Saturday, September 20, 2014

Writing the Books Is The Best Promotion

First of all, thanks to Carolyn Crane for stepping in and posting last Saturday when I was ensconced in a hospital bed! (If you want to know what happened, I've written about it over on my own blog but I'm recovering nicely and I appreciate all the good wishes.)

When I got The Call from Angela James of Carina Press in the summer of 2010, I had no online presence. None. Looking back, that's hard to imagine LOL, say I with 65,000 tweets under my belt now and countless blog posts here, there and everywhere...They were buying Priestess of the Nile and I immediately realized I'd better get myself on the internet in some form and start connecting with the greater world of readers.

I had been writing a behind-the-firewall weekly blog on process improvement issues at the day job for several years so I wasn't a complete newbie. With some help from my daughter, I set up my Wordpress blog, got onto Facebook and explored Twitter. Turns out I loooove tweeting.

When I first went to have my author photo done, the wonderful Dick Wieand asked me what I wanted to convey with the picture. I said I wanted to look as if I was sitting with the reader at their kitchen table, sharing a good story over a cup of tea. That's how I feel about "doing promo" too - I like being online, talking to people, sharing interesting content that I've found on various cool websites, or that other people have curated. Of course sometimes I tweet or post about my own books but the vast majority of the time (I hope!), I'm just engaged in conversation with the online world and if people enjoy what I share, or enjoy my "voice",  then hopefully they'll decide to sample one of my novels along the way. It's all fun to me!

I also indulge myself occasionally in certain promo that just appeals to me. I have book trailers (love that, like mini movies). I've had one of my covers in a group ad buy in a national magazine that regularly features Kim Kardashian on the cover - which thrilled the grocery store checkers and my relatives when I showed them my group's ad but probably did nothing for my actual sales. (The cover was one of nine in postage stamp size, no blurb or anything but I loved being in a mass media magazine just once LOL.) I've had ads in other, more relevant-to-my-books places and I believe those might have resulted in some sales.

Probably the best tangible promo I did was to have genuine Egyptian papyrus bookmarks at RWA, featuring reproductions done in Egypt of gorgeous tomb paintings. I slipped my business card inside the protective covering, put them in a basket in the goody room and they disappeared nicely. Did that lead to sales? Who knows? I liked giving them away and hopefully people enjoyed the novelty.

I don't mean to sound cavalier about promo but I don't analyze much. I'm not someone (obviously) who tracks the ups and downs of my book sales (which is what I would have said if I'd been in a position to post last weekend) but I do care how well the books do overall. I'm chasing that dream of being a fulltime author and sharing my stories is important to me. What it all boils down to, I believe, is writing the next book and the next book and the book after that, and ensuring that each book tells a good story, is professionally edited and professionally formatted. If readers are enjoying them, the sales will happen.

Thanks again for all the good wishes on my health scare last week! Really helped!

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