Friday, September 28, 2012

The Daunting Abyss of Marketing and Promotion

I'll be the first to admit, I am horrible at getting my name and books out there. Right now, I'm staring at a promotional to-do list that is fifty-million items long...

Okay, THAT may be an exaggeration, but this is my blog so I can be as melodramatic as I want.

I don't usually compare myself to other writers, because that path leads to depression, insecurity and most likely insanity. But in the area of marketing, promotion, and all around public relations, I can't help but notice that my fellow writers seem so much better at it.

And their sales show it.

They work their asses off balancing the time of writing and creativity with the work of letting people know their book(s) is/are out there. I'm so impressed and fascinated by the seemingly natural flow.

I am not comfortable boasting about my book in the respect as "see here for purchase". Oh, I can chat up all the science and world building in it and the basis for its development and inclusion in the story, but that's just geeking out, isn't it?

Yeah, I thought so. *sigh*

I can do what I hope are interesting articles about science, technology, research, and/or development, but most of the time I get so excited about the topic that I forget to tie it to one of my stories and add a book summary and purchase links.

So, back to the thing that prompted this post. I'm staring at the daunting abyss of promotion items I need to do. There's interview questionnaires, topic items for blog posts (with their link to a published or soon-to-be published story), blog tour requests to send out to my blogging buddies, and excerpt posts to send off to Yahoo Groups and Facebook.

Usually I try and end a post like this with a "here's what I'm going to do about it" paragraph, but truthfully folks, I'm too overwhelmed and, yes, frightened to come up with some solutions.

Yours truly, quivering in the corner,

A. R.


  1. Promotion intimidates me, too. I do my best, but I still wonder, "Wow, am I even doing what I'm supposed to??" Because I gotta say... I'm not bathing in money yet. ;)

  2. Yes, but while you've been blathering on about marketing you could have been writing that nifty new idea that came to you in a dream last night. So, you see, you've been actually spending too much time on promotion. Get back to your keyboard before your muse gets truly pissed at you.
    John Klawitter

  3. Kindred spirit, Patty! I think I'd rather be caught in stick-up than talk about my book. (Okay, maybe not really, but it'd be a close call.)

  4. Haha! John, that was just the reality check I needed. I like your way of thinking, my friend.

    And you're right, I must be cautious of my muse, she has a temper like you wouldn't believe!

  5. Promoting our books is a challenge for most of us. Having a sigature with your website info or book titles in it is always helpful and you don't have to work at it--just post comments on your reader/author loops and converse for a few minutes. I usually onmly spend the first 2 weeks of a new release doing blog tours, interviews and all. I feel over exposure is as bad as underexposure. I know you've seen authors who hawk their books in groups every day or blog every day. After a while, I just go numb to them. It's hard to say what works and what doesn't when it comes to promo. Even traditionally published authors are having to do a lion's share of their own promo now so I guess we all have to get better at this. What most of us would rather do with our time is write, but the sad truth is, if we want to make money with our writing, we have to promo.
    Loved your wit in this blog.

    1. Those are some good tips, Sarah. It does seem like some authors over promote. I thinks that's part of what makes me apprehensive. I fear becoming "that author". (And thank you for the compliment, mucho appreciado!)

  6. A. R.,

    You know what needs to be done. Narrow your promo list to the three most important things and get'R done. That said. Gotta go. Got my own list to work on.

    Good luck!

    1. LOL, thanks Mickie. I just had this image of a coach and a pregame pep talk. Perfect! Now get going on your own list!

  7. Readers won't read your book if they don't know it exists, so you definitely have to get your titles out there enough to spread the word. That being said, the best promo really is publishing another book. The more works you have, the more people get to know your name.

    1. That is a good point, Allie. I just read an article from Dean that in this day and age it takes 7 to 10 years to become a staple in the reader's mind (or some such thing). Of course, like you state, you have to let readers know you're here... which I'm trying to get better at doing.

      My 4th novel will release in a couple weeks and I have lots of short stories in anthologies and ezines. I've got a short story contribution in a SF anthology and two more novels slated for 2013. I also plan on releasing a novellette I've been working at here and there.

  8. Call me cynical, but most of my promo efforts go to groups full of other writers waiting for their turn to promo. So I'm not sure how effective that is at all. I just haven't seen a pay off. I do like FB groups and discussions about scifi related topics, like what happens on SCIFIROM blogs.

    Self publishing has given me the biggest boost in sales since I started publishing in 2005. We'll see how the 3rd book in the series does, but I am expecting a boost in sales.

    It all seems like playing a card game--sometimes you get the good hand and sometimes you don't! I have a vampire romance novella that sold nada with a small pub,now self pubbed, sold a hundred dollars this month. ??? I didn't promo more than a mention on a blog and a tweet. It's the same book! And I know $100 isn't anything, but it is a lot more than nothing! I guess there are readers who search certain categories on Amazon.

    My goal is to get a novella out every three months.. Will see how it works.

    1. I hadn't fully thouht of it like that but it is so true, Melisse. And I'm not that good at cards :(.

      I'm going to try my hand with self publishing for a novellette I've been tinkering with here and there. It should be ready early 2013 for publication.

      Novella every 3 months? Wow, that's ambition! But for a focused writer with great editing skills, maybe not so much.