Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Troubled Spirits

Teri Lee 

Teri Lee with her new book, Troubled Spirits.
Teri Lee (AKA Teri Ridlon) is a never-give-up, dig-deep-into-your-gut sort of person. Inspirational. Motivational. A true keeper of a friend who, because of her relentless determination, has sculpted her creativity into a newly published book called Troubled Spirits.

Her story, published by Black Rose Writing, is about teen, Annie Waters, and her encounters with the spiritual realm. It’s a book that has you hooked from the very first page. 

But if getting a book published isn’t formidable enough, Teri is now meeting the challenge of the marketing aspect of being an author. She was excited to share insight into her own journey…

Why a ghost story?
Troubled Spirits was inspired by a few of my former co-workers. They were planning on a ghost excursion into one of the older hospital buildings. When they invited me I almost said no.  And then I thought it might be fun to tag along and maybe get some story ideas. I had just finished a middle grade fantasy novel and until that moment wasn't sure what I was going to write next. Even though we never ventured on any actual excursions, the story had already taken hold in my imagination. 

What have you learned on this journey to publishdom?
Editing, marketing and preparing for a new book can consume you. For a while it was hard to find time to write. I realized I needed to set time limits on editing and marketing, otherwise, Troubled Spirits would end up being my one and only book.

Favorite part of this journey?
Working with INHAUS Productions on the book trailer was the most fun.  I loved watching the process and I developed a whole new level of respect for the patience that it takes.  I was so impressed with the energy the teens from Monmouth Academy put into the filming.

Most daunting/haunting aspect?
Marketing. I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to small talk. But I couldn't see a way to be successful without stepping out of my nice little introvert bubble! What I know about marketing isn't much.  But I did attend a workshop at the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers andIllustrators) this past year that helped. That's where I set my goals.

The first step in marketing my book has been talking about it.  I started talking about writing at work and when they'd ask, I'd slip people the first couple chapters of my book. I let them take it home, show their friends, etc. But I never gave them more, no matter how they pleaded.  Although, I did consider breaking this rule with one nurse.  She lives a mile from Stephen King. I told her I'd give her the entire book on the spot if she could get Mr King to write a blurb for the back cover. 

Part of online marketing included a book trailer. Using media to get the attention of readers made sense to me. So I watched lots of book trailers and I discovered that some were pictures, music and words and others were 'moving people'. I felt like the 'moving people' option was way out of reach until I sat down with Kyle, the owner of INHAUS Productions.  I gave him excerpts from my story that I felt gave the reader a glimpse of what the book was about. After he read them, he said Troubled Spirits deserved a 'moving people' trailer. And then I waited while Kyle worked his magic and turned a scattering of scenes into the Troubled Spirits book trailer.

The next phase of online marketing includes a blog tour. I started researching bloggers of YA novels and once again I was overwhelmed. Then I talked to another Black Rose author, Judy Serrano, and she told me there are companies that set up blog tours. After a bit of research, I chose Enchanted BookPromotions.  I scheduled the tour and a release party.  Mine is coming right up on September 4th. The blog tour begins on September 11th and will include book reviews, author interviews and character interviews.  Troubled Spirits will make at least 20 online appearances for the next thirty days.

The last part of my marketing plan is the press release. I have three versions. A digital version with links to the trailer, my website, and the various places to purchase Troubled Spirits online. The print version has all the same information, but obviously the websites are written out. I will be sending this out to book stores, radio stations, newspapers and teachers.

I am doing free school visits in Maine and New Hampshire until the end of the year.  When I schedule a book signing, I plan on providing the local school with information about the signing. After all, that's my target audience.

I know there's a lot more to marketing, but this is where I'm starting.  

Advice for other writers....
Keep writing. Don't be afraid to re-write. Be receptive to critiques, but remember in the end it's your story.  And start planning how you'll market your story when you start writing it! 

**Troubled Spirits is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Black Rose Writing web sites.**

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