Incentives, Incentives, Incentives

Saturday, August 29, 2020

 My husband and I were out in the backyard just this afternoon. I set up some small flags (in a precarious arrangement) on a metal lawn chair, to serve as a backdrop for our 84-pound golden. Our dog rescue is creating a calendar, and since we needed a July picture, I was planning on submitting a pic of Radar.

Of course, as soon as I dragged the chair into the middle of the yard and started attempting to prop up the flags in the lattice-work of the chair (the ground was too dry and hard to jam the poles directly into the ground… I tried that first) Radar became curious… in an energetic manner.

Translation: Radar started leaping wildly in the area of the flags, knocking them down. His body became a furry comma, mid-air, as he twisted and dived, over and over.

Translation of the translation: He was acting like a fool.

My husband stood right behind me, with a premium treat in his hand, holding it up in the air while I fiddled with the camera.

Translation: My husband had a Greenie in his hand, trying to bribe Radar into momentary stillness.

After snapping several photos, I came in and looked at them. I wasn’t truly happy with any of them. Radar looked heavy in some, he looked asleep in some (his eyes were closed), he didn’t look like the regal pup he is in any of them.

Translation: I stink as a photographer.

Eventually, I got a decent one (without the flags in the background) after making a second attempt. And Radar getting “motivated” by a Greenie got me thinking…

Two of the women in my writing accountability group (the Butt-Kickers) suggested I try Publishizer to get my manuscript published. I’m checking it out. It frays my nerves to imagine taking on a daunting task like a crowdfunding project. I am no marketing whiz. I’m a writer, but despite that, I started researching, and some of the advice caught my attention.

Offer incentives to your donors. Find things of value that you can 

provide… and offer different things up at different donation levels.

Of course, there’s the obvious ones: a copy of the book. A list of the donors on a special thank-you page. But the more I thought about it, the more creative I got.

I love teaching my students. We’ve begun the school year with some creative writing centered around memoir. I could offer donors a classroom visit and writing lesson (if they’re local) or via Skype/Zoom/Google Meets if they’re not local. The donor isn’t a teacher? They could donate it to the teacher of their child/grandchild/neighbor’s kid.

Mama, one of the characters in my manuscript, was a wonderful cook. I could send the makings of a sweet treat that Mama made, along with the recipe, to donors.

Okay, so my creativity was short-lived. It’s Friday night, the night I usually crash extra early. Two incentives do not an incredible spurt make, but I’m working on it. I’m considering going in a nontraditional, new-school route… and a tiny fire, almost too small to be seen, has ignited.

If anyone out there has used Publishizer, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about your experiences.


Sioux Roslawski is a middle-school communication arts teacher who adores her students (already) and loves her job. (It’s true.) In her spare time she binge-watches TV series (too often), rescues dogs, and dotes on her grandchildren. (There’s three of ‘em now.) If you’d like to read more of her stuff, check out Sioux’s blog.



Margo Dill said...

Hey Sioux: I haven't heard of Publishizer, but I have heard of authors using crowdfunding successfully. I think you will find a lot of resources if you research--and maybe you can even get ideas from incentives other authors have used in the past that have been successful.

Today, there are so many ways to get your books in the hands of readers, and that is what is truly important.

Good luck!

Nicole Pyles said...

I love the idea of offering incentives to readers! Adding realities of your characters outside the book (such as your character, Mama, and her cooking) is an excellent idea! Maybe even could be art done by a younger character in the book?

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sioux, that pic of Radar is adorable, and I totally get your photograph dilemma! I have to take so many photos just to get one good one.

I'm so glad you're considering Publishizer, and I think it could really work for you. (Margo, Dorit Sasson wrote an article for WOW on getting her book crowdfunded--she used Pubslush, but I don't think it's around anymore, but for her second book used Publishizer, which she recommends at the end of her article. I think I edited that one.)

I love the idea of offering a writing workshop! There are so many incentives I've seen authors do...offer to write something for someone, whether it's a tagline or title or naming something; hold a virtual book club; offer handmade items like knitted cozies; share personal recipes; record a three minute video answering their questions; a copy of a marked up first draft with editor's notes, typos, revisions, etc; do an exclusive Q&A with a writer that someone can publish, and the list goes on! :)

I'm so glad you're pursuing this idea, Sioux!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Sioux I haven't heard of Publishizer but I am going to learn more about it. It sounds like a great way to get published, so yes, go for it. And your incentives that you would offer are all great ideas. Good luck as always.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Thanks. It IS exciting to think of all the possibilities... and that one might lead to a probability.

Nicole--Your idea made me think of another idea, so thank you.

Angela--You gave me several ideas--as far as incentives--that would work. (I cannot knit cozies, however. I can only knit scarves. Skinny scarves. Fat scarves. Short ones. Long ones. But I love the idea of sharing some recipes--from "Mama," the Q and A, the virtual book club meeting.Those are all great ideas, and ones I will be hanging onto.

Jeanine--Thanks for trying to send good fortune my way. I need all of it that I can get. Perhaps if I stumble across some good luck with my manuscript, you will do the same soon...

Cathy C. Hall said...

Nope, hadn't heard of it, either, but I HAVE heard of incentives, Sioux. In fact, I'm sitting here now thinking if I get some work done, I'll reward myself with brownies. And now that I think of it, commenting here counts as work, right? :-)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--For sure. If you leave a comment on another blog, that's 2 brownies... ;)

Renee Roberson said...


Radar is so handsome! I do not believe that he wanted to play instead of posing for photos. He looks like he belongs on a Golden Retriever calendar! I love that you're considering a crowdfunding option. I really think it could work for you with your education background and ties to the project. I love the idea of incentives, too and you sound like you have some great ideas to get started. Did you already say a reader's guide/discussion questions/writing prompts to the book for any educators who order them for their classes to read? Hmmm . . .

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--That is a brilliant idea. Thanks a million. (I'm trying to find some that would involve work on my part, and not a financial investment.)

He IS a handsome guy (I tell him that at least a dozen times a day) and he is going to be one of the many goldens featured in our calendar. And Radar ALWAYS wants to play. He was one of 11 puppies in his litter, and our rescue set up a schedule for people to come twice a day and help supervise the litter when they had outdoor play time (to protect them from the hawks... to keep them from getting lost in the flowers, and so on...). Radar became known as the puppy with the most "personality," which translates into the puppy that got into the most mischief.

Thanks again for the crowdfunding suggestion. It might be the answer to my prayers/wishes...

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--I'm amending my comment. He should be on the COVER of your golden retriever calendar. He's that handsome. I also had another incentive idea--if you had any chapters/sections that you scrapped from earlier drafts of the books, repurpose them into bonus content for supporters of your campaign! I've seen other authors do that (or sell additional chapters for a small fee) and I think it's a fun idea.

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