March 2, 2013

Promotion- Part 1

Whether you’re published with one of the NY houses, a small press, or self-published, promotion is a necessary evil in the writer’s life. There’s no avoiding it. Writing a great book is only the beginning. Now the real work begins.

Bring up the subject of promotion in a room full of writers and you will get mixed reactions. Some love promotion, and some, well, they’d rather have a root canal. But one thing they’ll all agree on, promotion is a must if you want to stand out in this growing industry. The days of writing the book, then slinking back into your writing cave and working on the next one are over. In order to build readership – to build relationships with your readers – we have to be out there in the online world, interacting and talking.

Believe it or not, this can be very uncomfortable. Most writers, though not all, are introverts. We LIKE our caves; the quiet solitude, the days we never get out of our PJs or put on make-up. Don’t get me wrong, we love interacting with readers, but stepping out of our comfort zones, being the one to start the conversation…*Sarah shivers*

Remember, we surround ourselves with fictional characters – converse with them, laugh with them, even cry with them. We writers are a bit nutty and we know it! Conversing with real live people is terrifying. Worse, WE are the topic of conversation. Talk about being self-conscious!

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time talking about myself. I can talk about my sons or my husband all day long. I can tell you about my dogs, all of them rescues, and how much they make me laugh. But to tell you about my books, my accomplishments and awards…it always feels a bit like patting myself on the back. And that little voice that pops into my head – the voice that tells me it’s not good to be a braggart – yeah, I could do without that. But let’s face it; unless we learn to promote ourselves, we’re never going to get anywhere. So what’s an author to do?

I’ve asked myself this question more times than I can count. Heck, I’ve probably asked it of other authors even more, but no one seemed to have the answer. Then, I stumbled upon a little gem of advice. And if once wasn’t enough, I ran into the same advice about three times in a two week span. Here it is, paraphrased:

You are not trying to draw attention to yourself, but to your product. You are offering something of value to them – your book. Tell people about it, this product that they may like, if it’s not for them, they can ignore you. 

I love this! I may type it up and tape it to my keyboard as it is something I am going to strive to remember. And maybe, just maybe it will make hearing the term ‘promotion’ easier for me to take.

What about you? Do you love promotion or would you rather have a root canal?


Pippa Jay said...

Most days I enjoy promotion, but so far it's been from the safety of my computer, not face to face. But some days it seems like a hard slog for nothing. So I have mixed feelings about it I general.

Maeve Greyson said...

Sign me up for the root canal. *sigh* I HATE promotion because as a child I was hammered with the "pride goeth before the fall" and "don't toot your own horn" mantra until I felt the safest place was the hall closet behind the boxes. But --as you said, we gotta do what we gotta do or our stories won't get noticed. Thanks for the great post, Sarah. :-)

Jan Romes said...

I'm with you, Sarah, and also Pippa and Maeve. Give me a computer and I'm relatively fine. Face to face a whole different animal. I have to speak at a mothers club this month... That root canal would make an excellent reason to cancel.Haha!

Great post, Sarah :-))

Nancy Jardine Author said...

I believe some writers have an affinity with puttting themselves out there, but most of us don't. Right now, I feel the need to have all my teeth root canaled (spelling?). I am just stepping forward in the world of physical local promotion, having got bookings for visits to writing and book groups and it's quite scary. I've done one already. Talking about myself, as you say, Sarah, is not like talking about any other subject! Thanks for the quote.

Joanne Stewart said...

Yup, sign me up for the root canal, too. Me and self promotion don't go well together. I'm not only an introvert, but extremely shy to boot. I shudder at the thought of telling people about me. I don't talk about myself well and when asked, usually have to sit there and think a while to come up with something. That's exactly that voice in my head says--that I'm being a braggart. Some days, I feel like a spammer. lol

But that's what I've come to think lately--if people don't like it, they can just ignore me. But if I don't at least try--even if I do end up sounding like a braggart or a spammer--then I've failed myself and this book I love so much.

Great post, Sarah.

Robena Grant said...

Interesting post. and yeah, root canal for me too. : ) I'm going to have to copy that advice and put it on the side of the computer.

Sarah Grimm said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who would vote for a root canal. It's worse when I'm somewhere as Sarah Grimm, the author, but I'm with family. Talk about feeling self-conscious!

I'm planning on putting together a few local signings - something I've never done before - so like Nancy, I'm a bit nervous about that. However, if I don't do it, then how will anyone learn about my books? Right? :)

Harlie Williams said...

As an owner of a review site, I love to promote authors. I love getting the word out about a new or even a backlist book to help an author.

As an author, I absolutely hate promoted myself. It seems crass but its necessary.

That said, I do however, turn off authors that over promote. And yes, it can be done.

Great post and I can't wait for part 2.


Sarah Grimm said...

Harlie - I'm with you on over-promotion. It can be done! This is one of the things that makes me hesitant sometimes, as I fear becoming one of the over-doers. :)

Not quite sure what Part 2 will be. LOL Thinking I may share the parts of promotion that I LOVE.

Harlie Williams said...

I don't over promote my review site either.

Roni Loren had a great post about the perils of promotion last year and I can't agree with her and you in regards to promotion.

Just wish some authors would get the memo.


Calisa Rhose said...

I agree, Sarah. I may have to make this a desk decoration too. Thanks. Perfect timing with the release (today!) of my new book. :)