This is the second edition of our Authored series. The first was written by Dilara Hafiz, who wrote "The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook" with her two kids. The point of this series, as we noted earlier, is to allow authors the chance to hold forth on the unseemly promotional end of getting a book out. Given the economic downturn, and the onslaught of social networking media like Facebook, the possibilities of marketing a book have contracted greatly on one hand while expanding on the other. If you're an author or even someone with a book lurking in the back of their mind, we're hoping this will become a good resource. And if you have a book coming out soon, please let us know.
Minal Hajratwala's "Leaving India: My Family's Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents" is coming out on March 18, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (here's her website). Minal's a former journalist with the San Jose Mercury News, as well as a self-described "performer, poet and queer activist," who documented how and why her extended family left their ancestral lands in Gujarat for the far corners of the earth, over the course of a century.
Here she writes about how she's doing the standard book readings as well as exploiting social networking sites and developing a video trailer on her book. She also gets into the advantages of being an author with a journalistic background, and the perils of wearing a red sari for your promotional photo.
Marketing "Leaving India" - by Minal Hajratwala
- You know what it's like inside a newsroom and how decisions get made. Author friends of mine who have a more creative writing/MFA/lit background are befuddled by the media and tend to take things more personally.
- You actually know journalists who might cover the book.
- You have a sense of audience and of how to pitch the book. Although my publicist is doing most of the direct pitching, I've been able to help her by making initial contact with people in my own networks and by writing some of the pitch language for key letters.
- You have the opportunity to reach a wider audience by writing op-ed pieces and the like. I'm not doing this yet, but it will be something to consider after this initial launch phase.
- You can function on deadline, without agonizing over every word of an email, without rehearsing every phone call. You have years of daily training in just doing it.
--by Minal Hajratwala
Minal will be reading in New York, DC, California over the next few weeks - check out her tour dates.
Earlier: "Authored: Dilara Hafiz on 'The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook'"