Tag Archive for: Book Promotion

TO PROMOTE OR NOT PROMOTE

By AB Plum

With the advent of a new year, who better to paraphrase than the Bard himself?

Promoting is much on my mind in these early days of 2018. I haven’t yet finished my 2018 Marketing Plan. Part of me hates, loathes, and cannot stand having to spend writing time on finding reviews, placing ads, and figuring out new ways to get discovered by readers inundated by newsletters for the latest book promotion.

As a matter of full disclosure, I hop on cross-author/genre promotion bandwagons every chance I get. Local newspapers and national magazines have whittled away their book sections so I’m grateful for those authors who manage to host new offerings. Still …

How much of every day did the Bard spend much time “promoting”? How about Charles Dickens—he, who penned (by hand) 5,000 words a day? According to this same source, Barbara Cartland wrote 6,000 words daily. Stephen King’s a slacker with his per diem output of 2,000 words.

How could they possibly have spent any time promoting their books? Did they write in their sleep?

These questions bring up the issue of time management—a subject I find too personal to share publicly. Once, long ago, I was a veritable Little Red Hen. Somewhere, I took a wrong turn and no longer plant, harvest, bake the bread, and read a book a day. 

Before anyone reminds me that promoting goes with the territory of writing, I admit I know this. If I made New Year’s resolutions, I’d resolve to stop whining, adjust my ‘tude and get with the program.

I don’t make resolutions, but I understand I’m wasting my energy, spinning my wheels, ranting over the foregone: YES! To write for an audience carries the need to promote. NO! To write for myself, no need to do anything but write.

’nuf said.



***
Living off the fast lane in Silicon Valley, AB Plum loves her writing life–even the promo activities which challenge her brain and imagination most days. Check out her latest novel, The Dispensable Wife here. Coming later this month: the box set for The MisFit Series. Notice that not very subtle way she plugged two offerings at once.















Off On Another Promotion Adventure

Yep, have another new book. This is another Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Bears With Us.

I have two different series with two different publishers–but small independents. Which means most of the promotion for my books is up to me.

I’ve had some people ask why don’t I go the route that some authors are doing and publish myself–doing the Kindle etc. thing. The answer is I don’t want to–that part is done quite nicely by the publisher(s).

I barely have time for everything else in my life without attempting to figure out how to do all the stuff that makes a book a book. Like most of you, I have a life too. A husband to spend time with, meals to fix, lots and lots of relatives to enjoy, and I want to write.

What I am doing for promotion are all things I like to do–online it’s blogging, Facebook, a bit of Twittering, and I’m going on a couple of blog tours. In person, I’m giving talks at libraries, teaching at writers conferences, book festivals and craft fairs, and going to LCC in Sacramento in 2012. (This one’s close so I’m already signed up.) What I like best about doing the in-person stuff is that I often run into author friends I’ve met over the years and fans who’ve faithfully been reading my books.

I’m just beginning to get reviews for Bears With Us and I’ve been a bit nervous because I’ve broken a big rule of mystery writing–to have a murder within the first 50 pages. Yes, there is a murder–but it doesn’t happen right away. Bears dominate the first pages–and the last ones too.

To me, a great-grandma, all this promotion is an adventure.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com/

Talking About Ebook Promotion and More

Okay folks, I’m getting discouraged. I hate to say it since I was among the very first authors to embrace ebooks eons ago when no one really knew what that meant.

Of course I’ve read all of Joe Konrath’s posts about e-publishing and promotion, and about the young woman who sold 1000s of her self-published e-book and now has a contract from a New York publisher, and Eisler who turned his back on a big advance from his New York publisher to go it on his own with e-books. Oh, and just today I read about a friend of mine who has manged to see 8000 of her books that are on Kindle.

Nearly all my books are on Kindle and I sure haven’t come anywhere near selling that many. I don’t want to spend all my time promoting, I want to write. I also don’t want to drive everyone crazy with my promotions–I fear I may already be doing that.

Maybe I should just relax and be happy with the fans I have now.

Today as this is being read, I’m heading off to a Reader’s Group 3 hours away. They invited me two years ago to do this. They’ve invited me to lunch, then I’ll speak about my books and what inspired them, and afterwards for those who care to buy them I’ll be autographing, and then they are having a tea. It’ll be a really full day. And like any time you are away promoting, you aren’t writing. However, I’m really looking forward to this because I love interacting with readers which I’m sure most of you do too.

Next week I’ll let you know how this went. In the meantime, if anyone has the secret formula for letting people know about e-books please let me know what it is. Preferably a way that won’t take all my waking hours to do.

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

Book Signings and the Midlist Author

by Denise Swanson

Phew! My newest book, Murder of a Bookstore Babe, came out March 1, and I’ve been on the road promoting it for the past two and a half weeks. Writers have to be a bit schizophrenic. We spend the majority of our time alone, in front of a computer with only a cat for company (okay, not every writer has a cat), then for six-eight weeks, when our new books hit the shelves, we suddenly need to become Oprah, or at least Dr. Phil. I’ve heard publicist tell authors they need to be warm and friendly, but still maintain an aura of celebrity. I’m not sure what that means exactly, and the concept of a midlist author as a celebrity makes me laugh so hard, I nearly have an asthma attack.

Writers go from wearing our sweats and jammies day in and day out, to getting gussied up in our best outfits for two months straight. The good part is we get to go shopping because, of course, we have nothing to wear . Our publishers want us to charm the booksellers, librarians, and readers, but caution us about being too pushy. Okay, I know what too pushy looks like—I once saw an author slip his (yes, it was a he) book into an unsuspecting shoppers basket. Like the shopper wouldn’t notice an extra $25 on her bill. But I’m not sure about charming. The best I can hope for is amusing.

In my eleven years of doing book signings, I’ve had turnouts of well over a hundred people to as few as eight (I’m hoping that was because it was the day before Mother’s Day and everyone was busy buying fabulous gifts for their moms). Still, that kind of experience makes every book signing terrifying. A little like, will I get the lady or the tiger?

So why do I do book signings? No one is convinced signings increase sales. My publisher only pays my expenses for a fraction of the appearances that I make. So, again why? Because there is nothing like meeting the people who read your books. Getting a chance to interact and hear their questions is what revs me up for the next ten months of staring at my computer.

When a day of writing feels like I’ve had to open a vein, I remember the teenage girl who had her father drive her all the way from North Dakota to Minneapolis to meet me. When I can’t figure out what’s wrong with a story and want to give up, I remember the grandmother, mother, and daughter who showed up at one of my signings and recalled more of the details from my past books than I did. And when I think the whole thing isn’t worth it, I think about all the people who are trying so hard to get their books published—because even though it’s been eleven years since my first book came out, I’ll never forget just how lucky I am.

Denise Swanson, the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author, decided she would rather write about villains than encounter them in her daily life. She was also shocked to discover that getting a book published was nearly as difficult as vanquishing scoundrels. Her books are set in Scumble River, a fictional small town in Illinois, and feature Skye Denison, a full-figured school psychologist-sleuth who is torn between a handsome police chief and an urbane coroner. Murder of a Bookstore Babe is the lucky 13th book in her Scumble River Mystery series.

As Bees in Honey Drown

On Saturday, the family traveled in a driving rainstorm to Philadelphia to see As Bees in Honey Drown. Our daughter was the director. Proud Mama that I am, give me a moment to kvell. The play was marvelous; the casting sublime; the costumes, set design, music, in fact, all the artistic decisions were creative, brilliant, and so clever that Steven Spielberg might want to put my daughter on speed dial. In other words, the afternoon was a clear the bases hit.

Beyond all questions of maternal pride, the play was also thought-provoking. It asked: what would you do for fame and fortune? How much of yourself would you sell in exchange for at least fifteen minutes, if not more, of fame? The protagonist is a newly-published author. Hmmm, that sounds familiar. His book has gotten good reviews – but the financial payoff has been minimal. Hmmmm, also sounds familiar. (Brief BSP interruption – have you seen the review of Murder Takes the Cake in the Midwest Book Review????!!!!)

Okay, back to the discussion.

We first meet Evan Wyler (a pen name – hmmm), at a photo shoot where he is directed to take off his shirt – so he’ll appear “hot.” Hmmm, okay, not so familiar. I think it’s safe to say that neither half of Evelyn David has been asked to look “hot” for a promo shot…but you get the idea. Evan wants to wear a v-neck sweater leaning on a pile of books by Proust; the photographer knows that sex sells.

The plot, alternately serious and hilarious, follows Evan’s adventures and misadventures as big bucks are dangled in front of him at the cost of his sense of self and personal ethics. He whines that despite spending nine years writing his well-received novel, he still scrambles to pay the rent each month. Offered the opportunity to write a movie of Alexa Vere de Vere’s life for $1,000 a week, he’s eager to sign on despite the fact that he knows immediately that at least part of the tale she is spinning is an outrageous lie. Hollywood beckons.

So would I sell out for fame and fortune? Um, yes, faster than a New York minute.

No, no – I didn’t mean that. Sure the money was momentarily blinding; the photo spread I envisioned in People Magazine was tempting (tops on, of course). But I’d like to think I recognize what’s important in life and the inevitable cost when you trade ethics for dollars or power or even that photo shoot in People.

There’s always a fine line between promotion and selling-out. For that matter, there’s a fine line between promotion and boring people to death as you try to publicize your book. But as both halves of Evelyn David gear up for marketing Murder Takes the Cake, we’ll keep As Bees in Honey Drown in mind (and our tops on!).

Evelyn David

Oops, Late Again

I could’ve sworn I had a post already to go–but obviously I didn’t. Of course it might’ve disappeared into cyber space. That happens to me a lot.

My promotion for Kindred Spirits is winding down. I have three more events coming up: a book fair, a day in an antique store, and two days at an art gallery. Of course all this entailed making the arrangements and doing publicity both online and with the local newspapers and sending out flyers.

Once that’s over maybe I can concentrate on the holidays and perhaps doing some writing. I have two (yes two) new books I need to be working on. I have some ideas for one–but nothing for the other as yet. Sometimes I wonder why I’m doing all this–certainly isn’t to make money because I really haven’t. All the story tellers among us will tell you the same thing–we just have to do it.

My daughter invited us (hubby and me and son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter) to come for Thanksgiving in Southern California and we’re going! For the first time in ages I won’t have to cook. You have no idea how I’m looking forward to that.

For all of you as you head into the holiday season, I wish you all the best–and that you take the time to enjoy your family as I plan to do.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

Blogging, Promoting, Random Thoughts

I’m writing this blog on Saturday because I know I’ll be busy next week and may forget. Things have been wild around here. First, the bathroom is finally done, but next we want to do some remodeling in the two bedrooms next to the refurbished John, which means moving lots of stuff around. When you move things, cleaning follows.

We’re expecting our eldest daughter and her hubby on Monday. They’ve been traveling all around in their motor home–to Kansas to a family reunion, South Dakota for sight seeing, back to Omaha for the Jr. Olympics because a granddaughter was competing, more sightseeing on the way to our house. I want to spend as much time with our visitors as possible. When they leave on Wednesday, we’re heading to the Angeles National Forest to a church camp where we’ll be spending time with my sister and my cousins and various other relatives until Friday noon. We’ve been to this camp before and it’s notorious for its bear visits.

From there we’re headed to San Luis Obispo for a Creative Women all day event on Saturday in the Mission Plaza where I’ll be selling my books. Also the members of the Central Coast Sisters in Crime will have a booth there and so I know I’ll be seeing a lot of my SinC sisters there. The whole point to this is I need to do my blogs ahead of time because I’ll be away from my computer. I will have my Blackberry so will be able to read my email. (I love my Blackberry. I used to have to look for computers in hotels where I could rent computer time.)

I have one other book selling event this month but will spend most of this month promoting on the Net. I’m gearing up for September when I’ll be doing one event after another because I’ll have a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree out.

My promotion begins with a talk at the San Joaquin chapter of Sister in Crime. I love this chapter and am one of the founding members.

I’ve only planned three booksignings at book stores and these are at independents, and at two of them I’ll be giving talks–which I believe works the best. I will be having a blog tour in September also. I’ll be presenting at two writers’ conferences–something I really enjoy.

As for my random thoughts, I’ve had a great time with the promoting part of being a writer. My husband and I have traveled to so many places we’d never have seen in order to attend mystery cons and other writing conferences–from Maui to Florida and lots of places in-between. On my own I’ve visited Alaska twice, and went to the Edgars in New York with a good writing friend–great experience. We’ve made wonderful friends all along the way. All-in-all, it’s been a most rewarding experience and I’m looking forward to even more.

Marilyn Meredith
http://fictionforyou.com

Time to Celebrate (for a few short moments)

I typed The End on my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. Of course now I have to do the most important part and that is editing. I’ll wait a couple of days to get started with that.

One thing many readers don’t realize, it’ll be about two years before this one is in print.

The next offering in this series is called Kindred Spirits from Mundania Press. It will be out in September. The following September I expect the following Tempe book to make it’s debut, Dispel the Mist.

While writing, every author is busy planning how they will market each book. Like most everyone else, I have events going on all the time.

The places I’m going this month are listeed on the website. What that doesn’t tell you is for the park gig on the Fourth of July, it not only means hauling my books, but also an EZ-up (tent without sides, 2 tables and 2 chairs) probably half way through the park–and that depends upon how easily we find a parking spot near te park.

The West Coast Author Premier is a bit easier becauase all I have to haul is my books and handouts for my presentation. (Of course I must remember to print them out.) My presentation is at 10:30 a.m., which is good, then I’ll be all done.

The first night in Ventura we’re staying in a haunted room in a Bed and Breakfast at our request, the second night in my youngest daughter’s brand new home. Will blog about both.

For the writers’ group, of course I have handouts.

With a schedule like this, sometimes it difficult to find a time to breathe, much less write.

This is what I’m doing for the books I already have–and I’m also working on the schedule for the new book due in September.

Slight confession, I love it, just wish I were younger.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

Plans Often Go Astray

My plan for the weekend was to leave early Friday morning with hubby and all the paraphenalia to have a booth at a Flea Market in Temecula CA–about a 4 plus hour drive from our home. We were to meet at our eldest daughter at our granddaughter’s home for lunch. We left in plenty of time, just a bit after 6 a.m.

When we drew close to the bottom of the road over the mountains (I-5, the main connections from the San Joaquin Valley to Southern CA) all the cars slowed to a stop. Accident, we thought. We expected to eventually be guided around it. Instead we were detoured off the highway, around a big loop and back to the main highway going back the way we came. Like sheep, we followed all the trucks and cars figuring they, like us, needed to find an alternate route.

We had a pretty good idea of where we needed to go, up to Tehacapi and down to Mojave, and then we hoped our Magellan would guide us the best way to get to Temecula. By this time we learned via the radio that the problem was a hazardous waste spill on I-5 and no one was going through for a long, long while. Our Magellan wanted to take us back to I-5 through Palmdale but since we had no idea where the spill was we didn’t want to take a chance.

Finally, the mysterious voice on the GPS led us to San Bernardino and on to Genie’s. Of course daughter had already left for home as they had other plans. Genie and Mark are always gracious overnight hosts and we had a great time visiting them and their two little kids.

Before our hosts were awake the next morning, hubby and I headed off for the Flea Market. We thought we left plenty early, but the park where it was being held was already packed. We found a place to leave the car and began hauling the Easy-Up tent, tables, chairs and the pull-alongs with all my books.

I was the only author–something I’ve found to be a good thing–and began attracting attention from the other vendors. Though I didn’t sell a ton of books–I made my fee for the spot back, plus quite a bit more. I also handed out lots of cards and bookmarks and talked to lots of people. By three o’clock the wind came up and vendors began packing up–so we did too.

We programmed in grandson Patrick’s address and followed the voice to his house. There we visited with his wife and three kids. We took them out to dinner, then Patrick, hubby and grandson all went to the motorcycle races. I stayed home with the girls and we watched a chick flick and did a lot of talking.

Once again we left before our hosts were up and about. Left a thank you note and headed for home. Told the mysterious Magellan “best use of freeways” and ended up driving through downtown LA. Not too bad since it was Sunday–however next time I’ll put in “shortest distance” which would have taken us a better way. This time, the drive was uneventful and we arrived home just in time for a barbecue cooked by our son for Father’s Day.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com