Archive | Publicity/Marketing

I’m a columnist for The Seattle Times!

mastheadI’m super excited, y’all. I just started writing a jobs column for The Seattle Times! I’ll be writing about how to navigate the gig economy, workplace trends and culture, that sort of thing. And while I may have to do some research to stay current, I do know a thing or two. I’ve been a freelancer for a loonnnnggg time, which is remarkable for several reasons.

But the main reason is that I’m a wuss. Running your own business is not for the faint of heart. I’m risk-adverse so quitting a full-time position as a publishing executive was not exactly an easy decision. On the side, I had co-authored a New York Times best-seller, even winding up on the Today Show. I should have been as cocky as a Kardashian. But I was trembling in my high-heeled boots. Working in publishing, I had a deep Rolodex (yep, I just dated myself right there) and lined up four gigs writing work-for-hire (i.e., non-royalty) manuscripts for various book publishers and packagers. I figured that money would sustain me for a while and if not, I could find another FTE job in publishing.

That was fifteen years ago.

I somehow made it work. Since then, I’ve had some lean times and some shit jobs. I’ve written thousands of product descriptions, I’ve given lectures at colleges around the country to sometimes-empty auditoriums, I went without a car for years and health insurance for months. I’ve put in my 10,000 hours writing, often at a regressive hourly rate. Living the dream sometimes means getting creative, staying hungry, and remaining humble. I may be a New York Times-bestselling author, but I still have to figure out how to make rent.

But on the flip side, I became nimble. I figured out my personal brand and built a solid author platform. I’ve developed a network both broad and deep (which is how I nabbed The Seattle Times gig). And I’m bringing all that juicy experience to the table to talk about thriving in the current economy.

My first column covers the often pesky but always absurd issue of bizspeak. Because I want to help, I share my tips for how to get granular on your industry’s vernacular and skill up in no time. You can read the column here.

How to host a public reading

I was thrilled to be invited to write a post for Hedgebrook’s blog. I discussed the terror and the thrill that comes with sharing new work. And I offer up concrete tips for hosting your own public reading.

Reading from my work-in-progress puts me one step further on my path to publishing my memoir. Setting up a reading is, in some ways, straight-up event planning, something that appeals to the OCD detail-oriented control freak in me. But as someone stepping up to the mic as well, I find it brings insecurities and fears to the surface. My post addresses all of this, giving concrete tips for planning a great event for both readers and listeners and offering up ways to ensure that the event moves the needle forward on your project, rather than scratching it.

And if you don’t know Hedgebrook, you should. It’s a magical, mystery place for women writers on Whidbey Island. A literary nonprofit, their mission is to support visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. Hedgebrook offers writing residencies, master classes and salons. In other words, it’s the shit. I want to go to there.

Have you read from your work? How’d it go? Any tips you’d like to share?

 

A few thoughts about the author platform

As an author and a publishing consultant, I have more than a few thoughts about the importance of a strong author platform. Through the Business of Books, my partner Kerry Colburn and I talk a lot about publicity and promotion on our site. And I was recently asked to write a guest post for Five Writers, a blog maintained by, yes, five writers. My friend Brad Windhauser is one of them (check out his blog, The Bible Project, where he chronicles his journey through reading the Bible); he asked me to offer advice to authors looking to create a platform.

I jumped at the chance.

Years ago, I was interviewed by the arts editor for my town’s weekly. I talked about the various books I had published, the writing process, and my philosophy on promotion. I believe I said, “Writing the book is only half of my job as the author. Promoting it is the other half.”

That guy didn’t get me, didn’t get that publishing is a business that requires authors to think and perform beyond their manuscripts.

Times have changed and these days, if you’re an author and not promoting your book in every possible way, you are setting yourself up to fail. Editors and agents are looking for authors who can sell their book idea and themselves. When you pitch your book proposal, you want to highlight your terrific writing plus the connections you have to personally help sell and promote the book.

So if you want six tips to start building a solid author platform, check out my post at Five Writers.

Create Your Own PITF Haiku Deck & Win a Copy of TIWTPITF!

Things I Want to Punch in the Face and Haiku Deck are like peanut butter and chocolate. In other words, the perfect combination. A new app for iPad, Haiku Deck allows you to create powerful presentations, using royalty-free images and bold graphics (check out the original PITF Haiku Deck here; it’s hilar). I love a good contest so in conjunction with Haiku Deck, we are asking you to create your own personal Things I Want to Punch in the Face Haiku Deck for a chance to win a copy of Things I Want to Punch in the Face.


Here’s how it works: 

  1. Download the Haiku Deck iPad app here.
  2. Between now and December 21, think of at least five things you are itching to punch in the face this holiday season. Hate your mother-in-law, your neighbor’s outdoor Christmas decorations, crappy regifts? Detail it all through words and images. Using your iPad, type in what you want to punch and then access Haiku Deck’s image database to find a good fit for your fury.
  3. Once you’ve completed your deck, send me the link at jen@jenniferworick.com (include your name and e-mail) and I’ll post the deck on the blog, using your first name only.
  4. After December 21, I’ll select a winner and announce it on the blog. You’ll win a free copy of Things I Want to Punch in the Face, just in time for Christmas!

What goes up…

This has been a week of ups and downs, I’m not gonna lie. Mostly ups, I’m happy to report. My SoCal Punch Parties were a rollicking good time, with honest-to-God stand-up comedians gracing the stage. I was just happy to be their warm-up act. College friend and perpetual genius Tom Franck (seen punching me at right), super-nice and IMDB-as-long-as-my-arm Steve Skrovan and The Dylan Brody (who wears the hell out of a vest) got punchy last night at The York while Knock Knock founder Jen Bilik, stand-up Kevin Garbee, and author Judy Rothman of The Neurotic Parent’s Guide to College Admissions were among those who took the mic on Saturday night at Vidiots Annex and made it their, well, you know. The magical thing about these parties is that when people get up and air their grievance(s), others want to join in. It jogs their memory or lights their ire.

This is a book that brings people together.

Having thrown four Punch Parties now, I’ve seen this happen over and over. People get up and share or they come up to me and let it rip. It’s fantastic. This has happened at trade shows as well. I’ve been to three bookseller conferences—Book Expo America, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association—and booksellers and librarians want to join the party as well. From amazon to seedless watermelons, everyone has something they want to punch in the face.

Again, this is a book that brings people together.

And I’m hoping it brings Seattlites together this Friday, as we gather at Queen Anne Books for a final Seattle Punch Party and a  goodbye to Queen Anne Books, which is closing its charming doors on October 31. It somehow seems fitting that one of the final events in the store (which hopefully will find a new owner) will focus on airing your grievances. I certainly want to punch the current climate in the face that leads to small business owners having to shutter their bookstores. Online competition, e-books, the shopping habits of the average America, the economy—all these things have been monumental challenges for the local bookshop. When Things I Want to Punch in the Face hit the market, I sought out all the independent bookstores in town and worked to make each event as personal and community-based as a barn-raising or a quilting bee.

But unlike Ma and Pa Ingalls, there are myriad options for a Friday night and just as many avenues for purchasing the book. So it comes down inviting you to a good-old-fashioned barn-burner of an event, one where you can connect over commonalities, laugh, and build community.

Remember, this is a book that brings people together. It’s bringing people together this Friday, October. 26 at 6:30 at Queen Anne Books, right at the top of Queen Anne Hill. Come out and soak the punch-drunk love.

We want YOU…as a punch recruit

It’s been a, ahem, full few weeks promoting TIWTPITF. And we’re far from done! In Seattle, we’ve hosted two amazing Punch Parties with loads of talented people showing up to read their own rants and play a saucy game of “Punch in the Face or Make Out With.” Last night, as part of Seattle’s Lit Crawl, I was on a Funny Ladies panel reading a Seattle-specific Punch in the Face rant. Needless to say, it was high-larious (as were all of the other talented women on the panel).

But wait, there’s more!

I’m now in Southern California for a weekend of punch-drunk love. Bring a rant to tomorrow’s Punch Party at Vidiots Annex or Sunday’s Punch Party at The York in Highland Park. Things get under way at both venues at 6pm. Bring a friend, bring a diatribe, bring yourself! If you’re interested in coming out and punching something, here’s the deal:

  • I’ll introduce you briefly (let me know if there’s anything I should mention; I’m all for promoting your stuff too!)
  • You’ll read your own PITF (loudly, with feeling and hopefully with wild gesticulations)
  • Your PITF should be a couple of paragraphs or about 200 words, so we can make sure everyone who wants to share has time (if you really need to get something off your chest and take 10 minutes, so be it; I won’t bring out the hook)
  • I don’t need to see your PITF in advance
  • It will be fun!

And if you’re in Seattle or Portland, never fear. Punch Parties are coming your way on October 26 (Queen Anne Books in Seattle) and November 9 (Powells at Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton).

With the holidays breathing down our necks, now is the time to ease the pain by picking up signed copies of TIWTPITF for your stocking stuffers, hostess gifts and Secret Santa presents. It really does have something for everyone.

Check out all my upcoming events here.

(photos: My publisher Colleen Dunn Bates and I checking out the book at the Pasadena Urban Outfitters)

Punch Party: Secret Garden Books

The Punch Party train pulled into Secret Garden Books last Friday and a great time was had by all. Who knew punching could be so much fun?

Me.

Yep, just as the blog struck a chord when I started it, so too has the book found its audience. I read a few of  my favorite posts from the book and then invited friends to share their own prepared or impromptu rants. Michaela talked about Seattle’s perpetual “let’s get together”, Janice bitched out the mood lighting in restaurant bathrooms, Kerry punched the whole “body after baby” tabloid stories (“that asshole Giselle” is still making me giggle), and Kathy went off on the invasive insects in Africa who raid her panty drawer. See, the things to punch in the face are as deep and wide as ever.

We then picked three contestants to play a fun round of “Punch in the Face or Make Out With,” with Laurel taking home the prize.

It really was a magical evening and because I like pushing my luck, I’m doing it again and again. You can join the Punch Party this Thursday night at 7pm at U Bookstore and on Oct. 26 at 6:30 at Queen Anne Books. I hope to see you there!

Things I Want to Punch in the Face Haiku Deck

The talented marketing whiz Catherine Fisher Carr of Secret Sauce Creative (follow her @MamaTweeta) created this awesome Haiku Deck for the book’s publication.


Haiku Deck allows you to create cool meme-like slideshows on your iPad. Even better, when you key in your text, it will pull high-quality, Creative Commons-licensed photos for you to choose from. Rad.

Join the Punch Party

You are cordially invited to participate in a Punch Party. I’m setting up Punch Parties/Book Signings to promote TIWTPITF and I’d love for you to participate! Here’s how it works: I’ll read a few posts from Things I Want to Punch in the Face and then cede the floor to you. Write your own short PITF essay and read it at the event.

  • Have a bad dinner at a supposedly good restaurant?
  • Tired of rude or terrible drivers?
  • Can’t stop griping about a recent trainwreck of a trip?

Bring it on. We’ll have an open mic forum at the events, punch and snacks, and some sort of game. It will be a hoot, I promise! And we’ll all feel better for collectively smacking down the little things in life that bug! And if you haven’t done this sort of thing before, this is your opportunity to test out your comic chops in front of a receptive audience!

Scheduled Punch Parties include:

  • October 5: Secret Garden Books, Seattle, WA
  • October 11: University Bookstore, Seattle, WA
  • October 21: The York, Los Angeles, CA
  • October 26: Queen Anne Books, Seattle, WA

Interested? Let me know via e-mail which event you’d like to attend and we can get you on the roster (and if you’re an author, your books in the store).

Presales bode well for Punch in the Face

I’ve always said that writing my books are only half of my job. As an author, it’s also my responsibility to do everything I can to promote, market, and handsell each title for optimal sales performance. See, I love seeing my name in print (I’m as vain and proud as they come) but if the only copies are the author copies on my shelf, there’s not much point. I want to share what I’ve created with as many people as possible. That means beefing up my amazon page, reaching out to local booksellers, seeking out every media opportunity, and trying to walk that fine line of annoying and motivating my social media networks with my frequent posts.

Of course, I do this in cooperation with my publishers. Ideally, in the world of book publicity, you want to create a blitz of publicity and marketing in a two-week period when the book first hits stores. The more media hits you get, the likelier that a potential book-buyer will hear about your book in more than one place. I think there’s a belief that you have to see something in seven places before it sticks in your grey matter. Two weeks isn’t much time to make this happen so we are working now for Things I Want to Punch in the Face’s October publicity date. We’ve set August 23 as the amazon preorder date; ordering one or several copies on this date will help amazon’s algorithmic ordering system to take notice of the book. I’m also setting up book events in Seattle bookstores and beyond. We are reaching out to long-lead media for hits in publications, on radio, and online (and if you have any suggestions or contacts for media, I’m all ears!).

I think we’ve got a shot at getting this particular book into a lot of hands (that’s my cautiously optimistic way of saying we could sell a buttload of books). My publisher (Prospect Park Media) called me today to let me know that Urban Outfitters, a purveyor of hip, funny gift books, nearly doubled their initial order, sending us back to press for a second printing. And the books just hit the warehouse this week! The books haven’t even hit the market and we’re reprinting. That’s pretty darn cool. And it makes this part of my job a little easier.