I attended conference last year where Jane Porter spoke. She is a popular Harlequin author. She flirted with other publishers, but stayed with Harlequin because all she had to do was write. She didn’t self-edit, design covers, hunt down a beta reader or write endless blogs. Her new potential editor wanted her to write a blog a week. She explained to her attentive audience, “Do you know how much time that would take? Then, you have to answer all those comments.”
Well, I do know how long it takes to write a blog a week, sometimes I write four. On a day, like today, I thought I posted when I didn’t. Often writers catch themselves coming and going while self-promoting, writing, having a family and a job, and any social life that doesn’t involve writing.
What works for the small press writer? At a recent INRWA meeting, romance writer Marie Force mentioned what didn’t work for her. Big expensive ads on RT, didn’t budge her sales one bit. The ads on Facebook that are supposed to target your audience fell flat too. Fans willingly did the legwork for her. People pasted information on their Facebook pages or tweet about Marie’s upcoming book. You can’t buy that type of advertisement.
As a small press author, I have small funds too. I heard about one person paying a couple of thousand for a publicist. In fact, I was contacted by a publicist to feature her author on novelspot.net, which is an absolutely free site to authors. She was paying for something she could do herself. I did contact the publicist who never followed with the book. I can’t review the book without reading it.
Often we pay for things, we shouldn’t. A good example of this are sites that will promote the first chapter of your book for a mere $50 a month. Readers have to pay to join, when they can read the first chapter of your book for free on Amazon. What do you think the reader will do?
A few friends spent huge amounts of money on swag hoping to promote their book. It depends on how useful that swag is if it is effective. I still have the emery board from my Jane Porter conference still in my purse. On the other hand, I probably littered the airport with various trading cards, bookmarks, and postcards as I left the NYC conference.
How do you know what works? What causes you to pick up or buy a book? Currently, I am a tour host for Goddess Fish books. It has exposed me to books that I may have never read before. As a tour host, I now have ten times the traffic than I did before. It also gives me an opportunity to network with other writers too. This costs me nothing, but about 30 minutes at night.
Some of you have tried the social media route, which is free, except for all the time it eats up. A recent radio survey denoted that people tend to unfriend or unfollow people who use their connection to make political remarks or push their book. I retweet my friends’ tweets because I have a connection with them and I want to be nice to them. If all a person does is promote her book using your social media, is she your friend?
Giveaways draw potential readers, right? Jayne Ann Krentz shared the value of the prize does not mean you get the type of participant you’d like. If you offer a Kindle, all sorts of people will enter who will never read a romance in their life. Starbucks will net you coffee drinkers, but often not readers. Amazon cards are sometimes a better bet because it will be spent on books, possibly yours. If you choose Rafflecoptor to award one prize instead of giving out a prize at each stop this may discourage people. Rafflecoptor also passes along viruses, probably not intentionally, but I see them pop up every time I use it.
I love to hear what works for you.