Things That Make My Head Hurt -- Part 1


Speaking specifically about authors and books, I understand why an author in today's competitive market needs to self-promote. I understand about 'name recognition' and 'branding'. At the very least an author should maintain an updated website, blog, send newsletters (or submit information to industry newsletters), submit articles to industry websites and magazines, and particpate in interviews. Marketing budget permitting, one should run ads in noted print venues, purchase banners and/or author features, schedule on-line chats, hold contests and givaways.

Beyond the above basics there is a whole new world involving book trailors and podcasts and . . . the list goes on. Authors JA Konrath and MJ Rose are marketing gurus. They are also mega-energized. They routinely blog about the importance of self-promotion and offer valuable insight and advice.

I read, I absorb, I practice what is preached within my limit--time and money wise. But frankly, the more I learn, the more I feel like I'm not doing enough. The more I wish I could afford a publicist. The more I dread researching and implementing promotions because, as is, I don't have enough time for the actual 'writing'.

It must be done and I'm doing it. Picking and choosing as wisely as possible. But seriously, honestly..... it makes my head hurt.

"If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying "Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday," that's advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that's promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor's flower bed, that's publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that's public relations. If the town's citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they'll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that's sales." -- Unknown


Anonymous said…
It makes my head hurt too, Beth. And I'm doing some. I'm doing some. But, you know, unless you keep writing books no one's gonna buy them. Writing another book IS getting your name "out there"--in the best, most effective way possible. It might take longer, but I think the payoff is better in the end--less stress and a whoppin' backlist when you finally hit.

Did you know it took Nora Roberts about ten years to hit the bestseller list? And Jenny Cruisie wrote several books before it happened for her too. I think, when you dig a little, this is the typical path. It's always been that way and as much as we holler to self-promote, that's the way it's basically gonna stay.

So, go easy on yourself. God knows I'm trying to do the same!
Beth Ciotta said…
Interesting points here, Ann. *Absorbing. Aborbing* Thanks for sharing. Trust me, I'm stressing as much as I could. LOL Just doing what I can a little and a time... and working hard on the WIP. :) I know you are too. Cheers!
Lara Adrian said…
Beth, I think any publisher will tell you that the most important thing is to focus on getting great new books on the shelves.

But because that often doesn't feel like enough (at least for me, it doesn't always feel like it's enough), I think the best promotion you can do is maintain a great website, an active blog (if you can swing it), and try to get early copies of your books (ARCs) into the hands of the people who will be ordering them from your publisher. Bookmarks and all the other stuff only if you have the energy and budget leftover.

The key is, don't make yourself crazy over promotion. Because if you're stressed out and crazy, you aren't at the top of your game with the current WIP.

Sorry to blather on! I owe you email, I think? Anyway, hugs and good luck on your ms. Can't wait for Evie!
Beth Ciotta said…
Excellent advice, Lara. Thanks to you and Ann, I can stop scarfing down Tylenol. :-) Oh! And it's ME who owes you an email. I swear, it's coming soon!
It makes my head hurt, too. Same things here. Trying to do what I need to do but sometimes unsure of what it is.
Beth Ciotta said…
Hang in there, Mechele, and best of luck pinpointed the promos that work best for you!

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