Being a writer isn’t just knowing how to wield words or weave tales. Writers are also business people. People forget that… even writers themselves, sometimes. Among the tasks of running your own business is generating, paying for, and maintaining promotional materials, both digital and print.
After all, we’ve got websites, postcards, bookmarks, social media accounts, etc., all requiring up-to-date bios, images, and presentations that reflect who we are NOW as storytellers and public speakers. A writer’s gotta stay on it to stay stocked, up-to-date, effective, and sane.
So to writers I recommend maintaining a Promotional Materials Review Schedule. That is, have scheduled calendar reminders in place that prompt you to regularly assess the content and presentation of your materials. It’s dangerous to wait until a new book publication or author event to review your materials—you end up trying to squeeze in updates and rushing to reorder in time. That’s stressful, and things will very easily slip through the cracks. Sometimes opportunities for promotion arise suddenly, such as the out-of-the-blue request for a blog interview. It’s imperative to have your general short-form bio at your fingertips to shoot on over to the interviewer for inclusion in the post. Bloggers can’t wait—if you’re not ready when they need a bio, they’ll grab something old (sometimes VERY old) from the Internet. Same thing with author photos—keep current or see your old one go up, old hairstyle and all.
As I prep for my upcoming SCBWI LA faculty appearance, where I’ll be delivering the market report, critiquing manuscripts, and teaching a workshop on writing dialogue, I’m also doing my early-summer review of my promotional materials. I know I need to order more bookmarks. I won’t have to drop everything to update those bookmarks, though, because I’ve maintained a Promotional Materials Review Schedule. I’m happy with the bookmark’s most recent redesign. Later this summer, I’ve got a scheduled day to sit down and plan my redesign of DearEditor.com. It’s time, and my web designer is ready because my New Year Promotional Materials Review reminder triggered me to give her a heads up in January that this would be on our plate in the fall. She’s ready, I’m ready; I predict a smooth, unrushed, and productive collaboration.
A writer’s primary focus in writing craft and productivity. Without a doubt. But it’s vital to keep your presentation of your business on your radar, too. A Promotional Materials Review Schedule is a valuable way to do that.