In the past week, I received a couple of emails from people asking my advice on how to promote various online activities, I received an invitation to host a seminar on promotion, and I received an invitation to participate in a BlogTalkRadio discussion about creating a successful Facebook group. Apparently, I’m making a name for myself, (albeit slowly) but not as an author. Am I doing something right? Am I going about my self-promotion in the wrong way? I don’t know.
The interesting thing — to me, anyway — is that contrary to appearances, I still don’t know much about promotion. Sure, I am creating a presence on Facebook, I’m playing around with GoodReads, I blog and tweet. I’m even going to do a presentation at the local library about the brave new world of publishing. But those are the same things everyone else is doing, and I know that to be effective, promotion has to be creative, unique, and personal.
The odds of selling a truckload of books are miniscule to none, but I have never played the odds. I’m not giving up on my first books — A Spark of Heavenly Fire and More Deaths Than One — but in the next couple of weeks my third book — Daughter Am I — will be released, and I will need to figure out how to promote it. And who to promote it to.
When Mary Stuart, my twenty-five-year-old hero, discovers she inherited a farm from her murdered grandparents — grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born — she sets out on a journey to find out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. So is this a book that will appeal to readers in their twenties and thirties? Maybe. Along the way, Mary accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians — former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. So is this a book that will appeal older readers? Perhaps. Mary also meets and falls in love with Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. So is this a book that will appeal to romance readers? Probably not. There is no real romantic conflict in the book. The conflict belongs more in the mystery category, because Mary, Tim, and the octogenarians need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret. So is this a book that will appeal to mystery lovers? Could be.
If I had to do it over again, I would probably be more careful to write books that fit a particular genre to make them easier to promote. Oh, hell, who am I trying to kid. If I had to do it over, I’d write the exact same books. I like telling stories the way they should be told, without adhering to the boundaries of genre or niche marketing.
So, until I come up with a creative, unique, and personal idea of how to catapult me into bestsellerdom (or even bettersellerdom) it’s a matter of continuing to make a name for myself. Even if it is as a promoter.
If you want to know what I know about promotion, check out Book Marketing Floozy. Everything I know about marketing I got from there.