Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Welcome David Kalish and a Guest Post: " My Shot Gun Wedding with Social Media"

Welcome David Kalish, author of a comedic novel, THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING, with a humorous and, in fact, very realistic guest post on social media. And if you leave a comment, you can win a copy of THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING!!!

My Shot Gun Wedding with Social Media 
By David Kalish
Successful authors, I once believed, focused on what they did best. They wrote. They rearranged words on the page. And once their first novel was accepted for publication, they’d pop the champagne, do a couple of book signings, and work full-bore on their second novel.
That was in my younger and more idealistic days—like, a year ago. My bubble was burst in spring 2013. At the time, WiDo, a small Utah-based publisher, was considering whether to take on my comedic novel, The Opposite of Everything. To be considered, WiDo asked me to submit a promotional blueprint, built around social media, detailing my plans for building an online presence. Creating buzz. What was my strategy for reaching out to reviewers? Garnering media coverage? What about my book tour?
Something inside me rebelled. Doesn’t the publisher do these things? Welcome to the reality of today’s book industry, several authors informed me – especially if the publisher is small and the author unknown. But I wasn’t sure where to even start. My online social presence up to that point consisted of a bare-bones Facebook page with few friends. Would I now become a publicist? For twelve years, as a reporter for The Associated Press, I scolded publicists to stop hounding me. I sometimes hung up the phone on them. Would I become what I once loathed?
I gritted my teeth. I googled “book promotion plans.” I cobbled one together and submitted it. A few weeks later, WiDo offered me a contract, which I signed.
Take it one step at a time, I reassured myself. A conversation with WiDo’s promotion manager stuck with me: “Do what you’re comfortable with.” It took time to process her advice. I reached out for help. As a technophobe, I was afraid to push the wrong button. A friend of my wife’s, a professional photographer, drove up from his home in Washington DC to help me construct my author Web site, using Wix, the free service. He shot dozens of promotional photos of me. I uploaded several to the Web site and others to my Facebook author page, which he helped me set up. Another friend taught me the Twitter ropes. I fumbled my way through Goodreads, setting up an Author account. Some things I learned by trial and error; others I reached out for help. The experience was exciting and humbling at the same time.
After setting everything up, I thought: What now? I had precisely zero Twitter followers, several dozen disengaged Facebook friends, and a Web site known to myself and few others. Do I post pithy quotes on Facebook? Do I Tweet my favorite ice cream flavors? Share baby photos? And how does this help sell books?
I had conversations with other WiDo authors. I went back to the promotion manager’s advice – do what I felt comfortable with. What I felt comfortable with was writing. That’s what I’ve done all my adult life. Why not apply skills from the part of my job I liked to the part that gave me the heebie jeebies?
Maybe I’d blog. Sounded like a good idea. A friend taught me how to use Tumblr. Naturally, my first blog post ever was entitled, “A Reluctant Blogger.” I wrote: “I’m probably the worst candidate in the world to start a blog. The last thing I want is to stand on a soap box. Until recently, my incoming Facebook invites went straight into the spam folder, and one of those invites was from my wife.”
I cultivated a wry style. I wrote about my experiences as a social newbie, my writing process. I ruminated over crabgrass that’s overtaken my lawn – the dearth of monarch butterflies this year. I shared my blogs on my Facebook page, which slowly grew friends, and got 30 or 40 hits if I was lucky.
In September, six months before my book launch, I hit a minor jackpot. I pitched the Times Union, the Albany capital region newspaper, to become part of its community blog site. After several back and forths, the paper’s blog boss invited me to join.
Today, my twice-a-week blog, entitled The Ruminator, attracts, on a good day, several hundred readers or more. A few months before the launch of my novel this March, I posted a popular four-part series – factual retellings of excerpts from my novel. My second post in that series drew 668 visits in one day. So far, since I started with the Times Union in September, I’ve amassed about 20,000 hits. After every post, I click obsessively to see how many hits I attract.
At the bottom of every blog post I include something to the effect: David Kalish is author of the new comedic novel, The Opposite of Everything, a finalist in the Somerset Fiction Awards. Click here for more info on his book tour. Whenever I mention my novel, it’s a clickable link to my author Web site, which lists my book tour as well as links to Amazon where the novel can be bought. I also post the blog on my Facebook pages, my Goodreads author page, LinkedIn, and Twitter. And I often email posts to a contact list of several dozen people not active in social media.
After my book was launched in March, I planted more and more mentions of my novel’s publication in my social networks. But since my blog goes out to newspaper readers, I hesitate to blatantly pitch my book here. Instead, I weave it into the context of posts. The blogs take a lot of work and time, but the rising numbers and readers’ comments keep me going, reminding me I’m on track to build a fan base.
Another fear I’ve confronted is public speaking. Until this spring, I’d never gone on a book tour, let alone organized one. But my first appearance, at a bookstore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., met all my expectations, and exceeded them. Some eighty people showed up and the bookstore sold out its stock of 75 books. Now on the fourth leg of my book tour, I feel oddly comfortable reading from my book in public and answering questions.
Admittedly, I have much to learn. Since my novel is about a thyroid cancer survivor, based on me, I am donating a portion of my royalties to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association. I plan to host a panel at ThyCa’s annual conference next fall on how the therapeutic value of writing, and perhaps the group will let me sell books there.
I keep coming back to writing. I remind myself I’ve not strayed too far from that which I know. I know too that talking about my fears helps. And for that, I thank my blog readers, for several well-received posts have dealt with my awkward entry into social media. My readers have helped me talk through my fears.

You can do this. I repeat this to myself a lot. I’ve overcome most obstacles so far thrown my way. One day, for sure, I’ll finish my second novel. It will be easier to sell because of my first. By then I’ll have paved a rocky path through social media to the bookshelf, whether virtual or bricks-and-mortar. Between now and then, I’ll try not to grit my teeth too much. And hopefully sell a lot of books.

Thank you, David! Best of luck to you! 
Also, special thank you to Crystal J. Otto at WOW! Women on Writing for providing a stop on David Kalish's blog tour here on All Things Audry!
*** Comment to win a copy of THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING!!!

More about David Kalish:
David Kalish left a career as a big city journalist and became a fiction writer, earning his MFA from Bennington College. His first novel, The Opposite of Everythingwas accepted for publication by WiDo Publishing, and he's working on a second novel entitled Stoner Hero, which he often writes in his head while walking his two dogs in a forest near his upstate New York home.

In addition to the longer form, his short fiction has been published in Temenos, Knock, Spectrum, and Poydras Review, his non-fiction in The Writer's Chronicle, and a short film of his, "Regular Guy," was selected into film festivals here and abroad. As a reporter at The Associated Press, his articles appeared in major newspapers such as Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. He is currently working on a comedic theatre script for a Latin version of A Christmas Carol. He lives in Clifton Park, New York, with his wife, daughter, and two canaries, as well as those two dogs.

David’s Website:
David on Facebook:

The Opposite of Everything is a hilariously fast-paced first novel for David Kalish. When Brooklyn journalist Daniel Plotnick learns he has cancer, his fortunes fall faster than you can say Ten Plagues of Egypt. His wife can’t cope, his marriage ends in a showdown with police, and his father accidentally pushes him off the George Washington Bridge. 

Plotnick miraculously survives his terrifying plunge, and comes up with a zany plan to turn his life around: by doing the opposite of everything he did before.

In the darkly comedic tradition of Philip Roth and Lorrie Moore comes a new novel from author David Kalish, who draws us into a hilarious, off-kilter world where cancer tears apart relationships…and builds new ones.

Paperback:  191 PagesPublisher:  WiDo Publishing (February 17, 2014)ASIN:  B00IIUUSKGTwitter hashtag: #OEKalish

*** Comment to win a copy of THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING!!!

1 comment:

  1. I love this post David! Everything you write makes me smile!!!


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