The 13 Letter Word


PBW would rather write books than self-promote. JA Konrath believes self-promotion is essential. I am a combination of the two. I'd rather write, but force myself to self-promote because I'm still a newbie and bookstores are flooded with new titles from established authors and upcoming authors with major pub 'push' every month. I feel confident that I can count on the readers who have already discovered my books and like them to buy upcoming releases. But there are bukoo readers who have never read me, and won't if they don't know I'm alive.

My publisher promotes prior to my release and the month of, but what about the other nine months of the year? It's up to me to get my name out there and I'd say I do a fair job given my spare time and budget. Except, these days spare time is something I do not have. Because of contracted deadlines, a dayjob, and life, I need to write. Self-promoting drains my energy and sucks up precious creative time. I could hire a publicist, but there's the money thing. So I continue to self-promote, but I'm very selective about what I do, because A) the time thing, B) the money thing, and C) Frankly, I'm not sure of what really makes an impact on sales.

One thing that I continue to sink time into is this blog. I look at it as a way of getting my name out there, a way for people to get to know me, and, honestly, it's just about the only way I socialize these days. I have fun chatting with you guys. So to me blogging equals self-promotion, flexing my writer muscles, and socializing. Win/win situation, right? Except MJ Rose now says a blog may not be an effective marketing tool. See her April 27 post: The Blog Trap. I read it and those old 'to blog or not to blog' questions arose.

For about three minutes.

This blog is now a part of my daily routine. The readers who chime in are welcome presences (presents?!) in my life. I blog because I am. And you am. *g* As for self-promotion... well, in a couple of weeks I'm attending a readers convention. One night I'll be dressed as a wood nymph singing fairy chants, another night I'll be a bikini-topped mermaid casting spells. That counts as exposure doesn't it?

Meanwhile, I have a book to write.


ElsieHogarth said…
Ok now, and you didn't want to be Sponge Bob for an evening? I'll just say....NO COMMENT.
ElsieHogarth said…
Hi Beth,

Sister Dear says the website for the Historical clothing is:
It's only 1 minute from her house, down the street.
Beth Ciotta said…
Uh, Elsie. Are you saying I could've used Sponge Bob to my advantage?? *g*

Tell Laurie thanks for the link! I'll check it out. :0)
chryscat said…
Here's my take on it:
I would rather write than promote, too. But it's an impossibility. For all the good reasons you listed.
I like to start and end the day with my blog. And, like you, right now it's my only means of socializing.
I don't mind self-promoting. This is mainly because I LOVE giving stuff away. THAT to me is the excitement.
FeyRhi said…
Beth if it wasn't for your blog and the link to it from Mary Stella's Blog then I may not have hear of you or read your wonderful books.

For some reason Medallion's books aren't to be found up here. (seem to remember hearing something about that changing but can't remember exactly at the moment)

I'm here at least once a day to take a peek to see what you are up to and more times then not learn something new about the life of a multi-published author. Something I want to be when I grow up *G*

Promote away! and I hope you post some pictures for those of us who can't make it to the convention
Bethany said…
Doesn't this debate every tire? Sigh.

The thing is-- a blog can promote. If you have a unique voice and people love to visit. Example? Jenny Crusie. She has her own blog and then the He wrote, She Wrote for her book with Bob Mayer. They have blog groupies called Cherry Bombs (yeah... I am one)... JA is the newbie/advice thing. If you get a following, the blog can be a marketing tool.

But it is like everything else--it is a crap shoot. Does a website in general generate sales? Likely not--but if you are like Allison Kent and offer contests and the like, it might.

All this ranting comes down to this: Do what you feel comfortable and HAPPY with self-promoting. Something will click for you and stay with it. It is the best you can do... but to do something you hate in terms of promotion? Just like your novels, if you don't enjoy it, neither will your readers. And half-assed self-promotion will do the same.... and you want BUZZ. :-)

[jumping off soap box now]
Beth Ciotta said…
Crystal, you and I need to get lives. *g*

Bethany, for me it's not about liking or disliking the the act. I don't dislike self-promoting. In fact, I enjoy doing interviews and scheduled chats, live Q&As. I like reader conventions. Anything interactive. For me, it's the time that it takes to do several other self promo projects. Plus, as I said, I'm not sure how effective some of the things I've done in the past were for boosting sales. That's why I'm very selective these days. :) As for the blog, I agree, it can be a hugely effective marketing tool for certain people. In her post, MJ Rose talks about this. And I guess I'm doing okay because FeyRhi and Anna discovered me through this blog. ;)

Speaking of... thank you for your input on this subject FeyRhi. It really helped to give me some perspective. :)
Bob said…
Like web sites, blogs are something that readers have grown to expect. It's no longer enough to be a reclusive weirdo writing reclusive the good old days, the Golden Age, back before the polio vaccine and air conditioning.

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