Thursday, April 4, 2013

High Price Of Self-Promotion

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, 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.


Jill James said...

I did a blog hop that I thought worked well. Unfortunately the lady running them is not going to do it anymore.

I do a little social networking because I like it. But the best thing is write the next book.

Jennifer Faye said...

Great post! And quite timely as I'm just learning all of this promo stuff for my debut. I really love the Jane Porter approach. Hmm... :-)

Thanks for sharing. Wonder how I'll look back on this chapter in my writing career say a year from now.

Terry Spear said...

Like Jill says, the best thing you can do is write the next book. :) It'll help back sales and new sales. It will help gain a following.

Free works best for me. Visiting with your fans on FB, blogging, being sure to have fun, and not just pushing your books. :)

Branding. I write everything, yet--tons of people know me for my wolves and now jaguars and my Highlanders. So I get picture postings from fans of jaguars, wolves and Highlanders. Why? Because those things make them think of me. Now that's what I call being branded. It's great!

And I write about the fae in a YA series, so everything that goes wrong? Blame it on the fae. LOL :) If I say that I couldn't get a picture posted at FB, a fan will invariably say, "It's the fae."

Mostly, have fun!!! Readers can see that in your posts.

woolfcindy said...

I do blog hops, or I did before she decided not to run them any more. I don't blame her, it's a lot of work for her.

I tweet a lot and use Triberr to tweet for me. I retweet for my friends and people who retweet for me.

I FAcebook. I'm going to try to take Marie Force's advice and create a group for my books going forward.

It's so hard to try and spend your time and dollars wisely. So much doesn't work. Some times the things that do, like Bookbub won't take you or they are just too expensive. Even if you do make your money badk, you have to have the money to begin with. Not a lot of us have $450 dollars to spend on one ad.

It's a crap shoot and more often than not, it's craps.

morgan said...

Hi Jill,
Did you do the tour with MK? I did too. Like most tour hosts, she needed time to write too.

Thanks for commenting.

morgan said...

Hi Jennifer,
We pitch our books hoping some nice sugar daddy publisher will take us on. :)

Hey, who can blame us.

morgan said...

Whenever I see something about a wolf, I do think of you. There are worse things to be associated with.

You have done an excellent job branding yourself.

morgan said...

I have to figure out Triber.Karen Cote talks about it all the time, but I am still clueless.

You do an excellent job making connections.

Mona Risk said...

Wonderful post, Morgan. Very thorough and very accurate. It's coming on time for me as I was about to pay to have a chapter posted!!!

I like Twitter and Facebook. I don't know how to attract many people with blog tour. I did one two years ago, It exhausted me for nothing.

Jill James said...

Morgan, I did a couple of blog hops with Carrie Ann Ryan.

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morgan said...

Hi Mona,
I know what you mean. I booked myself on an 18 stop book tour and I was beginning to dislike my characters. :)