Friday, August 17, 2012

What I Should Be Doing

Ever had one of those weeks where you totally effed up the days of said week? A weekly gig that ALWAYS goes down on Wednesdays got rescheduled this week for Friday. Ergo, in what passes as an excuse for my brain, because I'm going to the Wed gig today - it cannot possibly be Friday. Then the caffeine hit fifteen minutes before I have to rush out the door for said gig. So I apologize in advance for the following fifteen minutes of stream of consciousness. Welcome to the inside of my head. It's a messy, disorganized place.

Promo. Dear Gods, promo.

What I'm doing:
Cover cards
Guest Blogs
Twitter - a tiny little bit. I seem to be awkward in the shorter venue

What I'm not doing:
Most notably, I'm not tracking actual sales back to any of those efforts.

Here's the deal. In marketing for every other industry on the planet, you expect to see some return on investment. The rub is that authors have to measure the worth of our time - do we serve readers better by planting our butts in our chairs and pounding out a new book? Or do we serve readers better by attempting (and in my case, failing) to be amusing on Twitter? Where's that balance?

When I worked for a large software company that shall remain nameless, they'd send out a mailer to registered customers about a new product. A 1% response rate (people calling our phone line to order) was a great response. Marketing swooned when 3-4% of people called. So did we, cause it meant our phone lines were swamped. But with the current state of traditional publishing's sales reporting, there is no way to assign cause and effect to any promotion an author pursues. Amazon is MUCH better about that, and I suspect a watchful author could indeed track sales back to a specific promotional effort and thereby tailor his or her efforts to reach and please more readers in that fashion.

Reaching readers is the point. Establishing relationship. Learning what resonates with the people reading what you write and providing some method for readers to feel a part of the larger world of characters and stories. All of that said, my very favorite interaction with readers is in person. I have met and become friends with some of the most amazing people from all over the world by going to conferences and conventions. I've made friends all over the world via email, Facebook and Twitter - but always, always, I love getting to meet and see these people without the veil of technology between us. And you know? The single question I hear readers ask the writers they meet?

"When's the next book coming out?"

Having a date (and, if you're lucky, a cover flat) to give in answer - is that the best possible promo and way to serve readers? If so, pardon me. I'm going to grab the Alphasmart and type during the down times in today's proceedings.


  1. I would say release dates and cover reveals are the information I look forward to (other than reading the actual book of course).

    1. Those have always been my thing, too, Sharon - I'm more interested in the next installment of whichever adventure most obsesses me at the moment. :D There's a philosophy out there that says "Do the things that give you energy. Minimize doing the things that deplete your energy." I think that might be a good way for authors to go - do the things that feed you so you're excited about writing. And I suspect for each of us, what gives us energy will be different. But you're right. There's nothing quite like looking at the cover for the first time. :D