Finding connections has always been an important part of how I experience the world. From discovering things in common with new acquaintances, to solving scientific puzzles, to figuring out whodunits, and making sense of the present from the past, I automatically process experiences by identifying or creating associations. It is no surprise that I have incorporated this practice, which I see as part skill and part gifting, into my vocation as a writer and recording artist.
It all started in 2011, the year I first walked into a studio to record one song, and walked out with a whole album (Turn the Page). While I was still in the process of writing and recording it, I came up with the idea of writing blog posts—which I later re-worked into a manuscript—that documented the stories behind the songs. At the same time, an opportunity came up for me to submit a short story themed to overcoming odds to a publication out of the United States. With reflections on my journey as a worship leader and recording artist fresh in my mind, I wrote a short story called “Choosing to Praise” which was subsequently published in the book Organized Obstacles: An Underdog Anthology. Because of their intimate connection, I have been able to market Turn the Page and Organized Obstacles together; and am planning on doing the same with the manuscript mentioned above should I decide to publish it.
I have had a similar experience with my Christmas CD Red & White. Between coming up with the concept, writing songs, and recording, Christmas was prominent in my writing world for well over a year. So when Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada sent out a request for Canadian Christmas stories, I thought about my December wedding day, an encounter with a talented singer on my honeymoon, and the dream to be a singer that God tucked into my heart more than a quarter century ago. My story “Love, Shania and the Whispered Wish” was published in 2014 and I was able to cross-market it with my CD, as it was referenced in the story.
During the recording process of Red & White, I also felt a leading to write a children’s Christmas book (Beneath That Star; Word Alive Press, 2015) based on the song of the same name I wrote for my Christmas CD. This would allow me to flesh out the story behind the song more fully, and at the same time extend the life of my CD. In print and radio interviews for Beneath That Star, it was natural to refer to my CD Red & White. This in turn led to more radio play of the songs on my album and the potential for more sales of my CD, as well as airtime royalties.
Of course, integration of the arts and cross promotions are not restricted to music and writing. As an avid photographer who has used a number of my original photos in my music videos, I am planning for an additional income stream in the visual arts. I also know of a number of authors who have incorporated their secondary skills to enhance their marketing and increase the visibility of their work, resulting in improved sales and greater interest in them as a creator of art in multiple genres.
So if you are looking for ideas on how to increase your exposure and readership, take some time to consider your other skills. And start thinking outside the box. Are you good at paper crafting? Consider leading workshops that complement the theme of your book. Are you skilled at sewing? How about creating three-dimensional characters from your story. Are you good at drawing, perhaps even have illustrated your own books? You could introduce another income stream through themed greeting cards or wall hangings. Are you a great cook? Do you play an instrument? Are you good at drama? Have you done puppet shows? The possibilities for cross promotions are limited only by your imagination.
So how will you connect YOUR favourite art forms to maximize your potential?
Sally Meadows is an author, speaker, and two-time national award nominated singer/songwriter. She writes inspirational music, inspirational short stories, journal articles, and children’s books, and is currently blogging a book Butterfly’d: Unfurling Glory In An Ordinary Life. You can purchase all of the books/CDs mentioned in her article at sallymeadows.com/store; most are also available at amazon.com and amazon.ca and at bookstores across Canada. Sally’s music is also available on iTunes and at cdbaby.com.