What to Know Before Assembling the Marketing Plan

Prior to this year, I had not produced an entire marketing plan. I had created parts here and bits there. After going through the entire process, I believe anyone so determined can complete that daunting task.

By way of introduction to establish my credibility, I am an English composition instructor at a college and also teach English literature to high school seniors. In effect, by teaching at the college level as well, I am catching students at critical points in their secondary and post-secondary journeys. Prior to that, I taught public speaking at Kennesaw State University and University of West Georgia. Also, I taught grammar and an assortment of courses to gifted middle school students.

Additionally, I am an authorpreneur, the convergence of my creative side (writing) and the business aspect of my creative side. Evidence of my creative side is that I have written extensively and have been published in several media outlets. As part of that business aspect of my creative side, I own a publishing company.

[Incidentally, the term, “authorpreneur,” was coined by and made famous by Australian author, Hazel Edwards, as recently as 2011 (Morris, n.p.).]

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the marketing plan. Everyone who is considering publication needs to become familiar with this process and engage in it. Of course, it takes trial and error to become confident and competent in it. In its entirety, the book proposal is the marketing plan that entices a publisher and/or an agent. It puts a book (figuratively) in the palms of the agent or the traditional publisher.

Drs. Gregory Fraser and Chad Davidson of University of West Georgia call the marketing plan “a close analysis of cultural signs and a set of informed recommendations” (Frasier & Davidson 11). They urge all students to undergo the process of creating the documents that make up the marketing plan: “Outside the academic environment, however, students will need to take part in this activity no matter what goals they hope to achieve” (Fraser and Davidson 11).

The advice is not to be taken lightly. Every agent and traditional publisher demand it, and it is as the professors indicate: a cultural sign agreed upon by all in the book business and a set of informed recommendations expected for submission by all in the book publishing business. The advice is not only for students but also for anyone who hopes to submit a book (fiction or non) for agent representation or for publication (if choosing to bypass the agent, which traditional publishers will not tolerate).

As I indicated earlier, completing this process is a trial-and-error exercise. I have, at one time or another, written many query letters, pitched my novels and children’s books, written aspects of a book proposal, composed synopses of my novels for jackets and possible plugs in the right places should I be fortunate to be required, written my author resume (a.k.a, author profile) and the accompanying cover letters, crafted book descriptions, and provided a chapter-by-chapter explanation of one of my books.

I must not have followed the protocol: I queried and solicited traditional publishers directly, a cardinal sin. Rejections abound daily, and they can break a budding author, but resilience is key. Referring to the rejection of his first novel by 31 publishers, James Patterson indicated in Chapter 2 of his Masterclass Online Course, “I have the scars. The scars don’t go away.”

He called the rejections “31 wrong opinions.” That rejected first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, won the Edgar Award for the ‘Best First Novel by an American Author’! Again, resilience is key. Alternatively, independent publishers have become quite lucrative as Plan A (where authors ignore the highly recommended but frustrating road of traditional publishing) or Plan B (where authors fall back on independent publishers after rejections by traditional publishers).

I have listed the components of a marketing plan. Of course, marketing plans vary. Before a writer submits the items listed below, he/she is urged to research publishers to ensure they publish his/her genre and whether or not they accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Marketing Plan Parts and Pieces:

  1. Pitch: a one-sentence explanation of the book’s content or theme. Condense the 100,000+-word novel/book into one sentence.
  2. Query letter: a semi-business letter that introduces the project and writer to an agent and/or publisher. It should be single-spaced.
  3. Book proposal: the plan for the book and should contain
    • A longer synopsis of the book (500–1,000 words)
    • Table of contents
    • Marketing plan
    • Author biography/resume (with professional credentials)
    • Sample chapters, and (if requested)
    • A chapter-by-chapter synopsis of all the chapters

A writer must start the journey over every day. The writer must be passionate and must be willing to learn and to grow daily. At the urgings of Doctors Fraser and Davidson, every student/aspiring author needs a marketing plan and must create one or several.

============================================

Works Cited

“Book Proposal Boot Camp” Southern New Hampshire University. 19 November 2015. Web. December 2, 2015.

Fraser, Gregory and Davidson, Chad. Analyze Anything: A Guide to Critical Reading and Writing. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2012. Print.

Morris, Linda. “Becoming ‘Authorpreneurial’ Online.” 22 November 2011. Web. November 28, 2015.

Patterson, James. “Passion + Habit.” Masterclass. 2015. Web. December 28, 2015.

Advertisements

The Top 10 TED Talks Every Woman Should See

A repost from TED.com, an interview by Caitlin Moscatello:

http://www.glamour.com/inspired/blogs/the-conversation/2014/03/the-top-10-ted-talks-every-wom.html

“There are now more than 1,700 TED talks—”ideas worth spreading”—available online, many of them by badass women,” Verghese told Glamour. “I’m honored to make recommendations of just 10 of the many talks, from scientists to artists, writers to leaders, that have made me feel smarter and more prepared to take on the world in just 18 minutes or less.” Watch a few to get through the afternoon slump at work, or take ’em all in later. We guarantee you’ll be inspired!

Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
“This is the talk that preceded [Lean In],” says Verghese. “[It’s] a great, unconventional, persuasive take on the way that women take themselves out of the running for leadership positions.”

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
“The young Nigerian author gives a beautiful, elegant, and at times hilarious talk about the danger of believing a single, narrow story about anything or anyone,” says Verghese. “My favorite anecdote: When she arrived at college in the U.S., her roommate asked to hear some of her ‘tribal music.’ Chimamanda pulled out a Mariah Carey CD.”

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
“An essential talk for all young women! Cuddy is a psychologist and Harvard Business School professor who explains how our posture and body language shape not only how others see us but how we see ourselves,” says Verghese.

Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the Intelligence, Passion, Greatness of Girls
“The Nobel Prize winner from Liberia shares powerful stories about the unlocked potential of girls worldwide, who are still far from [being] treated as equal citizens,” says Verghese.

Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
“This blockbuster talk came out of one of our TEDx events in Houston,” says Verghese. “Brené’s take on vulnerability—and why it’s essential to our relationships and to our success—has won her millions of fans worldwide.”

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius
“The author of Eat, Pray, Love offers unconventional advice on how to nurture your own creativity,” says Verghese. “Her advice: Take some pressure off yourself, but never stop creating.”

Courtney Martin: Reinventing Feminism
“A beautifully heartfelt talk, she describes the three paradoxes that define her generation’s question to define the term [feminism] for themselves,” says Verghese.

Angela Patton: A Father-Daughter Dance…in Prison
“The is the amazing and moving story of a group of preteen girls who organized a father-daughter dance in the prison where their fathers were incarcerated,” says Verghese. “I wept.”

Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight
“Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a neuroscientist who observed her own stroke as it was happening. This is one of the most popular TED talks of all time,” says Verghese.

Cynthia Breazeal: The Rise of Personal Robots
This MIT professor “talks about her love of robots—which began when she saw Star Wars as a girl (R2D2!)—and new kind of intelligent, personal robots she designs,” says Verghese.

Under the Cover of Cowardice

Mrs. B. Carter

Mrs. B. Carter

The recent incident of a fan degrading Beyoncé by slapping her buttocks has brought this unsavory topic into the open again. According to Yahoo.com, Mrs. Carter was performing in Copenhagen, Denmark, when a man slapped her derriere.The

 

New Zealand Herald reported that the famed singer chastised the reprobate with “I will have you escorted out right now, all right?” My situation was similar but different in a frustrating way.

My daughter and I used to go to Disney World every December (to avoid the spring break and summer exodus to Florida). Unwilling to deal with the hassle of securing a hotel room, I bought a time-share property. On one of those trips, we had just exchanged pleasantries with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I turned to walk away. The pervert hiding under the Mickey Mouse cowardice slapped my buttocks.

Like Beyoncé, my initial reaction was disbelief that someone had the audacity to touch my body. Turning around instinctively and ready to deal the lascivious idiot a consequence, my trauma worsened when the Mickey Mouse debaucher began prancing with glee and laughing loudly. Myriad emotions chased themselves on my face.

Parents and children watched. I felt helpless to give in to my instinct of doling him what he deserved. My daughter watched petrified that I would deck Mickey Mouse, that (she told me later)  she would be known as the child whose mother beat up Mickey Mouse.

The anger that blazed in my eyes and my taut body that bucked threateningly at the leech seemed to increase his depraved joy. My inability to take any course of action elevated my anger. I sold the time share. That was the last time I took my daughter to Disney World.

Regardless of the word used to describe this criminal act, (“Eve teasing” in India), touching someone without invitation is offensive and invasive, what I call body trespassing. Like all trespassing crimes, the offended has the right to take suitable actions to protect body and self-worth.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “It is unlawful to harass a person because of (that person’s) gender through unwelcome sexual advances… and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature…”

Perverts steal innocence and damage joy fast. No one can understand the gamut of emotions running through a person’s mind when another human violates the sanctity of his or her body.

The last of those emotions is regret. I should have sued Disney World for employing a miscreant, a deviant who not only violated my person but who violated children’s innocence and their belief in the sanctity of the (perceived) marriage institution of Mr. Mickey and Mrs. Minnie Mouse.

I should have sued Disney World. Beyoncé could sue the harasser, but he might be a penniless buffoon. Also, the legal demand on her time would steal the joy of spending valuable time with Jay-Z and Blue Ivy. Why bother with a riff-raff? 

Does Lack of Education Kill?

That seems to be one of the findings of a recent study published on Monday, March 4, 2013, by two University of Wisconsin researchers, David Kindig and Erika Cheng.

It used to be common knowledge that women outlived men by several years, but that gap seems to be narrowing. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press states that the average life span for a baby girl born today is 81, and for a baby boy, it’s 76. The gap has been narrowing. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows women’s longevity is not growing at the same pace as men’s.

This phenomenon of some women losing ground appears to have begun in the late 1980s, though studies have begun to spotlight it only in the last few years,” Stobbe explains.

http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=587Kindig and Cheng poured over federal death data and other information to discover that among the 3,141 U.S. counties over a 10-year span, mortality rates for women age 75 and younger is on the rise. These deaths were considered “premature deaths” because many of them are considered preventable.

What’s largely to blame? Lack of  education! As a veteran social studies teacher, I deciphered statistical data for many countries as recorded in the CIA World Factbook. I, Frances Ohanenye, arrived at this conclusion: Countries with low literacy rates have high adult and infant mortality rates. The studies by Kindig, Murray, and others confirm what I have surmised all these years.

A similar study undertaken by Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington two years ago found that women in the South who did not finish high school were dying at a high rate.

According to Stobbe, other studies with a similar focus found that life expectancy seems to be growing for more educated and affluent women. Some experts also have identified smoking or obesity among women as factors dragging down life expectancy.

“The study is the latest to spot this pattern, especially among disadvantaged white women. Some leading theories blame higher smoking rate, obesity, and less education,” Stobbe explains.

Lack of education has been linked to increase in the HIV epidemic in the South and researchers continue to document positive relationship between high level of education and health. Other studies are throwing in the effects of recent recession and astronomical unemployment rates in the mix to determine the impact of these economic components on education and age on mortality.

Confession of a Watch Lover

With the arrival of the New Year, everyone has a heightened awareness of time. People are making all sorts of resolutions with deadlines on how and when to accomplish those goals. I have all kinds of opinions about time because of my ambiguous relationship with it now. But more than those ambivalent connections, I still respect and admire time. Evidence of that admiration is my ownership of several watches.

I used to own many watches, 14 at one time, to coordinate and complement my outfits, but I must confess that, that relationship has gone awry. I have allowed my emotion for time pieces to fall by the way side. Time was when I used to race to the nearest store to buy batteries for my watches lest they failed to keep accurate time.

I confess that I have allowed time to steal away the importance of time from me. (Every fun intended here.) Time is ubiquitous now. Every appliance is equipped with the measurement for the passing of intervals. Every technological invention comes with an LCD heralding the stages of life slipping away without notice.

Frances' watches

Frances’ watches

I confess that my watches now sit expired. The hour, minute, and second hands are as still and as noiseless as a dead mouse. Granted, I still wear them, but they have lost their functionality. They just sit on my arm, an adornment for fashion only.

This laptop that is pounding away is equipped with time. My cell phone has an alarm and a clock built into it, my clock-radio has clock, the television has a clock on the lower right hand corner and across the chart that shows programs featured or forthcoming, the microwave, stove, big clock in the hallway, the car, printer, DVD player, and numerous other pieces have stolen the functionality of the watch as the keeper of time for those on the go.

I guess one could look at it as division of labor, but I look at the watch as a fashion accessory and no longer as a time keeper since I hardly consult it to keep me informed of my obligations since the one on my wrist is woefully silent. I do not know that I would use the word love anymore when I refer to watches. Once upon a time, I really had a huge admiration for watches because of their multi-purpose in making us feel important.

I admired a well-dressed man who twisted his arm with drama just to make the world behold the expensive specimen on his wrist. I still admire him for raising my temperature and for being fashionable, but the watch, alas, does not raise my eyebrow or temperature as it did once, not even the expensive Rolex, not anymore. My watches now serve as a second bangle or bracelet on my left wrist. Like Muhammad Ali said in a famous commercial, “My face is so pretty, I deserve two” (watches). I certainly deserve two bracelets: one of them a watch and the other a bracelet.