Just a quick break from writing to pop in and post.
In all the talk about promotion online and with author groups, one thing I feel is neglected is: What is the PURPOSE of promotion?
I think it’s really important to ask yourself that question as an author. There is no end to the amount of time and money you can spend on promotion. But most of us don’t have an unlimited supply of either, moreover, it’s important to be smart with your time and money so what I do with each book is create a plan for that book. I lay out how much things will cost and go into details and timelines so I can keep it all straight. I find I spend way less money and time if I do this up front so I’m not rushing around at the last minute doing triage.
But the basis for all this work is what I am trying to promote – my writing. It spans more than one story, it’s about what I will write, what I have written and what’s out just now.
In my opinion (and that’s all this is, there’s no one true way or I’d be selling you all DVDs or whatever) – Promotion is never only about that book. If you try to think on it that way, I am not sure you’d ever get your “money’s worth” from it. It’s impossible to quantify either way – but I believe promotion should be far more long term and big picture, just like a career. Promotion, while it is about that book, should be about the author.
What I mean by that is your career is more than about one book. Sure, you want that book to do well and sure, to benefit the author, the book needs to do well. But, to narrow your focus is to leave out some of your most powerful tools.
You’re hopefully growing a reader base, giving them a reason to come back to you again, to seek out your backlist, etc. Approaching promotion with a concrete idea of what promotion is and should be, and of how you’ll use it to get yourself out there without spamming, wasting money like water or being totally ineffective – will give you a direction. Later on you can see what seemed to be effective and what wasn’t. (and here I’d like to interject that recommending your own book to me at goodreads or sending me eleventy billion invites to be your fan are not effective. This is counterproductive and it makes MY job harder because everyone distrusts authors on facebook so I’m painted with that same brush even though I’d never do that)
I’ve noticed authors grumbling when they are asked to do marketing plans. I do a marketing plan for each book and I include things like chats, guest blogging, contests, etc as well as ads. A marketing plan can help you focus on the target, it can help you think on just what that target/goal is.
I believe promotion is not only helpful to an author, especially one trying to build a solid, long term career, but necessary. I know other authors disagree with this and the world is a wondrous place filled with all sorts of ideas and beliefs, that one is not mine. BUT, I believe promotion is done so haphazardly by a lot of authors that they dread it even more than they have to if it’s done with more care.
And that’s my Wednesday post. I’m off to write now.