Mike and Molly: 7 Lessons in Book Promotion

Are you a fan of the sitcom Mike and Molly starring Melissa McCarthy? The storyline this year has had an interesting dovetail with fiction writing and self-publishing. Melissa’s character Molly has quit her job as a school teacher after ten years to pursue a lifelong dream of writing a best-selling novel.

It has been an interesting journey as all novelists have experienced but this last week her book was available for purchase!  What an exciting moment. When she asked her publisher about a book launch celebration, he high fived her and said “Off you go!”

So she was forced to make her own way through the promotional experience. Here are a few of the lessons I took from this episode:

  1. You are now a sales person. It is no longer about the book but about your ability to sell yourself as a writer and your novel and a “must read.”
  2. Not everyone will get the message you are trying to convey. People put their own spin on stories so don’t be discouraged if readers miss your primary message. Just be thankful they are reading.
  3. Include family and friends in the promotion process. Help them be as excited as you are and help you spread the word among their circles.
  4. Remember the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. At one point, Mike decided that having a celebrity endorsement would be beneficial and what bigger celebrity hails from Chicago than Oprah? Through his buddies he learned that a friend knew a customer who plays tennis with a dog walker that leases his truck from the estranged brother of Stedman. Wow – almost a direct link to Oprah! It is funny, but the truth is you never know who your connections know; so keep the conversation going with everyone you meet!
  5. Have a back-up signature phrase for your book signing. One reader wanted his book made out to the “Warlord of the New Zombie Apocalypse,” or some such thing. Have a backup phrase to coincide with your signature, like “best wishes.”
  6. Never give up. If your first book presentation is poorly attended, schedule another one at a different venue. If your local radio interview goes south, select another station. If people don’t immediately “like” your Facebook page – keep trying. Never give up. You didn’t give up on your story – don’t give up on getting it in the hands of readers.
  7. Keep writing. Just because you are in the middle of promoting this book doesn’t mean you should abandon writing. It is what you love. So keep doing what you love.

So there you go – 7 lessons in book promotion from a popular sitcom. Who would have thought you could find beneficial lessons from watching television?

Now, off you go!

Watch the episode here: CBS Mike and Molly Buy the Book

Photo courtesy of http://galleryhip.com/katy-mixon-mike-and-molly.html