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Monday, April 8, 2013

UGH! PROMOTION


MUSE MONDAY
There are a few authors that actually like promotion, but most of us would rather get our hair styled by Donald Trump’s barber. Well, maybe not, but the point is we’re writers not promoters, and it’s so hard to figure out the what, when and where of promoting our books. Try to find stats on what works and what doesn’t work. Nada.

So take heart in that because you can do whatever feels comfortable and what works for you. No wrong or right. Here’s my list of the top ten do’s and don’t’s of promotion. Not necessarily in order of importance.

  • Don’t try to do it all. Pick and choose because if you try to join every loop, every social site, print every form of promo – guess what – not only will you never write your next book, you’ll go broke both financially and mentally.
  •  Do join Facebook. This is my personal social media favorite. Some authors prefer Twitter. Some do both.
  • Do blog. You don’t have to have your own blog. Find some blogs to guest on a couple of times a month. The best ones are not all in-your-face promo, but they invite readers to enjoy the banter or subjects of interest.
  • Do/Don’t be active on loops. Okay, I’m on the fence here. I belong to several loops and all I do a great deal of monitoring. I’ll occasionally comment and I like to support other authors when they ask. But if I spent my time commenting on all of them, my next book would not get written. So I monitor, have them on digest and I learn so much.
  • Do network. Join RWA, your local RWA or any of the other groups for writers. I know there are mystery groups and children’s lit groups. These groups keep you in the know and will offer more info on promotion and learning your craft.
  • Do be part of a critique group. I don’t believe I’d ever have gotten published without my critique partners input. This isn’t really marketing but then again, it’s a form of networking.
  • Don’t quiet your mother when she wants to tell everyone including the grocery store checkout lady that you’re an author. My mom has sold a good number of books for me. I did have to stop her when she found out Barnes & Noble by her house didn’t carry my book – she was going to buy some and put them on the shelf herself. My point is, encourage friends and family to talk you up.
  • Do have some bookmarks or post cards/business cards. If you haven’t published yet, have business cards anyway. Don’t get carried away – just a few. And get them from others in the business. Networking can never start too soon and these contacts may come in handy when you’re ready to publish. If you’ve published, get those bookmarks or post cards out there. I’m not a fan of spending money on any other kind of promo items. But this one is useful and sought after by readers.
  • Do have a professional looking web site, even before you’re published. If you have the time and no money, do it yourself. I’ve seen many good ones that authors have designed themselves. First study what’s out there so you know what works.
  • Do write your next book and the next and the next. The more you have published, the more you sell. One book is the best promo for the next one.
Speaking of promotion, would love you to join my site as a follower so I know I'm reaching you! Just click on follow me. If you haven't liked my page on Facebook, hope you do soon. www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor AND Don't forget to join my Quarterly Newsletter Group for a chance to win some gift cards! Here:
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18 comments:

  1. All very solid advice, Brenda. I made my own business cards after I sold my first book to hand out during the waiting period of receiving the final cover art. Believe it or not, I handed out a great deal of business cards. But it was more fun to hand them a bookmark. ;^) Thanks for validating of doing what you're comfortable with and letting family & friends talk/sell your book.

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    1. And you're welcome. Good for you on the business cards.

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  2. Great advice, Brenda. I do all the things you mentioned and hope they help. Getting the next book written has to remain the goal.

    I'm with you on the loops. I want to be supportive of my fellow writers, love helping them promo. But if I stay on social media all day, no writing gets done.

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    1. Social media can really eat you up, Jerrie. But we have to support each other as much as we can give of our time. Agreed.

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  3. Righteous list, Brenda. Balancing time to get to all of these is the key and can be difficult. I constantly have to remind myself to get those cards out.

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  4. Thanks, Brenda. I "came to Jesus" about this marketing/promotion stuff a few years ago and I have tried to be better informed. I buy books, go to workshops, and I badger (lol) authors who seem to know what they're doing so I can learn from success! I now have a business plan and marketing plans for each books. I have two contracts this year. I was told my marketing plan was one of the strongest they had seen. Still, it is not my love. But, for me, writing is a profession, so I'm going to do what I must. Thanks for this post. I'll be sharing it.

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. Sounds like you have it together. Let me know if you ever blog about your marketing plan. I'd love to see it. I still feel like I flounder when it comes to the planning.

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  5. Valuable advice that never hurts to be repeated for us newbies coming along. Thanks

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    1. Thanks, R.E. I think I'll feel like I need reminding for a long time!

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  6. Great advice, Brenda! Personally, I hate promotion, but do the necessary stuff when promoting both new releases and the older ones still up for sale.

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  7. Great ideas, Brenda. I'm just starting out and need all the help I can get. I borrowed your idea (given on Melange) of picking a day to blog when I started mine.

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  8. Great advice, Brenda!

    I 100% agree on Facebook, Blog and Website.
    I'm more likely to buy again from an author I can connect with on a HUMAN level.

    And if an author has a website that looks like a 4 year old made it, well.... how am I going to take them seriously if they don't take themselves seriously?

    One more bit of advice to add to your list: Find a list of reviewers and send your book in. Good reviews can help sell books, too. Send one copy to a reviewer every couple of days and it will only eat up a couple minutes of your time, at a time. :)
    I've seen some good self-designed websites... and I've seen some incredibly tacky ones. (Won't name names of course!)

    If you can afford it, I say consider hiring a professional. *cough* me *cough* (Shameless plug LOL)

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    1. Reviews! Yes, Caroline. And love your shameless plug. LOL

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  9. Good advice, Brenda. Your mom sounds cute! I agree with having author cards (business cards) even if you're not published. I had mine I created and printed myself and gave them out at our RWA chapter mini conference to our guest agent and editor. On a few for that event I even printed a mini blurb of the book I was pitching to give out.

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