Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Publicity, Promotion

I'm cheating this week and reposting the blog I did Monday for All Things Writing. I have a good excuse, though! By the time you read this, unless you get up very early, I'll be on a plane for Santa Fe. There WILL be pictures next week!

The above are other words for selling, of course. And now that an author has to not only write, but sell their own books, more and more of us are--for the first time ever--working in the sales department.

If I'd wanted to be a salesperson, I tell myself, I would not have become a writer! In the Good Old Days, a writer wrote, a publisher published and sold. Alas, no more. Publishers are stacking that task onto the backs of the writers. Which means, there are a LOT of brand new salespeople in the world of literature.

My only attempt at selling was a job I quit just before I got fired from. (See sentence above that begins: If Id' wanted to be....) I'm hoping I'll prove better at selling my own dang book.

So far, my attempts have included guest blogging, trying to be active and visible online, and booking myself into a couple of mystery conventions. I chose large confabs that fans attend. A writers' conference isn't going to do it for this purpose. Wednesday I leave for Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe, and in late April I'll attend Malice Domestic. These are both well established venues for promoting and selling. With that in mind, and having been told I could probably count on having my book available by mid-April, I'm booked as an official New Author at Malice Domestic. Three other authors and I, all from Mainly Murder Press, went together on an ad in the program. It shows a placeholder cover that I designed, but it's at least getting my name and title before people. There have been a few holdups, so I'm having to cross my fingers that my book will be ready for Malice, but I have faith!

I'm now emailing people to see if I can get some pre-publication (or maybe *at* publication) reviews. I've had some good results, but no one has broken my door down to get my attention.

In the past few days I've designed bookmarks for this book. The cover is not the final version, but the publisher told me I could use it for promotion. I'll take these bookmarks to the convention in Santa Fe this week, Left Coast Crime, and hand them to anyone who will take them. Maybe someone will remember the book and buy it when it comes out.

Meanwhile, I learned that an anthology that has been in the works for some time is probably being printed this week! So I'd better start promoting that, too. Today I had a dozen postcards printed up at the local print shop. I forgot to have them cut, so I'll go by my husband's office and borrow the paper cutter as soon as I finish this. (Which I did Monday.)

I've read mixed results for online ads, so I'm not going to do any of those yet. Both the above-mentioned volumes are paperbacks, but I'll eventually put out an e-book for the novel. At that time I might do some online ads.

Some authors have had good luck with give-aways, which I'll try when I have the physical product to give away.

This is all stumbling in the dark, though! Baby steps.


  1. Kaye, we all have to start somewhere, and you're starting with great ideas and the right attitude. Keep doing what you're doing, and I bet you'll be voted Salesperson of the Year in no time!

  2. Kaye, yes it's a steep learning curve. I've just come across this list of place to promote. Looks like it might have promotion muscle:

    Hope it helps both of us. :-)