I am happy to welcome guest contributor Lyn Fairchild Hawks. I interviewed Lyn last year about her process for finding an agent. (She sent 150 queries!) This year Lyn has moved forward with publishing her novel without agent representation and explains her experience crafting a book trailer below. Take a look at her book trailer—the trailer is released on 11/16 in Chapel Hill and Lyn discusses her upcoming premiere too. (In the style of six-degrees-of-separation, I volunteered in 2009 and 2010 at Durham’s Full Frame Film Festival with the gentleman who happens to be the director Lyn hired!) Look for Lyn’s next guest post in December when she will share her book-to-film experience.
Book Trailer Investment
Guest Post by Lyn Fairchild Hawks
This Saturday, November 16 at 2:00 PM will be the premiere of the trailer for my YA novel, How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought. It’s the work of screenwriter and playwright Paul Sapp, director Nic Beery of Emmy-nominated Beery Media, composer Jay Manley, and several fine North Carolina actors and crew. When you invest love and labor in something, you have to throw a party. And what better place than indie bookstore Flyleaf Books?
I could have gone a simpler, cheaper route—a flip camera plus iMovie or Animoto. Instead, I chose an ambitious road that leads straight into the community. In other words, I dream big, and I can do this thanks to the village.
As a self-published author, I’ve accepted I’ll always need a team: Foundations to fund my work with grants and prizes; writer groups and beta readers to tell me the truth; graphic designers and copyeditors to make my books beautiful and readable; independent bookstores to house my books and hold my events; and a support team of friends and family who believe in my dream. I’m also part of a co-operative, True North Writers & Publishers, with a mission to support and nurture literary work from inception through sales. On Saturday the 16th, I’ll appear with my True North colleague, David Frauenfelder, steampunk fantasy author.
I haven’t yet mentioned marketing. My investment in a trailer is a business strategy to get my book known. I could have chosen to spend money on a publicist. Instead, David and I write our own press releases, we contact bookstores, he builds our Twitter following, and I arrange my own tours. I chose to create a commercial for my book, and I opted to design something beautiful and professional.
Now the cast and crew have become part of my marketing team. They are artists who might never have otherwise heard of my book who brought my work to life in another medium. It’s art we all want to share. As the trailer takes its blog tour, these artists will gain more recognition while they make my book visible.
You can measure your marketing by dollars, or you can view it as long-term investment. Building a fan base—one that’s invested—takes outreach and time. The same principle fuels Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the crowdfunding sites, or Wattpad, a collaborative platform where writers swap manuscripts. When authors reach out for help from fellow artists and fans, we make lifelong connections, and our art gets better.
Now the trailer has a premiere thanks to Flyleaf Books and several virtual homes thanks to hosts such as Tara Lynne Groth. When I return to Write Naked December 6, I’ll report on how many hits and sales resulted. I’m banking on a slow, upward climb in my work’s visibility.
In the mythology of DIY, there’s romance in the vision of lone author laboring in candle-lit garret till one day she’s showered with glory. Yet writing has never truly been a practice of sequester, then sell: It’s always taken a village to birth a book, whether a traditional house or self-created team, and always will. Authoring is more team sport than ever in this connected, collaborative age. When you invest in great art along with the village, we’re all lifted up.
Join the Giveaway for a free copy of
How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought
Lyn Fairchild Hawks is the author of the YA novel, How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought, and a collection of short stories, The Flat and Weightless Tang-Filled Future. She is also author of several works for educators. In the last few years, she has won a James Jones First Novel Fellowship prize and an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. As Lyn is married to a musician, Greg Hawks, and stepmom to Henry, an aspiring filmmaker, their Chapel Hill home hums with the soundtracks of clawhammer banjo, classic films, and chattering computer keys.