Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Banking Woes

By Charlotte Hinger

Guess what! The historical novel I'm writing right now is timely. It's about that period in America's rural history when small communities were losing their banks and farms. The bank failures afflicting our country right now sound very familiar to those of us who remember the 1980s.

I've been writing this book, Mary's Place, forever. Happily, it will be published by the University of Nebraska Press. But who would have thought the non-fiction aspect of this novel would be a hot news item?

 Everyone's book is about some particular setting or topic that can be exploited for talks. Speaking about that little something in the background is much more likely to hold an audience's attention than trying to persuade people to buy your novel. 

I've always known this, but with the advent of social media it's easy to get sidetracked. So many platforms, so little time. With the daily bombardment of emails and messages, I've become a chronic and habitual deleter. Yes spellcheck, I know deleter isn't a real word, but I'll bet Type M followers know what I mean. 

Sometimes, traditional methods work best. When was the last time you read a novel where a banker is a heroic character? I'm going to target agricultural bankers with postcards and letters. One banker recently told me a friend of his was shot for not loaning the client money. He personally had been kicked. People in this occupation need soothing and that's always best accomplished with a book that makes them feel appreciated. 

Ah, marketing. The perpetual burden. I was warned that I couldn't expect to sell my mystery series along with historical novels. But that's not true. Because all of my books are set in Kansas and I have a flaming state loyalty, the duality works. 

With Mary's Place, I'll start contacting clubs and organizations far ahead of the publication date to see if they would welcome a program about banking. For instance, I'm a member of Westerners International and that's the first group that came to mind.

It's so heartening to speak to people on a topic that they are interested in. 

For some reason planning marketing comes hard for me. It's not that I can't think. It's just that I don't like to lock in plans. Oddly enough I love to solve problems. An ability to solve problems would seem to carry over to futuristic planning, but it doesn't. I tend to be crisis oriented.

To stay afloat in this noisy overcrowded word of mystery writing, we simply have to learn to plan campaigns. Oddly enough, there has been very little written on this subject.

Care to share how you do it? Do you simply respond to whatever falls in your lap? Or plan ahead.?

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