Monday, May 10, 2010

Opportunity Knocks by Malcolm Campbell

Thomas Alva Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

As writers we cannot afford to miss chances to promote our work. We diminish the value of every word we write when there is no effort made to put those words in front of someone else. So why should we ignore those opportunities because it looks like work when we’ve already done the hard work of putting words on paper?

Grab every chance you can to post a blog, guest blog on someone else’s blog, sign a comment, Tweet a new achievement and network both online and in the real world. If you are lucky enough to belong to a community of writers that constantly share information, then welcome their emails, tweets and spoken statements, they are saving you valuable hours of research. By all means reciprocate and share the things that you’ve come across as well.

Grabbing possibilities and opportunities can be both tiring and fulfilling. Recent opportunities that have come across the internet (often via writer’s groups) have included: Blog Jog Day where blogs link to one another and visitors get to travel from one to the next; gatherings where promotional items have been requested for gift bags; BookBuzzer widgets where folks get to sample your novels online before buying; and even game sites where book covers are used instead of game pieces and readers get to (pretend) “cast” well known actors as characters in your novels. All unique, all thinking out of the box, and all with far-reaching and lasting effects.

Some of the more common and yet still effective opportunities to promote your writing is through blogging and social networks. Don’t be a wall flower. If you have a blog, post regularly – and if you don’t have a blog, WHY NOT? Ask your online friends if they accept guest posts on their blogs – or if they would submit a guest post or interview for your blog. The main goal is to drive the traffic to your blog or web-site up because YOUR NAME and TITLES appear on your sites.

Social networking on sites like Facebook, MySpace, Friendster or other more specific forums may seem to be a waste of time to some – but think again. Used wisely, the interaction from posting comments and OCCASIONAL promos will, once again, increase the name recognition. Make sure that you don’t abuse the relationships you make on these networks, show just as much and even more interest in them than you expect for yourself.

Getting publicity through newspapers and other media, and using targeted marketing to increase exposure is a lot easier than most people realize. A fellow VHP Author, Malcolm Campbell, recently related his efforts to publicize his book, The SunSinger and support for a national park. He blogged about the history of the park, always making sure to use specific key words in the “tags”, sent press releases to the regional newspapers, and sent postcards to regional bookstores and interest groups. More importantly, Malcolm publicly linked his book’s story and the history of the park to generate even more interest. An excellent lesson is seizing every opportunity.

Sometimes it is very scary to tackle the opportunities that appear before us – and of course how do we know that the effort involved will have any real pay-off in the end? I wish I had a crystal ball to help me pick and choose where I should invest my energies. The truth is that I don’t think we can really tackle every opportunity that passes before us and certainly not everyone will bear the same fruits – but I will be damned if I’ll let them all get away. Imagine life as a crowded train station with several platforms and trains coming in all at once. It’s impossible to jump into every train car, but if you aren’t willing to try for at least one you are never going to get anywhere. (ok, maybe I am not so good with analogies…)

Carpe Diem!


Chelle Cordero is blessed to be a full-time writer and a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic. She has eight novels published with Vanilla Heart Publishing, short stories in three anthologies and numerous articles in various North American newspapers and magazines. Chelle also teaches an online writing course available through Kindle subscription.


  1. Oh no, you're spreading my secrets hither and yon, Chelle. Actually, almost every novel has a niche, angle, or--in older terms--a news peg.

    Your books often lend themselves to blogs and presentations relating to EMTs. My Sea of Fire novel lends itself to journalism discussions. Many groups--who don't want book reports--are looking for speakers to talk about the subject matter related to a book.

    The possibilities seem to multiply once you start thinking about the parallels and angles.


  2. Yes, we writers tend to be natural born tattle-tales, at least most times we change the names to protect the "innocent", lol.

    It is true, we have to learn to look at everything with a possible angle for promotion - that way we not only jump at opportunities but we also make some of our own.

    Thank you Malcolm for providing us with such a terrific example.


  3. Good points! I'm still in the middle of writing book #1, but it certainly doesn't hurt to try to start building the network now!

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Excellent advice, as always, Chelle. And I thought your train analogy was just fine!

  5. Thank you Miss V for stopping by - by all means get the buzz going about your book now. Best of luck.

    Hi Smoky, I always worry that I am the only one who will understand random analogies, thanks for the ego-boost. ;>



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