Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Finding the limelight...

How do you get yourself and your books noticed by the public? We hear that many publishers aren’t doing much PR anymore. How do you stand out from the crowd?

A great question that I've actually been trying to avoid ... 

In the years before the story in my mind became an object on a bookshelf, there was nothing but the writing. The writing was all there was. Now that it has made it there, a hard copy in stores, in boxes, in the hands of readers, I have a new role I didn't see coming: that of salesperson, extrovert, bugle-blaster.

There's no question we need to market our work. The volume of new books sparkling up out of the great bonfire of time is staggering. Every online magazine I subscribe to flashes the covers of new bestsellers at me every day -- gorgeous covers -- and the blurbs all sound fantastic, exciting, fresh, daring. So better make some noise myself, right? 

But what if you're not a natural-born bugler?

I spent last year sitting on panels, (well, four) talking on the radio (well, twice) meeting people (lots). The launch of Cold Girl was a success, but for me, quite an ordeal. Now I am facing another year of all this, and don't know if I can do it. Each appearance drains me. Even that virtual appearance called Facebook takes something out of me -- a wonderful networking forum and venting ground, but along with the good conversation sometimes comes a caustic cloud. If you let it, the internet will suck you in, then sap you of energy and optimism, and leave you (at least me) with a sorry case of writer's block.

All this makes me wonder: If I do nothing, my books will surely spark off into the night and disappear. So I have to do something. How do I deal with it?

I've finally figured out in life that to do something successfully, I have to love doing it. So what do I love?

        I love photography. A friend suggested using my Instagram feed to post on Facebook. Good idea. I just need some technical help so those pix post where I want them to post, which is onto my badly neglected author page.

        In my own way I love Facebook and Twitter. I need to set aside an hour after I'm done writing to join in the conversation.

        I especially love meeting other writers/readers -- in person and in smaller groups. Not so easy in a pint-sized city, but doable. Maybe I'll start up a local crime writers group! 

        I quite love my website (recently given a smashing new look), but need to update. Also plan to post excerpts. People love excerpts. I love excerpts. My son, who put the site together for me, will help keep it current -- I just have to ask.

        Also I have come to love writing for this blog. I feel quite at home, thanks to my fellow Criminal Minds, who aren't criminal at all -- they're really quite nice! So how about expanding my horizons and getting involved further afield? Reading/writing blogs seems to be a great way to learn from others, as well as to project my own voice into the mix.

As for panels and crowds, I will keep working at it, and hopefully will come to love those too someday. 

Oh, and I will not steal Susan's trick of mentioning "nakedness" to get attention. I just won't.


catriona said...

Very wise words! Am just off to share with introvert author friends.

Susan C Shea said...

Oh, come on. Give it a try...! Good post, RM.

Unknown said...

Thanks! :)

Paul D. Marks said...

Good stuff, Rachel. Sometimes it's not so easy to be out in the world for writers, but it's something we have to do if we don't want to just be writing for ourselves. Though sometimes that's tempting too... ;)

Unknown said...

Yes indeed, Paul. Being published is not to be taken for granted, so I'll be working at getting over my fears. By next year at this time I'll be the one on the panel they can't shut up. :)

Art Taylor said...

Hang in there! Good post! And I liked how you snuck in nakedness while saying you wouldn't. Nice work! ;-)

Unknown said...

Thanks Art! :)