Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Navigating Through The Jungle That Is Promotion-Part 1

I have five windows open on my laptop right now. Six if you count my current WIP.

-Yahoo Mail

-this Blogger post




Every single one is among the promotional tools that I use, yes even YouTube and I'll tell you why later.

I've wanted to be a writer since I was a young girl and I thought that my job was simply to write the thing and send it off to get published. All my favorite authors were these glamorous figures who did talk shows and radio interviews. I figured the publisher took care of all of that and I thought it was a perk of being a successful writer, I didn't see it as the authors actively working to sell their books.

As I grew older and read more about the writing life I was surprised to find out there were whole sections on 'selling your writing' and they weren't talking about just selling to publishers. They were talking about selling to readers.

Did they mean self publishing? Nope.

The fact is, if you want readers, you have to go get them or at least make it easy for them to find you. Even the big NY publishing house writers know this. That's why you'll see Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn on groups and blogs. These are some of the most successful writers today and yet they know that the romance market accounts for over 50% of all books sold. Those are a lot of books. Those are alot of authors competing for your hard earned money. If these big names don't keep themselves out there, accesible to their readers and constantly promoting themselves, there are any number of newbie authors coming up the ranks to take their place.

For a smaller publisher's author, promotion is even more vital. Your publisher simply may not have the ability to promote you on the same scale as the bigger houses. The majority of the promotional work falls to you.

Now chances are you don't have the ability to promote yourself the way they big houses do either.

Enter the gift from the Gods called The Internet.

I started my career as a fanfic writer. I would write purely for pleasure, stories based on my favorite tv shows or movies and I would join communities and boards that focused on these shows. I was surprised to find that these places had fanfic sections where I could post chapters and people would give feedback. Instant reader/writer interaction. Invaluable. I still write fanfiction and these readers have followed me onto my original fiction course as well. Thanks to fanfiction, I have a built in readership to buy my books.

Which leads me to YouTube. The tool of procrastinators everywhere, or so it may seem on the surface. My YouTube profile has information about me and that I'm a writer and my author website. So as I'm browsing around on YouTube watching fun videos from laughing babies to soap opera montages, everytime I comment, my username is visible and they can click on that and be taken to my YouTube profile where my writing info is. Everytime I get friended on YouTube, there's one more person who's been to my profile and knows I'm a writer. Will all of them buy my books? Likely not, but a few of them might get curious and click on my website link and learn more about what I have available, something might intrigue them and boom, there's a sale I wouldnt have had it if I wasn't 'wasting time' on YouTube.

Then there's Facebook. I'll be honest, I was ambivalent about Facebook at first. I had one, but didn't really use it much. Then as I began interacting with other writers on groups, I would check out their FB pages and realized how many writers were on FB and how we could all interact and boost each other's sales. The first few weeks I began to more actively participate on FB, my novella Redemption by Amira Press shot in to the top 10 bestsellers. Was that because of FB? It would seem so.

I'm a newbie to Twitter but I'm loving it. It's a fantastic medium to connect with, in little bite size pieces readers and writers not to mention friends and fellow fangirls who love the same shows that I do. Again, my writing info is on my profile page and when people decide they want to follow me, they see that info and can check out my website.

I'm a blog junkie. Blogs are wonderful tools to share pieces of yourself and promote your writing to the world. I adore reading writer's blogs and learning about their lives and writing processes. Through commenting and interaction you build up relationships with these writers and guess what? A lot of writers will have guest spots where fellow authors can promote their releases. So if you're reading a blog, ask if you can be a featured author and make sure to pay it forward and allow them or another author to be featured on yours.

I don't think I have to tell you how powerful a tool e-mail can be for a writer. Honestly, I don't know how writers got along with out it before. Through e-mail you can talk to readers, do business with your publisher and/or agent, work on edits, submit work and joing e-mail groups or loops as I've recently learned they are called. I was a part of a few groups that were fandom based and these again, became fans of my original work so again, instant fanbase. Then when I started to join writing groups, it was like this wave of promotional goodness, excerpts, chat days, contests all of it came right to my inbox.

So that's a little (or not so little) peek into the tools available to you to promote your writing. Look for the second part coming next month!

You can find me at www.ejamie.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=855670581&ref=profile
Twitter: http://twitter.com/nancy777ca
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/workinmypjs
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/nancy777ca
And at My Publisher Amira Press's Website as E.Jamie at www.amirapress.com


Jordyn Tracey said...

Wow, good stuff, Nancy. I did't even think of that use of YouTube and I sure spend enough time over there watching videos. Hey, it would have been great too if you had added a link or something to your site at the end of this post, or did I miss it? Thanks for the promotional tips.

NancyD said...

How dumb am I? I had planned to include my info at the end and by the time I finished writing it I had completely forgot. (shakes head) Thanks so much for reminding me.

YouTube is especially network worthy if you have your trailers up on your profile and comment a lot on fellow authors trailers!

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