Sunday, April 12, 2015

Put A SpRiNg In Your Promotions

The word "PROMOTE" either strikes fear into the heart of an author or heralds a fun challenge to spread the news.

Whether the news is a recent release, a special sale, or just a reminder of a book for which we would like to improve sales, promotion is a MUST in the publishing industry... 

Shall we discuss how to make promotions a fun challenge and eliminate the fear?
Let's consider these questions:
Do you belong to social media such as FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, etc?
Or various groups on Yahoo and Ning? Do you have a website and a blog?
Do you fear that everyone is tired of seeing your title and book page links posted, knowing you are begging for sales? 
Do you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when approaching others about your book?
Or do you feel technically inadequate to participate in online promotions?

First, we need to realize where the original fear comes from regarding spreading the news of our published work. Most of us were brought up not to brag, boast, or wave good fortune before our peers. We were taught to be humble, hide our light under a bushel, and call attention to the successes
of others rather than our own.  How many of us were shot down by parents with the words, "Proper young ladies and gentlemen are modest and do not toot their own horn"? We believe followers, friends, and family will think less of us if we promote our books.

WRONG! This is a new day! In the world of publishing (as in any entertainment industry) promotions are the only way to share the great news that we have done something wonderful -- we've completed a book, had it accepted and published (or self-published), and now we want everyone to know. It's a great accomplishment! Shout it to the world -- we have the means at our fingertips. We can share it on all our social media sites. We can't put up a sign over our business, but we can PROMOTE and we owe it to ourselves, our potential readers, and our publisher to do just that!

Second, accept that the world of promotions can be a scary place and we fear what every normal person fears ~ REJECTION. What if our work isn't good enough, or what if we get a bad review? Or worse yet, what if no one buys the book after we put ourselves "out there"? That would be so-o-o-o humiliating...

What if? What if our book doesn't sell? Will our world end? Will our family cease to love us? We must put the fear of rejection into perspective. Most of us have dealt with rejection of one kind or another all our lives. What if the worst happens -- no sales, bad reviews, low rankings?
Then we need to remember why we wrote our book. Did we write it for the joy of the work or did we write it to become rich? Rich would be nice, but chances are the majority of us write because we are compelled to by our heart and mind. Remember this and keep writing. Just because one story or book isn't well accepted doesn't mean the next might not be a bestseller, or at least widely accepted.  

Third, technology is a growing beast and changes almost daily. Many of us feel inadequate to blog
or maintain a website, or even participate on social media sites. Remember all of us have had "firsts" throughout our lives -- first date, first time driving, first time using an ATM -- and this is just another challenge. Trial and error is a good way to learn how to participate in groups and social media. Ask a friend for help, post questions to our publishing group, get a child or grandchild involved. What a great way to spend time with a loved one and learn at the same time. There are community classes available to help with computer skills or affordable techies who can create a website and blog. Lose the fear and learn!

* * * * *

When I began writing, all of the above and more were my excuses to avoid promotion. But I soon learned there are ways to overcome the fear, anxiety, early modesty training, bad reviews, low sales, and even the excuse of no technical knowledge. 

To summarize, here are some fairly simple solutions:
1. Authors must realize that others don't know about or remember your books unless you tell them and share the links. I am not saying you should post 24/7 until people want to barf if they see your ad one more time or delete your post whenever they see your name. Use your social media to really talk to others - ask about their work, their families, set up a poll or just ask questions, offer your opinion on topics other than books (movies, food, weather - but it might be wise to avoid politics and religion), have a contest and offer a free read, or simply post a favorite excerpt from your book. Be sure to have links to your book or website available. What could be more fun than making new virtual friends? Whose going to TOOT your horn if you don't?

2. If you can't bring yourself to TOOT your own horn, pair up with an author who feels the same. Share her/his book description and links while you share theirs. This way you are helping a friend and a friend is helping you. Trade interviews on your social sites, post each others successes, become each other's promotion agent! It works.

3. Ignore bad reviews! Not every reader or follower is going to like your book. Some people are going to be horribly unfair and fault you for every formatting error or missed comma. They may say your book is too long, too short, too sweet, too sensual, too descriptive (I get this one a lot), characters are too light, or they don't think it ended right. But responding to a bad review with anything other than a "thank you for your input" can be disastrous to an author.

4. Keep your list of groups manageable and participate weekly if possible. Respond to other authors, ask questions, and participate. Don't get discouraged if it seems your promotions are not getting an immediate response. Readers often lurk on groups while following posts and digests and will read your responses up to a week or a month later. The same is true of blog articles.

5. Don't be afraid to try a new tactic. Consult friends on what works for them. Ask an author who is great at promotions to mentor you. Discuss price changes, description changes, or even cover changes with your publisher, editor, or cover designer. Offer a contest or join a Night Owl or Fish Goddess Promotion. Trade interviews and blog articles with friends.

6. Many readers feel that if you don't think enough of your book to promote it, WHY SHOULD THEY READ IT? Sometimes what we DON'T DO makes as much of an impressions as what we actually do. If you aren't confident enough to at least attempt to promote your work, you are writing for yourself and you are doing a disservice to your prospective readers, your publisher and their staff, and yourself.

The name of this game is KEEP YOUR NAME or the NAME of YOUR BOOK in the public eye!
Always remember, if others can do it, you can too!
I know other authors and publishers have more methods and I hope all of you will share both your fears and your solutions.


  1. Thanks for the great article. Yep, I'm guilty on a lot of the charges. But I'm going to take many of these suggestions and try to get my name out. I have had to work out of the home - yep, the job to pay the bills - but one thing I've come to love it Hoot Suite. Its a way to schedule your tweets and get the word out when you are unable to be connected 24/7. There are always so many new twist to learn. I think this is why it makes it more valuable to get connected with others, learn new techniques, and get those works out.

  2. Wonderful advice, Becca.

    I'm willing to exchange reviews, blog posts, or even run a Facebook event if anyone else would like to join in. :) If you need a tweet done, I will gladly do so, too. :)

  3. Great advice, Becca! It's difficult to know what actually works promotion-wise, therefore we have to try everything we can, while at the same time not over-doing it. It's not easy to find that happy medium!


Please support this blog by leaving your comments. SPAM and marketing ads will be deleted. Happy writing and reading.