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:~: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 :~:

Premature Trepidation

Ever worry about things way before they happen? Or even possibly happen?

I usually don’t. I’m more of a cross-that-bridge-when-I-come-to-it kind of person. But, I have to admit, promotion is something I worry about.

Irrational – I haven’t sold anything. I haven’t had anyone say they were even thinking of buying something. I do have an agent. I do have two revised manuscripts circulating in the big houses. But, still…awful soon to be biting my nails over the topic.

It might be that my fellow bloggers and I have been brainstorming a fresh, new version of this blog. (Launch date February 1st, btw – great stuff coming.) It might also be that I’m taking an awesome class online via AuthorMBA, and we’re talking about getting the biggest bang for your buck, author branding, tag lines, themes, messages, impressions, media presence…the list goes on. And on.

It might also be that I’m a huge introvert. I can be extroverted when necessary, but it sucks every ounce of my energy. And, of course, promotion is all about putting yourself out there—book signings, radio interviews, newspaper clips, press releases, advertisements, guest speaker invites. If you’re like Allison Brennan, a natural extrovert who thrives on that stuff, I guess it would all sound thrilling. But, me…

YIKES!

My throat gets all thick and sticky just thinking about it. Way, way, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone.

How do you feel about promotion? About building a community prior to selling vs. waiting until you’ve sold? About the different aspects of marketing your book? What have you done that’s been successful? Or, not so much? What have you seen other authors do that has been successful? Or, not so much?

Labels:

14Comments:

Blogger Linda Winfree said...

I'm afraid of promotion! However, I know I need it. I've been reading a lot on it in the past few months, and I've learned that what works for one person may not work for another.

Right now, my focus is on name-recognition -- just getting my name out there.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Joan,

I haven't even given a thought to promotion yet. I've thought about Pen names, off and on. (I keep picking them and then promply forgetting them. lol)But that's about as far as I've gone.

I do a good job of spending all my premature advance money though-- just like I have a lot of fun spending the lottery I intend to win somedays.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Joan, I resisted getting a personal website for a while, even though I'm really serious about writing and selling. It kind of felt to me like: who was I to put up a site announcing I'm a writer, I don't have anything published yet?

Then just over a year ago I saw that blogging to get your name out there was something I could do, and I asked Edie Ramer and Liz Kreger to join me and we started Magical Musings. MM started to go really well, and I realized I was being foolish before, or maybe I just wasnt' ready. But now I have the site and the personal and group blog (which now includes Theresa and LaDonna Paulette), and my name is out there. I don't think it hurts, at all, as long as everything is done professionally.

As for the other stuff, I think about it on and off, but it doesn't worry me. I'll leave that worry for another day :)

10:17 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Lin--that's a good thought. One step at a time. Getting your name out there (as Michelle also said) is a great first step.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

T,

LOL, I keep thinking I should play the lotto. Never get around to it. :-(

7:09 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Michelle,

You girls have done a great job with MM. Lin and E and I have been blogging for a year now and have developed some solid fans, but nowhere near the readership you all have. A great promotion tool.

Suggestions for us here at RWKF?

Thanks for visiting.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

We MM girls are happy to share our info. Shall I give Theresa a list of what has really worked for us?

7:58 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Sounds great, Michelle. :)

Several of my RWA chapter mates are recently epubbed, and I've been watching them as they go through the whole promotional nightmare. Booksignings, local TV interviews, newspaper spreads, handouts...I agree, it's a lot of work. And seem so overwhelming to me at this point. Personally, I'm trying not to think about it. I'm taking Michelle's route - get your name out there - blogging, website - but ultimately, right now, for me the most important thing is writing the best book I can so my agent can sell it. Once I sell, I know these things will be foremost in my mind (and I'll be running to all of you for advice on what to do), but right now I'm not worrying about it.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Edie said...

Joan, I'm an introvert too, so I know what you mean. Agent Lori Perkins is writing a series of blogs about marketing that's really good. http://agentinthemiddle.blogspot.com/index.html

9:49 AM  
Blogger Liz Kreger said...

Right now I'm doing everything I can to learn about promotion. My first book is coming out in April and I get the feeling that its gonna creep up on me faster than I anticipate.

If you start thinking about promotion now (when you're unpubbed) it won't seem so overwhelming to you when you have to have a game plan.

I'm more extroverted than introverted, so I'm looking forward to the public promotion. Working the internet is incredibly important, but getting your face out there is just as important. Readers like to put a face to the name. IMO.

Michelle's suggestions about a personal website and the blogging route is dead on. If you google yourself, you'll be surprised how many hits you get just because of your internet traffic.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Michelle,

Thanks! Very generous of you! That would be great.

T has already talked about recipricol commenting -- and what I like about that more than the hits, is the sense of community it builds among us as romance writers and individuals. Rare and valuable.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

E,

Watching others is the best way to learn! I try to focus on the here and now and most of the time I succeed. Every now and then that big picture creeps into my brain and nags at me. :-) I'll try to close the door on that little monster.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Edie,

Oooo, oooo, oooo, I love articles! I'm an article hound. I'm all over that blog -- it's already on my favorites list.

Nice to know I'm not alone in my introversion. :-)

12:55 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Liz,

:: Working the internet is incredibly important, but getting your face out there is just as important. Readers like to put a face to the name. IMO. ::

I'm taking a class right now on promotion via AuthorMBA, and the instructor spoke of this fact on a conference call we had last week. The more modalities of media you can get into (paper, web, radio, etc.) the more impressions you can make. The more impressions you make, the more likely people will be to remember you, and ultimately try you out (i.e. buy your book).

:: If you google yourself, you'll be surprised how many hits you get just because of your internet traffic. ::

Interesting you mention that. Last week, just for fun, I googled romantic suspense author...just to see who would come up. Elisabeth's site came up on page 4, BEFORE Roxanne St. Claire. Mine came up page 5, on the same page as RSC. That's not a fluke. It takes planning to manipulate those search engines to bring you up early and often in their search results. And, dang, you're so right about how important it is for web traffic.

Thanks for commenting.

1:01 PM  

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