Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Anti-Marketing Plan

I turned to a radio station that happened to broadcast an interview of a writer. No names, just "she". 

She'd written a screenplay for a movie then directed it. Intrigued by the whole process and interested in the movie plot, I listened. To my surprise I wound up learning more than the host had probably intended. 

What I learned was the best Anti-Marketing Plan.

*Interruption.  This host had interviewed thousands of people in the past. Very successfully, with a Barbara Walter's flare. I don't think anyone could have done a better job in this circumstance.

The show's host asked her guest, "Tell us about your movie."

The director/writer said: "I don't want to say what the story is because I don't want to spoil it for anyone."

Host: "Okay" (she dragged that word out.) "Can you tell us who the story is about?"

The writer: "Well, you see, if I were to tell you any part of the story, even a snippet, I would give away the story. The people will just have to come and see the movie. They'll love it."

Host: "That certainly is your choice." Pause. Paper rustling. "I see you have hired some professional and non professional actors to play the roles. How did you go about finding these non professional actors?"

The writer' sparked some excitement as she shared how she found and hired everyday people to play several roles. 

Great! The writer was talking. This could be the turn around.

Even the host showed the same excitement. When the guest paused the host enthusiastically said: "So, in the movie, a teen daughter has a scene where she isn't getting along with her father. Tell us what was going on."

Guest: "Well, I don't really want to tell you about the problem. You see, if I were to discuss the scene, or the character and her development, the audience wouldn't have any surprises during the movie, now would they? There is also the chance someone could get the complete wrong impression, or take the story idea. No. I don't think I can tell any part of the story."

The diligent host grasped at straws trying to fill the empty air time. She asked questions about the guest's life that led to this story. 

The guest shared passionately about her life, laughing as she regaled tales of childhood for at least ten minutes before the commercial break. 

This was part one of the interview. 
Fortunately, I reached my destination and missed the second half. 

That night, the station announced a repeat of the segment. Ah, no. I didn't want to hear that interview again. Except, this time, a man spoke right away. He had seen the movie. His review would follow the commercial. I listened. In his opinion segment, he told the highlights, basic plot, teasers, and actually made the movie quite intriguing. He was funny and crafted hooks to draw listeners to want to see the movie. 

Now, this may seem like I made up this story.

Nope. It was a real interview aired in October.

What causes a writer to not want to share the plot, the character's struggles, or even a hook about their story?

1. We get nervous. We are convinced we will blow it. We'll say something stupid or mix up the story and say too much or not tell our own story right. Best idea...say nothing. So we don't.

2. We're sure someone will take our story idea. Someone who has contacts and can get their book published first. Or, worst yet, write our story better than us. Better to protect our story in silence.

3. We love being in our own hermit world. Leaving the comfort of just us is risking so very much. Truly talking to people is difficult. Most writers tend to shy away from real people. Sigh, but we must chat with real people.

4. Eeyore syndrome. Why bother, no one will like my story except my family anyway (and a few of us wonder if our family members are just being nice) Yeah. We've all had Eeyore syndrome. The thought that breaks me free of this is remembering God is the one who asked me to write. If I work hard then others will like my stories.

It is scary to promote our work. 

Marketing is hard. 

We'd rather be writing the story.

Here is a cup of hot chocolate...to stir your soul and encourage you to tell others about about your stories. Go ahead! Post a comment, briefly sharing your WIP (work in progress).

I can't wait to read your comment(s)!

Help others--tweet or FB share this post


Rock climbing, white-water rafting, zip lining, and hiking top Mary's list of great ways to enjoy a day. Such adventures can be found in her stories as well.

Mary writes young adult mystery/suspense, is honing marketing and writing skills, and loves to pen missionary and tell Bible event stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids. She has finaled in several writing contests.

Visit Mary at her websiteblog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter

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Teresa Tysinger said...

Wow, how interesting. I wonder if this author has an agent and what the agent and/or publisher would say about her approach to the interview. I can understand her hesitancy, but so agree with what you said. We've got to tease the readers enough to spark interest.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Publishers, editors, and agents all have told us, we are the best marketers of our product because we know it best. Although fans are equally vibrant and are greatly appreciated. :)

Amber Schamel said...

Wow. I could hardly believe you'd actually heard an interview like this. I'm guessing that will make it hard for the author to be invited back on the show. Thanks for sharing. This is a good example of what we authors tend to do (on a less extreme level).

I'm still working on summing up my story ideas in a few words, but here it goes:
My WIP is undergoing it's first self-edit. It's a Civil War Christmas story about a would-be attorney who must risk his ambitions and stand face to face with his greatest fear to save the life of his best friend and bring justice to a dangerous officer.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I know, right? I think we've all been struck with the fear of sharing, but....this interview certainly was a surprise.

Your WIP sounds so exciting. The period. The holiday. The whole idea. Best wishes and can't wait!!