One thing I’ve learned about this industry is that opportunities come up in a flash, and usually the first people to respond get them. The difference between being prepared and NOT being prepared can cost you. And it’s literally as simple as being organized.
I have a folder in Dropbox with all my book cover jpgs, my two author photos and a couple of other folders with high resolution versions and thumbnail size versions. (I keep it on Dropbox so I can access it from virtually anywhere. You never know when you will be asked for something!) I’ve made sure they’re all named clearly, so it’s easy for the recipient to identify. It also helps, if they don’t rename the file, with search engine optimization. It never hurts to take advantage of every opportunity to get your title in front of someone. Plus, it looks far more professional to have the book cover for Night Undone labeled as “NightUndone.jpg” instead of “niteundonecoverartsmall.jpg”. My author photo is labeled as “AuthorKSBrooks.jpg” instead of “DSC00013”. Now, you might be thinking, I’ll just put “Author Photo” as the file name. Well, you and about a billion other authors thought that. It’s not going to make your photo easy to find.
You may think “whatever, the name of the file isn’t that big of a deal,” but honestly, it’s how you’re being represented to whomever you’re sending the files. I’d say about 90% of the files I receive (and I receive a LOT of them on a daily basis) are not properly labeled. So then I have to save them to my desktop before uploading them for a post, so I can rename them. You probably have a blog, right? How much of a pain is it for you to find a photo in your media library if it’s not properly labeled? If you’re sending these files to a reporter or editor, do you REALLY want to make more work for them? I’d say no. But, not only that – what are the chances that after your story, they’re going to forget your name? We all know about the Marketing Rule of Seven, also known as Effective Frequency. The more people see your name, the better. Since every instance counts, let people see your name when they mouse over your photo. (Mouse over the photo above as an example.)
By way of example, today I received an email from a radio personality in Boston looking for authors to interview on his 7 a.m. show. I knew he’d broadcast that message to a list of at LEAST 1,000 authors. I knew I had to be among the first to respond or I wouldn’t make the cut. “Please reply with your author photo, book cover and book blurb,” he wrote. Well, BAM! I hit reply, I quickly and easily attached my files, inserted my book blurb and hit send. If I hadn’t have had that folder set up, I would have had to search for the book’s folder in My Documents, then figured out which of the 3 files I wanted to send by size, or wait, is this revision 1 or final? You know what I’m saying. Yes, you do. Don’t deny it. We all do it.
Each time a new book is released, I’ve gotten into the habit of automatically putting the new book cover in that folder. I do that just to save myself the aggravation of having to search for them. With over 25 published titles, it’s just easier for me and luckily I thought of it long ago. However, it hadn’t occurred to me that this folder could end up being the difference between getting a radio interview and not.
Our Kathy Rowe has taken it a step further by adding the purchase links, ISBN numbers, video trailer links and more all in one place each time a new book is published. She is winning the Organizing War with that practice. When someone asks her for the Amazon page to one of her books, you better believe she knows where that is.
Obviously I never was a Boy Scout, but clearly there is something to their motto Be Prepared.