We found ourselves always answering the same questions from writers at all stages of their career. They came to us because they knew we were research wonks who tackled problems by investigating and indexing solutions. We loved helping because we've both experienced the generosity of experienced authors willing to give us a hand, and we wanted to offer that feeling to any author seeking direction, no matter where they are in their career.
Personal experience and the results we've experienced by putting these maxims into practice. We're not claiming to be gurus, just working stiffs who've built genre careers. We've been writing and studying the market for over twenty years, and we've been actively selling for ten. This is a book straight from the front lines. When we started out we had to cobble together a game plan based on what we saw around us. Little by little we learned what strategies worked, what didn't, and what came with a sting in the tail.
What Your A Game does is synthesize the best thinking we could find on branding, platform, marketing, and promotion in business and entertainment to present it in a coherent package specifically addressing genre fiction authors.
The content covered in Your A Game isn't specific to a genre. Each pocket of genre fiction will have specific expectations and behaviors, but there aren't books waiting to be written on those differences, only a handful of pamphlets. In addition to our own research and experience in other genres, we know people in every part of the market who have wrestled the same problems and applied these techniques with measurable success.
Romance remains a unique force in publishing, but all genres grapple with the same issues: how to sell a story to a crowd with specific, passionate interests, how to meet and exceed expectations, how to honor form without descending into formula. The tropes and tricks of writing popular fiction vary between genres, but not the task of reaching your readers who will buy your book.
Heidi taught writing in formal classrooms and in nontraditional settings for fifteen years and Damon wrote film, theatre, and comics for over twenty-five years. We both also have post-graduate degrees and the kind of crazy-quilt employment/experience résumés common in people who end up writing genre fiction.
Absolutely! We've already taught classes on this material across the country in formats from informal roundtables to weekend-long workshops. Our classes are applicable for a variety of genres and have even been successful with some corporate clients. You can find more information on the LEARN page, where we have information about our offerings and a schedule of upcoming appearances.
The setup and logistics really depends on the context. We've taught workshops in conference centers for hundreds and private promo coaching for publishers looking to boost their authors. The only essential element is time and attention. Generally we do use Powerpoint, because visuals can be so helpful with abstractions, but we can also throw down low-tech without trouble.
99% of the time we offer a meaty handout to spare note-taking and so that students can mull the content and kick ideas around afterward.
Our main goal for any class is that attendees leave with concrete options and a better sense of the tasks ahead.
That depends on our schedule and availability. First, contact us directly and let us know what you have in mind and when. If we can find a time that works, we'll work with you to come up with a program that meets the needs of your members. Depending on the travel distance and timing, transport and accommodations will factor as well.
Also, we live at no small distance from each other. Unless you're planning somehting around a con we'll be attending, you might also consider having one of us come and present.
Heidi grew up in Iowa, which she loves and never plans to leave. She now lives in Ames. Damon grew up in Texas which he does not love, moved to NYC when he was 16 and (aside from a few years in London) has lived there ever since.