Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Power of the Verbal Business Card, Part 1

Savvy Writer Article #1202 by DENISE MILLER HOLMES

Wherever you go, as a writer you need to promote yourself. You will especially need to promote when you are  engaging editors and agents at conferences. ALWAYS be ready to tell people what you do as a writer–and keep it to thirty seconds or less.

A dynamite way to do this is with a verbal business card. It’s very much like the “elevator pitch” you practice for your books, but it’s about you.

When asked what they do, most writers say, “I am a writer,” or, “I write romance novels,” or “I write historical non-fiction,” etc.  This response is somewhat interesting, but it doesn’t  grab. Proponents of the verbal business card say that you need to hook the listener, much like you hook the reader at the beginning of a novel.

Here is what a VBC does–it discards bland verbs like “I write” or “I am” and uses exciting verbs instead such as build, craft, teach, inform, manage, design, construct, generate, train, guide, establish, mentor, regulate, develop, structure, organize, etc.

The reason these verbs work better is they are verbs used to describe what authorities do. Teachers are authorities in our society. People who construct and train and design and regulate all have authority. Writers? Not so much. :D

Notice how much more powerful these statements are than “I am a writer”:

“I craft futuristic mystery stories that inform readers about social issues in an entertaining way.”

“I teach people who hate gardening how to care for their gardens in five easy steps  so they have more time to enjoy Life.”

If you are a Christian writer, here are more examples:

“I inform Christian women through my romance novels about God’s love, so they can find a deeper happiness.”

“I design materials for Sunday schools that helps primary-school-age children understand how to have a walk with God.”

“I teach teenagers about history through non-fiction that emphasizes the biblical worldview so they make constructive decisions.”

There are two more things we need to look at when writing a VBC–specificity and benefit.  These will be covered in Part 2.

If you enjoyed this article, you will also like Market YOU Before Your Book: A Lesson in Passive Marketing


Market YOU Before Your Book: A Lesson in Passive Marketing

Savvy Writer Article #1201 by DENISE MILLER HOLMES

BAD NEWS. You’ve been told  publishing houses don’t market books anymore, they expect the author to do it.  A feeling of being overwhelmed envelops you as you ponder the new career you must add on to your writing–marketing. Typically, you handle this by learning how to market your books and your books alone. But a new wisdom is here. Writers need to market themselves before they ever market their books.

This is problematic for you. As a typical writer, you have a terrible time getting out there and letting people see you. What you want is to push your book in front of your face and say, “Don’t look at me. See this fabulous book and buy it. It wrote itself.”

But, the biggest authors get their names out there FIRST, before they ever have a book.

Passive Marketing is about doing things that get your name (and later, your products) out there in the public eye without overtly asking for the sale. It includes things such as distributing business cards (yes, a writer should have a business card); speaking to organizations; filling out profiles for Yahoo, Google, Blogger, and any place that asks; a professional head shot to put on your blog, your business cards, and your profiles; writing a blog; and actively presenting yourself on Facebook and Twitter, and, if you ghostwrite or speak–LinkedIn.

Please don’t think these things are a waste of time. They are very powerful. But, they are only the first step. You HAVE to get your name and presence out there in the public eye, or any active marketing you do later will fall flat. Of all the things listed above, I think speaking is the most powerful.

Overcoming your resistance to being SEEN is probably the hardest obstacle for you the writer to conquer. You may go through tough denial. You may think that you will be the one who writes the book that becomes the bestseller the minute it hits the shelves. It won’t happen!

But, you can choose to conquer your fear of being out there. When you do, the world will open to you.

If you like this article, you may also like The Power of the Verbal Business Card, Part I because a VBC is a vital part of Passive Marketing.

This article is similar to one published in Denise Miller Holmes author blog  Writing Adventures– Passive Marketing Lesson for January 17th Writers’ Guild.