`1` Romance worth killing for
Shattering Romantic Suspense
Author Websites
Elisabeth Naughton
Joan Swan
Linda Winfree
Author's Latest Releases

Coming Soon

AddThis Feed Button

Industry Blogs We Like
Agent Obscura
Anatomy of a Book Deal
Bookends Literary Agency Blog
The Bradford Bunch
Buzz, Balls & Hype
Jennifer Jackson, Literary Agent
The Knight Agency
Magical Musings
Mid-Willamette Valley RWA Blog
Kristin Nelson, Literary Agent
Jenny Rappaport, Literary Agent
Miss Snark
Murder She Writes
Paperback Writer
Romancing The Blog
Running With Quills
Working Stiffs
Samhain Publishing
Wine Country Romance Writers, RWA
Author Blogs We Like
Elisa Adams
Carol Burnside
Brenda Coulter
Tanya Holmes
Larissa Ione
Lydia Joyce
Elisabeth Naughton
Patti O'Shea
Edie Ramer
Kate Rothwell
Marissa Scott
Lynne Simpson
Amie Stuart
Joan Swan
Karin Tabke
Stephanie Tyler
Linda Winfree
Recommended Resources
Agent Query
Charlotte Dillon
Common Redundancies in Writing
Cop Talk--Karin Tabke
Crime in Mind
Cruisie/Mayer 2007 Online Workshop
Kiss of Death RWA Chapter
Publisher's Marketplace
Romance Agents
Romance Writers of America
Previous Blogs
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
What We're Working On Now

Elisabeth: Marked

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
33,126 / 95,000

Joan: Buried Secrets

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
68,000 / 115,000

Linda: Facing It

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
45,540 / 85,000

:~: Friday, October 26, 2007 :~:

A Promotional Primer

Many times as writers, we focus only on making that initial sale. Visions of The Call and our reaction dance in our heads. Very rarely do those imaginings include the realities of what lies in wait once that first goal is realized.

For the past few months, between edits and writing a new manuscript and teaching and . . . well, you get the picture, I've been slowly developing and getting a handle on my marketing plans. Luckily, the house for which I write has a marketing director who is very accessible and eager to help. I'm also surrounded by other authors willing to share their promotional expertise. So slowly, sometimes agonizingly so, I'm getting a handle on this new learning curve called promotion and marketing.

Here's the deal: whether one sells to a large New York house, a small commercial press, an academic small press or an e-publisher, a writer will have to promote herself on some level. Samhain, the house I'm published with, has several authors who also write for larger New York companies. They've said over and over, they are expected to do as much promo on their own for their New York books as they are for their small press books. Although the print runs and distribution might be larger, the need to promote is the same.

So what works, you ask? I'm not sure, I answer. (But I'm working on it.) Buzz and name recognition are key. Branding is important. I'm getting that much down. The best ways to build buzz, etc. still eludes me (but I'm learning).

The key, I believe, is knowing your target audience. With Samhain, I have two: those who buy and read e-books and those who buy print books. (That's within those who buy romantic suspense). Therefore, I have a marketing plan for my e-releases and one for my future print releases. Although some of the techniques are the same, the approaches are different. (Why do I have to worry about promoting for an e-release, I can hear people asking, I'm only subbing to print houses. Well, the reality is that many houses, such as Harlequin and Kensington, are now producing electronic versions of their titles. And people who read e-books often buy print titles as well. I sincerely believe targeting to both markets is a smart decision.)

Now that I've rambled, here are promotional ideas that seem to have worked for me:

1) Web presence. Website, blog, MySpace, somewhere readers can find out more about you and your books. Offer them a reason to come back. No, wait. Make it impossible for them NOT to check back. Connect with your readers.

2) Reader loops. I choose these over writer loops (although I also participate in a couple of writer loops as well). Rather than joining many, many loops, I have four on which I post regularly -- my publisher loop, one for readers of suspense books, a review site's reader loop and one for readers of romance. Because drive-by promotion is annoying, I strive to be a regular presence, taking part in everyday discussions so when I am promoting my books, it's less intrusive.

3) Chats. I have not had great luck with live chats, but I believe this is due to the fact I've always gone to free-for-all chats, where many authors can chime in. It gets cluttered. I'm looking at scheduling one or two with just me or a few other authors. However, I have success with chat loops, such as Novelspotters. My sales usually increase after one of these loop chats.

4) Newsletter. I have a Yahoo group I use solely for my newsletter, which goes out once a month. I try to offer my subscribers something they won't get just by browsing my blog or website. For instance, my free reads are available through my newsletter group and often I will run a newsletter-only contest.

These are my big four. I'm working now on developing an advertising plan and I'm learning to send out press releases in advance of print releases. Also, I'm working on bookmarks and postcards to use for mailings and conference goodie bag promo. In the weeks to come, I'll share those experiences as well.

Do you have unique promotional ideas to add here? What does or doesn't work for you? Please share!



Blogger Joan Swan said...

Wow, Lin -- good stuff! Promotion is one of those things I try NOT to think about. It scares me...mostly because it's the big unknown.

Thanks for the info and I look forward to learning more as you do.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Baby steps, J. Baby steps. I didn't jump out there and just start doing all of this. I began with one thing, added another, etc.

I've found that having a plan is key or you end up just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks and getting overwhelmed.

2:59 PM  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

Great post, Linda. Thanks. I'm with Joan. It's still the big unknown for me. One thing I'm doing to get a jumpstart is the name recognition thing - which I do by participating in blogs (posting on my own and commenting on many others). Hopefully by the time I'm published, people will see 'B.E. Sanderson' and know me at least a little. =oD

9:06 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

B.E., I think everything we do in advance helps. And I also believe that one big mistake is to let promoting get in the way of writing. However, ignoring the fact it's a necessity is a recipe for disaster.

And I'm definitely still learning how to do this effectively (although I have managed to get it down to a 20-30 minute period daily).

6:08 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home