Before writing this, I thought about how many other people have gone before me and shared about promotion and how it “sits” with them. I’ve read tons of articles, tweets, FB posts, blog posts about this part of publication and how many authors have a kind of a love/hate feeling about it. I’m on the fence, and really have no strong feelings in either direction (yet).
Here’s my strategy:
- Try not to suck (this seems right as #1, don’t you think?)
- Try not to annoy people (IDK…maybe this one ought to get #1)
- Make promo interesting/fun (within my control)
- *Build up a thick skin
- *Realize I can’t fix everything
*more on these in a sec
Back when I worked at International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT, and tell me that doesn’t show some AGE. Hello, telegraph???) now called Alcatel Lucent, I was let go after nine years with the company. I got a job selling ITT key systems for a subsidiary known as Metro Telecom, Inc. I HATED that sales job. I had to “cold call.” Walk into some business at random, ask to speak to the manager, or the person in charge, and try to tell them to spend thousands of dollars, just like that! (snaps fingers) on a new phone system.
You can imagine how successful I was. It’s really the only sales job I’ve had – until now.
Granted, book promotion is different. It’s not cold calling, for one, unless I decide to contact people in a mailing list to persuade them my book is something I think they’d enjoy. That’s not my thing though. I’d rather use a mailing list to send news about events, special prices, or share how the book is doing. I don’t plan to email anyone and ask them to buy the book. On my Ick Factor Scale (IFS) it ranks a -1 bazillion out of 10. And notice that acronym? IFS? Yeah. I can imagine people reading that email and thinking, uh huh, well, that’s a big IF, alright.
There are many ways to promote a book without sounding like a carnival barker. As some of you know, I just did a traditional sort of ARC giveaway. That’s a book promo I think works. The publicist has suggested we do a Goodreads giveaway next month, and I think that will also be another wonderful way to promo. In other words, when I can give something, it makes me feel better. Be it time to answer questions, giving someone a book, or simply sharing news, I’ll always feel I’m on the right side of promotional efforts if I’m doing the giving.
That is the key word for me. GIVING.
Now on to that *thick skinned part of the list above. I am not thick skinned and I’m going to get bad reviews. It is impossible to dodge that bullet because we already know reading tastes vary and are very subjective. Not everyone is going to like my book. That’s right, you there, you might not like it, at all. You might even think, I can write better than this, how the hell did this happen? I know. How do I know? Because I’ve had those same thoughts. 🙂
In order for promotional efforts to be authentic (hey look how much fun I’m having!), and to have the panache to face the public when I know there are 1 star reviews hanging around for everyone else to read, will require the ability to let those negative reviews go. Or try not to read them. (Good luck, Donna, you know you’re too nosy) Maybe I’ll just back up and re-read the good ones, and hope that sort of balances things out and move on.
On to *realizing I can’t fix everything. For example, right now I’m very hands on with my Facebook Author page. (www.facebook.com/donnadaviseverhart) So, today, I was responding to a couple new comments, and I sent an invitation to a new contact to Like the page. While I was poking around out there, FB has these analytics, and I checked that out. I actually felt a little lurch in my heart when I saw an Unlike. Geez. Already??? Somebody liked my page, then unliked it? My first thought was why? And, what can I do? I thought, well, if I know who, then I can reach out to them and maybe “fix” whatever caused them to unlike me. Okay, not me, it. But see? That’s the thin skinned part of me, and the fix it part of me reacting.
Realistically, what can I do? Nothing. They have the right to do what they want. And for all I know, this was an unlike that went right back to a like. I just did that today. I liked the Southern Independent Book Alliance site, and then unliked them because I wanted to “Like” them via my Author Page. Of course I like them! I’m a brand new member! But, I think they would see that “unlike,” just like I did via the analytics.
Now that I’ve shared all this, I ought to print it out and keep it where I can see it. then I should read it a few months from now and see if I still think the same way.
It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure. As a reader or an author, what do you think about book promotions?