My Valentine to you: Publicize your book without bankrupting yourself!

announce-3192838_1920I started this blog for readers and writers because I wanted to share my experiences of wading through the publishing morass, hoping others can learn from them. Most of the time, I try not to rant, but today’s post contains a little bluster and perhaps enlightenment for those who are new to promoting their books.

Continue reading “My Valentine to you: Publicize your book without bankrupting yourself!”

Go for the Gold and Hire a Publicist!

Since my novel Fling will be published in July of this year, I’ve been feverishly (and I DO mean feverishly) learning how to market the book. Its success will determine whether my other novels (three more) will also find their readers.

I have read from cover to cover, pen in hand to mark every important idea, David Cole’s The Complete Guide to Book Marketing, Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, and Patricia Fry’s Promote Your Book: Over 250 Proven, Low-cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. I’ve searched the Internet from one end to the other, collecting other author’s stories on how they did it, my files bursting with information that I’ve had to cull through and categorize. By the time I finished, I was reeling.

In walks my stepdaughter Eva Zimmerman, Publicity Manager at Seal Press. I present her with 25 pages of notes summarizing my research, and she quickly puts it all into perspective. Instead of slogging through a quagmire of information and getting stuck every few minutes with questions of “how do I do this?,” I now have a manageable plan to follow that isn’t overwhelming. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do, but as Eva pointed out, I shouldn’t put my energy into areas that I hate or that won’t be fruitful. Go for the gold!

Not everyone has a stepdaughter who specializes in publicity, but if you don’t, you can hire one (a publicist, that is). And I highly recommend it. Professional publicists know things that non-professionals don’t. You wouldn’t go to a general practitioner to have kidney surgery. Nor would you expect a proofreader to give you the feedback that a developmental editor can. The same is true with marketing. Experts have access to lists and individuals that we mortals don’t.

So while all of my research did give me insight into what it takes to successfully sell books these days, I’m grateful that Eva is guiding the process and opening doors that I couldn’t have done by myself.

And, yes, she does do freelance work.

 

 

Blogging into Visibility

One of the first things my publisher told me to do before my novel Fling is published in 2015 is create a fan base. I don’t think he was referring to the kind of fan I’m used to, a mechanical object with rotating blades that whirl around and stir the air. In a way, though, I suppose the kind of fan my publisher was referring to can stir things up and call attention to our work.

Yet for someone of my disposition (I don’t love big parties or crowds; I prefer quiet intimate dinners with close friends and enjoy spending time alone), making the kind of outreach that marketing a book requires is hard. Not only is it all consuming, taking time away from the precious little I do have for writing itself, but I also must enter a world totally different from the one I’m accustomed to.

I’ve had to learn the language of twitter (I still haven’t a clue how to make that networking approach work); tumblr (not sure exactly what this does); and Facebook (I’m a neophyte, but I’m learning how to add “friends,” many of whom I don’t know, and I’m very good at liking things that stand out); triberr (can’t figure this one out); and Pinterest (not sure how to employ this tool). I’ve signed up for blog rolls and blog hops. I’m investigating virtual book tours since real ones don’t do much for unknown authors. At the moment, I have a 15-page marketing plan, and I’ve only scratched the surface! It will be a book itself by the time I’m finished.

This sounds like sour grapes when I should be grateful that my novel will be published (and I am!), but how will all of these activities make people like my writing or become a “fan”? This marketing madness is an aspect of writing I hadn’t anticipated. While I was familiar with the demands of researching publishers and publications for long and short work, both poetry and prose, the business side of what we writers do, this other aspect of publishing has totally changed my life.

It’s also one of the reasons I am writing this blog (as so many other writers are doing), trying to make my presence as a writer known beyond my immediate friends (who must hate receiving all these posts!). At times I wonder if I’m just preaching to the choir since most writers have the same goals: We’re enrolled in Goodreads and Librarything. If we’re women, we try to keep connected with Shewrites. We’re all trying to sell books, but are we actually reaching those readers who aren’t writers themselves, the ones we want to attract?

I would like to hear from other writers who are also going through this process and have advice on how to survive it. Meanwhile, here I am, stirring up a little air on the Internet in my search for fans.