Guest Post by Tam May
When I knew I wanted to become a self-published author rather than go the traditional route, I started doing my homework researching the process. I knew promotion and marketing my work would be a challenge. I read articles and books on the subject, gathering information about the options available, everything from online ads to free promotional sites to Facebook release parties and author events. One option that doesn’t come up but that I discovered almost by accident is local opportunities.
By local opportunities, I’m talking media outlets, like newspapers, radio, and TV catering to your local area. This isn’t limited to just the town in which you live. Your entire area (county, state) is rich with opportunities. Also, another place to explore is any area in which you lived or grew up where the community is familiar to you. In addition, any locations in your book, whether you know them personally or not, can yield opportunities.
I discovered the value of local opportunities by accident. Last year, when I decided to self-publish my first book, I put the word out on Facebook. One of my Facebook friends is author and performer Jovelyn Richards.
She emailed me about her radio show, Jovelyn’s Bistro Cover to Cover: Open Book on the Bay Area radio station, KPFA Radio. She offered to give me a space on her show. Although she reached out to me as a friend, her gesture sparked the idea of pursuing other opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area because my fiction is largely set there. I lived in the city for quite a few years and fell in love with it.
It took some juggling but, more than a year later, I had that opportunity to be a guest on Jovelyn’s show, a nerve-wracking but very fun experience that gave me a chance to read from my book and talk about my writing. You can find that recording here.
After this experience, I started to take local opportunities more seriously. I live in West Texas in a small but friendly town, the center of a cluster of very small friendly Texas towns. I’ve lived here on and off since 1994 so I’ve gotten to know the community. One day, I noticed a thin newspaper in the mail called The Metro Leader. It’s one of those newspapers that comes every few months in local residents’ mailboxes with news and features related to the local communities. I sifted through it because there was an article about a local historical event and history always interests me. It was then that I found a “Meet A Local Author” article, a short feature about an author living in one of the nearby towns. At the end of the article was the name and email of the reporter.
I emailed her my media kit, explaining who I was, what my writing was about, and details about my upcoming release, Gnarled Bones and Other Stories. The reporter responded the same day that she would be happy to feature me and my work. The feature will be out this month.
It’s a bit of an irony that we don’t always see what is closest to us. But local opportunities like local newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations can be a rich marketing source for our work.
Tam May was born in Israel but grew up in America. She has a B.A and M.A in English and worked as a teacher before becoming a full-time writer. She started writing when she was 14 and writing became her voice. She writes psychological fiction about characters from the inside out.
For more about Tam May, you can visit her website and sign up for her newsletter here.
Gnarled Bones and Other Stories explores five tales of loss, fear, and guilt where strange and spooky events impact people’s lives in ways that are profound and unchangeable.
In “Mother of Mischief”, a newly divorced woman goes back to school to begin a new chapter of her life only to find herself circling back to where she started. In “Bracelets”, childhood nostalgia mingles with brutal fear during a circus outing for a mailroom secretary and her friends.
In “A First Saturday Outing” *, a lonely woman ventures out of her isolated apartment one quiet Saturday afternoon to an art exhibit that leaves an eerie impression on her psyche*. In “Broken Bows”, a middle-aged violinist reveals the mystery behind his declining artistic powers to a lonely woman on a train. And the title story, “Gnarled Bones”, paints a portrait of the complex bond between an orphaned sister and brother through journal entries and first-person narrative. For these characters, the past leaves its shadow on the present and future.
* This story was featured on Whimsy Gardener’s Storytime With Whimsey and can be found here.
Gnarled Bones and Other Stories is available in paperback and ebook now on Amazon.
5 thoughts on “Local Opportunities – Don’t Overlook Them!”
Performer is a word often left out when describing self-publishing, and almost never talked about. Public speaking, speech writing, knowing how to talk to people at a convention, etc… are very important skills. then you mention a ‘Media kit’, what’s in yours do you have a checklist that can be shared with other indie authors?
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Thanks for the reply, Eric. Regarding media kits, I do not have one as yet. It is on my “to do” list in the coming months. I’ll forward your question to Tam.
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Thank you for your comments! I totally agree that public speaking and knowing how to interact with people is extremely important for self-published authors, since we have to get out there on our own and interact with people directly. I’m shy by nature but I’m lucky that I used to teach college courses so I got used to speaking in front of an audience. I still avoid it when I can, though.
You asked about the media kit. I actually found a great article (link below) that talks about the 8 essential things in a media kit. I basically followed the guidelines. It might seem like a huge pain, for example, to write so many author bios but I found them very helpful, since different sites ask for different bio lengths. So it’s nice to have a file available where I can just copy and paste :-).
Hope that helps!
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Thanks Tam. I’m always looking to improve my media kit and public speaking is not my strongest point.