Thursday, March 10, 2011

Promoting your book

I try not to be a ranty sort of person, mainly for my own sanity, not to mention my professional reputation. But sometimes an occasional "rant" is necessary. This rant involves promotions...or maybe it should be called "how not to turn off the very audience you're wanting to solicit." 
We all want to support each other. Absolutely. If I can vote for your book, cover, help you out with something...whatever the request, I'm happy to do it. But certain authors who repeatedly spam me (signing me up for their newsletter without my asking for it, is one example) without even so much as an occasional "hello" have only earned one thing from me, and that's a decision to avoid them. And if it comes down to apples and oranges, unless it's something I can't resist, I may not buy their book. Unless that was their secret motive all along, I think that's a sign of ineffective promotion.

None of us is given a primer of the dos and don'ts of self-promotion. What worked for me was to watch how authors I respected handled themselves online. We all make mistakes, and that's fine. But the same people, year after year, seem to be the ones who use "promotion" as an excuse for less than thoughtful behavior.

How does this relate to a new author, just trying to start their career? We have to promote. It's a necessary evil in this day and age. But for every couple of tweets/FB posts regarding your book, your latest contract, etc. maybe add in something here and there a little more personal. It doesn't have to be something you're not comfortable sharing - maybe you burnt two dozen cookies this afternoon. Though it may seem stupid, sharing something we all can relate to shows people you're not on Twitter/FB just to hawk your wares. Commenting on other people's statuses also helps you engage. That doesn't mean you have to write a novel to each person, but a sincere "way to go!" or "excited for you" can go a long way.

Once you've started eyeing a publishing career, it's natural to want to talk about all the exciting things happening to you and the wonderful tidbits you're learning. Enthusiasm can be contagious. Most of my tweets/updates on FB/Twitter are writing-related, but that's also mostly because it's my life, LOL.

What about you? Anything you've learned that helps you navigate the rocky waters of self-promotion?


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