PROMO…aka…It Doesn’t End With The Writing

I’ve spent the past two days doing everything associated with writing EXCEPT writing.

I worked on putting together my March newsletter, brainstorming an upcoming contest, writing up a blurb and selecting an excerpt for my newly contracted book so it could go up on my website, organized reviews that have come in so they could go up on my website, worked on ads and sent in a few website updates. And I don’t even maintain my own site! My webmistress does that for me.

Two full days of non-writing related activities.

Promo is the worst time-sucker in the universe for a published author. Now I don’t write for a big publishing conglomerate who can do a lot of promo for me, so if I want to sell books, I have to do the majority on my own. Then again, I’ve heard even those who write for some of the larger publishing houses can no longer rely on massive dollars being spent on promotion and marketing, either. We’re on our own out here and if you want to make a name for yourself, you’ve got to get said name out there.

Much as we’d like to think readers are going to come knocking at our doors simplyl because our publisher releases our book, that’s not the case. Since I have a background in marketing, I know the first rule about making a sale is that the ‘customer’ (i.e. reader) needs to see your name 8 to 10 times before they’ll remember it. Keeping in mind the sheer volume of authors releasing books each month, you’d better make sure you have something going for you other than “I wrote a great book”. Because if readers don’t know who you are, it doesn’t matter how good your book is – it’s not going to sell.

Now I know there are people out there who disagree with me. They will say ‘Write a good book and it’ll sell.” Sorry, that just doesn’t work for me. In my opinion, it’s all about name recognition. And yes, you also have to write a book good enough that readers will not only want to read it, they’ll want to tell their friends all about it.

So here’s what I do for promo. And it works for me. Whether it’ll work for anyone else, I can’t say, and I’m not implying that what I do is the be all, end all of promotion. It isn’t.

1. Get a website – you have to have a presence on the web where your readers can find you. Go ahead, poll readers. They’ll tell you they want to know all about you and your books, what you’re working on, what you have out and what’s coming out. It doesn’t have to be a huge website. If you’re a newly published author you can start small. I did. I only had a few pages on my site when I first sold. But I had a site and a booklist.

2. Blog. *g* – It’s a way for readers to stay in touch with you and to learn about you. A website is static. They can read but they can’t interact. Give them a way to talk to you.

3. Newsletter – I have fun putting my newsletter together. For those too busy to interact with me on my chat group every day, it’s a way for them to stay abreast of what’s happening in my writing world. Everyone does their newsletters differently. I don’t like to just talk about me, I like to recommend new authors and provide contests and some quirky questions that I pose to other authors. “It’s all about me” newsletters bore me. I like to reach out to my peers to get their input, and if it helps them find new readers, that’s great.

There are a lot more ideas, but it’s Friday night, I’m playing nursemaid to my stepdaughter who had her wisdom teeth taken out, I had to work today, and I’m tired. More later.

And if anyone wants to add to the list, feel free.

Jaci…REALLY hoping she can knock out some writing tomorrow