Jul 26, 2013

How Karen Cote' Got Roped -- er, I mean Sweet-talked into MFRW @karensromance #MFRWlove @MFRW_ORG

Karen Cote'
Karen Coté is -- or was, before today -- the Promotions Director at Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW). This is the story of how she got this position.

As the founder of MFRW, it was up to me to do most of the heavy lifting. I had a few volunteers who helped with approving posts when needed, but it was not as organized back then as it is now. Then Karen Coté joined the group. She immediately caught the value of what we were doing. Marketing for Romance Writers is a peer-based community of people in the literary community. We post questions and get answers, ask for advice, seek promotional opportunities, and offer them. There's a strict no-promotion policy. We aren't hit over the head with info about new books or sharing our blogs. It's business-related only.

One day, shortly after Karen joined, she emailed me a link to a site where we might get exposure as a group. I took advantage of it and thanked her for thinking of it. A few days later, she sent me another one. I'd never heard of the site before, so I investigated. It was helpful, and I told her so. Not long after that, she sent me another one, and asked if it was okay if she wrote an article about the group and posted it on another site. I was floored. I was writing full time, volunteering with MFRW, and mentoring a few new authors on the side, so I didn't have time to do much extra. I was thrilled to have Karen's help.

That's when the idea hit me.

Why not ask Karen Coté to do this all the time? So I wrote to her, explained my idea, and asked what she thought. Would she be officially in charge of finding ways to tell people about the group? We would call the position "Promotions Director." To my great delight, she said yes.

Having someone to help took a load off my shoulders. I was able to focus on other areas, and concentrate more on the leadership opportunities. I organized the volunteers a little better, and created a separate Yahoo group where we could discuss aspects of leadership and details about the promotions. We asked for more volunteers, who became Member Liaisons. We coordinated setting up a blog and organizing it for promoting our members. There have been 199 posts so far, and it has nearly 200 followers and many ways to link and share. Due to Karen's influence, we added a Pinterest account for MFRW, and used it to share our members' books. It now has 72 boards, 763 pins, and 634 followers. No idea how many repins it has, but readers love being able to add our pins to their boards, and every pinned book cover leads to a place to buy the book. The responsibility for Pinterest is now handled by Paloma Beck, who does a wonderful job of sharing the posts via our Twitter account. Guess who set up the Twitter account? You guessed it: Karen Coté. MFRW_ORG has 297 followers and has sent out 444 tweets. We're currently looking for a Twitter maven who will help us fire up this account and use it to help promote the group and its members.

We also have bloghops, an amazing newsletter in multiple formats, a website, and a forum on Coffee Time Romance. For two years, we've held a "Marketing Summer Camp" -- one full weekend of workshops on how to market your books, how to write, how to query, what to do with social media, and various other topics related to being an author, publisher, or other worker in the literary world.

Guess what? All of what MFRW does is free.

Erotic Deception
by Karen Cote'
That was one of the things that drew Karen to what we did. She saw the value of what we wanted to do, and that I had a personal commitment to offer these things at no cost. She told me many times that she valued the heart I had to give. Perhaps that was why we became such good friends. She has that same giving spirit. Karen has funded prizes and giveaways at camp out of her own pocket. She's been the backbone of our group with her fun tweets, sharing spirit, and her ability to infuse every aspect of our efforts with humor. Her writing motto is "Romance... it's complicated." How true in any life! But somehow she manages to express it in such a way that she's been a best-seller from the beginning of her career.

Because of One Person.

All the success of Marketing for Romance Writers happened because one person caught the vision of what I was trying to do, and came alongside to lend a hand. When I say Karen Coté will be missed, you can believe it's true.

Here's where to find Karen on the net. 

Website http://karencote.tv
Goodreads http://goodreads.com/KarensRomance

Current  MFRW Staff members

Blog Director: Lynn Crain
Activities Director: Kristyn Phipps
Bloghop Coordinator: Mona Karel
Pinterest Coordinator: Paloma Beck
Newsletter Editor: Rochelle Weber
Assistant Editors: Emerald, Lisa Fisk

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