Amused Authors


Promotion (aka: Stuff I’m bad at) by Christa Maurice
November 27, 2009, 2:29 pm
Filed under: fiction, publishing, romance, writing

First, let me state that I suck at promotion. Really. The whole concept of pushing myself and my books on people gives me the willies. But I was always bad at that. When I worked at Borders, if someone asked me for recommendations I had them, but if they didn’t ask, I wasn’t going to hand sell. Frankly, I think if you are uncomfortable doing something, then you shouldn’t do it. So my list of stuff may not be your list of stuff and you should not take my recommendations as the end all be all.

In that vein, this is what I do.

 

I blog. Here and on my own faux website. I to do Amused Authors every Friday and here and my own site whenever the fancy strikes me. This is maybe an hour or two a week.

I belong to a couple of forums. Romance Divas has been very helpful. I’m pretty active there and it’s a very supportive group. I also belong to All About Romance. I Do Not just go there to promo. That is the best way to alienate readers. I do have my website in my signature, but mostly I go there to chat about books or whatever. I also go to a band forum. I post there extremely rarely, but 95% of my post have been unrelated to my writing. Then there’s my publisher forums. Both Lyrical and Liquid Silver have forums and I try to pop in there.

I made sure my books were tagged on Amazon. Surprise, you have a book on Amazon, but nobody can find it because there are no tags. When this came up in a workshop my publisher did I thought, you have to be kidding me. I thought that was automatic. Nope. I looked up One Ring To Rule and there was nothing. So I tagged it myself. I also checked the most popular tags on Amazon and found that Romance and Comics were pretty high up. Since both applied, I used them. Don’t stick tags on your book just because they’re popular tags. Fifteen minutes per book?

I attend publisher events. Lyrical is big on events. Recently, they did the End of Summer chats which were a lot of fun and the monthly chats are pretty entertaining. Thus far I haven’t seen that much from Freya’s Bower or Liquid Silver. Maybe a few hours over the course of a month and when I’m in a chat, I usually have something else going on the desktop.

I contribute to the Lyrical newsletter. (Most of the time.) Lyrical does a quarterly newsletter and it’s open for all the Lyrical authors to submit. It’s free to receive and there’s interesting stuff in there. For me, it’s a lot of exposure to people who already know about ebooks and I get brownie points from the publisher because they don’t have to beg for material. An hour or 2 every three months.

I should be posting to a couple of Yahoo groups. It’s pretty easy since I out together a promosheet that I can copy and paste from. It takes a couple minutes a day.

I want to teach workshops. At heart, I’m a teacher. (I bet you couldn’t guess that.) I would love to do workshops or seminars so I could give back to the community. Notice I didn’t say I wanted to promote myself or my books. Nope, if you plan to do workshops, you should focus on the lesson, not your titles. Apparently there was a workshop at RWA Nationals this summer where the host spent the entire time promoting her online fee workshop. I have a feeling that maneuver lost her more clients than she can imagine.

 

Now, there are about 100 other things I could be doing that I’m not. As I stated at the beginning, these are the things I’m most comfortable with and most able to do. All of these things can be done online too. Currently I’m an ebook only author. Later in my career, I’m sure I will expand to live stuff, but for right now, I’ve figured out where my comfort zone is and I’m in it. But this is also why you talk to lots of other authors because all of them will have ideas. One of my friends is a relentless promoter. She’s unpublished, but she is working hard to establish her name and she comes up with group opportunities frequently. My publisher also volunteers things which is how I ended up doing NovelSpot Behind the Scenes.

I’m going to tell you the very best promotion you can have. It is the best thing to do ad will get you more sales. I have read countless surveys, both from authors and readers. The best promotion you can do is write the best book you can. Then write another one. And another one. Three Alarm Tenant came out in May. First month sales are always good. June the figures followed the predictable downward curve. July I had freakishly good sales. I didn’t do anything. And I mean bupkis. I was busy controling the chaos that is my life, finishing a book and enjoying summer. I was not online promoting. The only thing that happened in July was Liquid Silver acquired Trio and started promoting it. Trio is written under my other pen name, Belle McClain, because it’s a very different heat level and I don’t want to freak anybody out. However, my website addy was posted and apparently folks followed the breadcrumbs and decided to see what else I did. Quite a few of them plunked down money. Neat.

Feel free to ask questions if you need more info on something.

~Charlotte

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1 Comment so far
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Promotion is definitely the bane of most writers, unless they are born publicity whores (most of us are not *LOL*).

Sometimes, the best promotion is just to be visible, by participating on email lists, keeping an active blog, up-to-date website, and social networking like Facebook and Twitter. I tend to cycle, I try to update my blog at least once a week, and I do spits and spurts at MySpace when I think about it. Offering free reads and excerpts on my site also helps bring readers in.

Comment by Lesli Richardson




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