Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 28 December 2014

Promotion, promotion, promotion! by Mary Smith

Long gone are the days when an author wrote a book, it was published and the publisher took care of marketing and promotion while the author could concentrate on writing the next book. Perhaps the author would be expected to read at the launch, maybe even take part in a book tour organised by the publisher’s PR team.

Now, authors, whether traditionally or self-published, are expected to be experts in marketing, be social media savvy with Facebook pages (though this might be about to change when FB starts charging to promote anything other than cute kittens) Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and goodness knows how many other such sites. Book launches and tours are done online, organised by the author. Some publishers insist their authors have their own blog – and of course everyone has a website. Actually, a website is beginning to have a rather old-fashioned ring to it.

All of the above is by way of creating an author platform. The point is not to tweet about your own book or show your new publication on Facebook – well, it is and it isn’t. Creating your author platform is about building relationships, making friends with thousands of people, entertaining them with your witty tweets and hoping they might, one day, buy a book.

Oh, and then there are promos to consider – when to discount your book (or give it away for free) for a limited sales period, and which sites should you use to spread the word to readers? I have lists of promo sites but it becomes complicated when you have to book slots weeks in advance – and some sites only let you know a few days before the promotion starts that they have rejected your book – for reasons known only to them.

It’s exhausting. It’s like being on a treadmill. From time to time I question just why I do it. Then, I look at some of the publishing statistics. For instance UK publishers released more than 20 new titles every hour over the course of 2014.

The International Publishers Association (IPA) reported recently that UK publishers released 184,000 new and revised titles in 2013. Literary agent Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown said of the figure: “Of course, it is utter madness to publish so many books when the average person reads between one and five books a year.”

Around 235,000 titles were self-published in print and digital in the US in 2012. Amazon UK boasts having over 2.5 million e-books on sale.

That’s why I do it and will continue to do it. It has to be done to ensure my books don’t disappear into those millions of others but manage to scramble up to towards the ranking levels at which they will be noticed by potential readers.

I hope to become better at it as I learn from other writers who know more about it than I do: such as the wonderful bunch of writers on eNovelAuthorsatWork  who help each other on this perilous promotions pathway.

I know it works.  I do wonder, though, when I’ll ever have the time to focus on writing my next books? It seems to be easier the more books you have out there so I really must get down to it.

10 comments:

  1. Gosh, yes.....all this promo certainly takes up some time. I try to aim for half an hour in the morning, and then another half hour in the afternoon or early evening to catch the US market. So, that's my scheduled time for today....back to some actual writing now!

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    1. Goodness, Linda, you sound very disciplined. I should try to copy you and allow myself set times each day. I get side-tracked too easily.

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  2. More effective promotion is one of my challenges for 2014. I don't enjoy it (I suppose someone must) but you're right. If we don't our books become invisible and that's the end of us as writers.

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    1. Hello Jennifer, I think if someone truly enjoys promotions and marketing they would have chosen a different job! I don't believe writers' brains are geared that way. Good luck with your effective promotion challenge. I assume you mean for 2015 because it's a bit late to start in 2014!

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  3. Yes, you must get down to it Mary, because I want to read those next books! Useful post. Once January is here I'm going to re-read and take this promotion thing seriously. It'll be a challenge!

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    1. Thanks, Gill. 2015 is certainly going to be a different year and it would be good if it turned out to be a writing year! Good luck with your promotion challenge.

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  4. Promotion is a necessary evil in today's publishing world and I don't think any of us actually enjoy it. But I've found it's best to do what you find easiest, if anything!

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    1. Hello Rosemary. I think what bothers me the most is how much time it swallows and feeling like I'm a relentless treadmill. I might do a promotion such a discount deal and, while it's lovely to see sales figures climb, they quickly revert to normal afterwards - and it all has to be done again.

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  5. Your post certainly resonated with me, Mary! I think we all find the promo side mind-numbing. You're doing well, though, just keep at it, and keep writing! Good luck for 2015 - all of you!

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    1. Hello Jenny - I'm waving to you from my treadmill to you on your treadmill! That's what it feels like. At least readers have a choice of books from you. I need to take time out to actually write some more. All the best for this bright new year we are in.

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