillotto

6 months out — Send galleys go to prime reviewers and radio hosts. (Terry Gross “Fresh Air” etc…) (Ask your publisher if they will print you some galleys for this purpose.)

PRINT THINGS TO HAND OUT
1. Postcards & Business cards
A year after my book came out, I am still giving out postcards and business cards everywhere I go. When I teach I give them to all the students. When I’m in a bookstore, I leave a stack, or post two (one front – one back) to the bulletin board. Order enough, and keep the copy on it timeless. On the front, the book cover. On the back, your website, a blurb about the book, etc… A USB code if you wish to connect to your website via scan. (My fave printshop is a Mom and Pop shop in Hoboken. You can order over the phone or email… Full House Printing. 201 798-7073 / larry@fullhouseprinting.com.

2. Press Release
Collaborate with your publisher to write a press release. You can use your jacket copy.

3. READER ACTION CARDS Give your friends, networks and audience a list of ways to get on board. Here’s a long list. Pick your top ten and make a hand-out for audiences.
23 Ways You Can Help This Book Have its Life in the World

1. ORDER now at: (publishers website or http://www.amazon.com or http://www.barnesandnoble.com)
2. ORDER through your local bookstore, public library, campus library.
3. VISIT (author website) read excerpts, view photos, video trailer.
4. “LIKE” on Amazon.com. “LIKE” and “SHARE” on Facebook
5. WRITE a brief “customer review” on Amazon.com. Also post your review to goodreads.com, shelfari.com, librarything.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other literary social media lists. Reviewing helps readers find the book, and boosts in search engine algorithms.
6. CLICK on Amazon.com, “request this book to be available in kindle, nook and e-book”
7. BUY a copy to donate to your local (list relevant social agencies… for me it was: Gilda’s Club, LGBTQ Center library, school library, domestic violence shelter, cancer center waiting room)
8. E-MAIL blast your friends about the book.
9. WRITE a note about the book on FB, LINKED-IN, GOOGLE +, Twitter, INSTAGRAM, etc.
10. LINK my website address on your FB page, website, twitter, blog…
11. BLOG about the issues raised in the book. Start a blog.
12. TALK to your local librarian and recommend the book for their “one book one city” program.
13. RECOMMEND for your Book Club, or a friend’s book club. Start a book club.
14. RECEIVE a tax donation by donating to my book tour and audiobook taping sessions. (provide 501C3 fiscal umbrella info….)
15. RECOMMEND the book to someone who can review it for a newspaper, blog, magazine.
16. TEACH the book in your class; or tell a professor in: (name relevant curriculum categories, for me: Queer Studies, Working Class Studies, Narrative Medicine, Literature, Ethnic Studies, American Studies, American History, Immigrant Studies, Italian American Studies, Memoir Studies, Health Advocacy, Medical Anthropology, Urban Studies, Performance Studies.)
17. FORWARD this email to anyone you think might be interested in the book. If you know any newspaper editors, reporters, magazine editors, radio producers, TV show hosts or producers, columnists, bloggers, send them a copy of the book, or direct them to my website.
18. ASK me to mail you a stack of full-color postcards for you to place at your local theater, bookstore, campus center, coffee shop, library.
19. INVITE me to come read in your town at your local book store, library, classroom, or a home gathering.
20. Recommend your company buy this book in bulk for company fundraiser gift-bag.
21. HELP ME SELL THE RIGHTS If you have a connection to an actor, producer, director, who might be interested in making the movie, give them the book & my contact info.
22. COME to a reading. All my events are listed at: (website) click EVENTS
23. Buy a couple of books and donate as a prize for your local public radio station for fundraising drive.


EMAIL and SOCIAL MEDIA

1. Make a Mailchimp or Constant Contact email blast list. Send Book Tour updates.
2. Make a FaceBook page for your book.
3. Have friends boost or trash the book on Tumblr. Whatever starts a buzzzz…

BOOK TOUR PROPS
1. tablecloth to sell books on. (I made mine out of the last manuscript, filled with pen corrections.) You know, you show up for a reading, and there’s a folding table. Bring a cloth that looks good with the book.
2. Retractable Banner. This was the best thing I bought. It slings over the shoulder and pops open like 7 feet tall, easy as an umbrella. So, for conferences and book talks, I made a beautiful presentation of the book cover. Order from Full House Printing. 201 798-7073 / larry@fullhouseprinting.com.

Okay, that’s it for right now. I’ll do ADVANCED BOOK PROMO later…

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Narrative Structure: Applying Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to Solo Theater

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Here is a basic summary of how I utilize Joseph Campbell’s work to help structure my solo shows.  Look in Campbell’s work to see in more detail how he plots these points on a wheel.  This is shorthand for very complicated stuff.

  1. The Ordinary World = I begin with limited consciousness, I may not be that happy here, but this is home, this is what I’m used to.
  2. The Call to Adventure, What/Who gets me to raise consciousness, to act, to leave, to go on the journey.
  3. Threshold to Other World = I find myself in a new place, where all the rules have changed. I am disoriented. I find a guardian here, either helpful or a hindrance.
  4. Tests, Enemies / Helpers, Boons   Challenges along the way
  5. INNERMOST CAVE  = My inner fear, biggest test, peeling away. Will I make it?  Vulnerability
  6. The Prize.  The Knowledge Gained.  The Consciousness Raised.
  7. The Return to the Ordinary World Begins.  More helpers and tests. 
  8. Threshold Back to the Ordinary World = I reenter the old terrain again.  Another Guardian at the gate.
  9. Changing the Ordinary World with the Knowledge Gained, I bring what I’ve learned home.  I am changed.

Assignment: Suggested Bibliography

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SUGGESTED BIBLIOGRAPHY:

A Little Book on the Human Shadow: Robert Bly, edited by William Booth, Harper, San Francisco

The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell, New World Library, 1949, 1968, 2008  ISBN: 978-1577315933

“Artists are magical helpers.  Evoking symbols and motifs that connect us to our deeper selves.  They can help us along the heroic journey of our own lives…     The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal.  The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly.  What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another.  Over and over again you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons.  Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare?  And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco.  There’s always the possibility of a fiasco.  But there’s also the possibility of bliss.”

The Italian Comedy, Pierre Louis Duchartre, Dover Publications, NY, 1966

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, Christopher Vogler, Michael Weiss Productions, 2007.  ISBN:  978-1-932907-36-0
Super Heroes: Fashion and Fantasy, Andrew Bolton, 2008, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, ISBN: 978-1-58839-279-4

Truth: Personas, Needs, and Flaws in the Art of Building Actors and Creating Characters, by Susan Batson, Rugged Land LLC, New York, 2006

Works of HeART: Building Village Through The Arts, edited by Lynne Elizabeth and Suzanne Young, New Village Press, 2006, Oakland, California, ISBN-13: 978-0-976-6054-0-9

Inspirational Quotes, to keep us making our work

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“If you bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will save you.

If you do not bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will destroy you.” 

Gnostic Gospels

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“What do you want to do? 

What are you willing to give up to do it? 

What are you not willing to give up?”

Sarah Schulman

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Assignment: Whose Solo Work Do You Love?

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Goals

  • To know what you love about solo performance
  • To generate material for your solo show
  • To identify images you want to create on stage

Assignment: Research the work of three of these artists.  Find an aspect of the work that turns you on. Why does it interest you?  What image did the artist create?  How did they create it?  (body, prop, what media?) What was the effect of the work on you, did you laugh?  did you learn something?  What image would you love to create on stage?  What is it comprised of?  Your body?  Your voice?  A prop?  A costume?  A projection?  A movement?  What’s the action of the image?  Is it a still life?  Does it move?  What are some of the images you’ve seen in life or on stage that have stayed with you?

A LIST OF SOME SOLO ARTISTS

Vito Acconci

James Adlesic

Mark Ameen

Laurie Anderson

Eleanora Antin

Joey Arias

Penny Arcade

Elia Arce

Ron Athey

Pina Bausch

Jan Bell

Reverend Billy

Nicole Blackman

World Famous Bob

Victor Borges

Kate Bornstein

David Blane

Michael Burke

Reggie Cabico

David Cale

Laurel Jay Carpenter

Carl Capotorto

Ann Carlson

Jessica Cerullo

Yoshiko Chuma

Sean Clute

Susanna Cook

Jackie Curtis

Rob Curto

Earl Dax

Mark Dendy

Krista DeNio

D D Dorvillier

Michael James Esper

Ethyl Eichelberger

Karen Finley

Carrie Fisher

John Fleck

Coco Fusco

Tanya Gagne

Diamanda Galas

Guillermo Gomez-Pena

Marga Gomez

Spaulding Gray

Whoopi Goldberg

Dynasty Handbag

Scotty Heron

Murray Hill

Shelly Hirsch

Danny Hoch

Patricia Hoffbauer

Dan Hurlin

Imani Henry

Otis Houston

Holly Hughes

Mike Iveson

Miranda July

Rhodessa Jones

Sarah Jones

John Kelly

Stanya Khan

Lisa Kron

Eliza Ladd

William Pope L

Annie Lanzillotto

John Leguizamo

D’Lo a.k.a. D’Loco Kid

LuLu LoLo

Lollo

Erin Markey

Glenn Marla

Shelly Mars

Salley May

Robbie McCauley

Yvonne Meier

Nick Slie / Mondo Bizarro

Jennifer Monson

Deb Margolin

Shelly Mars

Amapola Prada Mendoza

Jennifer Miller / Circus Amok

Tim Miller

Meredith Monk

Tom Murrin a.k.a. The Alien Comic

Yves Musard

Julie Atlas Muz

Ellen O’Grady

Yoko Ono

Jaime Ortega

Nam June Paik

Yoonhye Park

Marty Pottenger

Reno (“Rebel Without a Pause”)

Carl Hancock Rux

George Sanchez

Carole Schneeman

Lucy Sexton

Felice Shays

Peggy Shaw

Claudia Sheer

Karen Sherman

Jackie Shue

Judith Sloan

Anna Deavere Smith

Hank Smith

Jack Smith

Roger Guenvere Smith

Pamela Sneed

Annie Sprinkle

Paz Tanjuaquio

Lilly Tomlin

James Thierry (Charlie Chaplin’s grandson)

Carmelita Tropicana

Diane Torr

Adrienne Truscott

Maurice Turner
Howling Vic

Deke Weaver

Cathy Weis

Martha Wilson

Rae C Wright