Friday, December 5, 2014

Blog, Tweet, Meet and Greet

There are many different ways for promoting a new book. Which do you feel is the most effective?

by Paul D. Marks

It’s always hard coming at the end of the week.  Other people might have hit points that I hit, though I generally write my articles before our week even begins.  But great minds think alike and all of that ;)

I was going to start off by saying it’s a new world we’re living in with the internet and all.  But it’s not so new anymore, especially as things move more and more quickly all the time.  That said, the internet has opened up a whole new wealth of ways to promote your book. And whether you’re with a major publisher, mid-size or indie publisher you will most likely be the one promoting your book or at least doing 93% of it.

The major publishers push the big authors—you know, the ones who don’t really need it, like Stephen King, Anne Rice, Sue Grafton and John Grisham.  But you and your little book, whether you’re pubb’d by a major, a small publisher or an indie, and who could really use a push, well you’re on your own for the most part. But you can do it. It just takes time, effort and a little money. But not nearly as much money as ad campaigns used to take when your only outlets were print, radio and TV.

The internet gives us: Twitter. Facebook. Goodreads and other similar sites.

There’s also a ton of bloggers who review books or interview authors. Ads in things like E Reader News or Kindle Nation Daily or Kindle Review or the very expensive and choosy Book Bub. Even Facebook ads.

And, of course, there’s the old standbys: word of mouth and personal appearances at bookstores, libraries, reader groups, conventions (like Bouchercon, Malice, Left Coast), etc.

If you’ve got money you can hire a publicist. But, just like with anything or anyone else, some might be good, others not so good. And just because they work for a big company or have a fancy office doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better. When I was working in Hollywood my then-writing partner and I got William Morris as agents (have I told this one before?). We thought it was the best day of our lives.  Celebrated. Flying high. But it turned out to be the worst experience as we were the little fish in the big pond. (But I’ll leave the details for another time.) But the best agent I had was working out of his converted garage when I met him. And he hustled for me. And got me work.  And he was eventually picked up as a VP by another large agency and took me with him. The point I’m making here is don’t let the trappings of a big publicist (or publisher for that matter) fool you into thinking you can sit back and do nothing or let things slide

And today there’s a lot you can do yourself.  So even if you can’t afford a publicist it’s not the end of the world. The advantage of a publicist is that they might have lists or contacts of people who might be interested in your book.  They might be able to talk someone into running a piece on you and your book.  But lists can be bought and with persistence you can get the word out.

The bottom line is write a good book, get the word out any way you can. And hope for good word of mouth because that’s still the gold standard of promotion.  And not necessarily easy to obtain.  But if you have a good book and you’re persistent that just might happen for you.

As to which is the most effective, as the expression goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.*
There’s not one way that’s best or most effective. The most effective thing is a combination of various methods working symbiotically with each other. Each thing mentioned above works with and pays off each other, but you have to find what works for you. (And any old excuse to put in a cute cat pic.)

*No cats were skinned in the making of this blog post.


Art Taylor said...

So glad for the disclaimer at the bottom there. Cute cats! :-)

And a good post overall.... Look forward to hearing more about that agent fiasco someday.


Catriona McPherson said...

93% is up to us. Wise if depressing words!

Meredith Cole said...

You're so right, Paul!

And thanks for sharing adorable cat pictures. I definitely needed to see some today!

Robin Spano said...

I love it. You should go at the end of the week because you sum it up and cap it off with a twist.

Delighted you didn't harm any cats for this one.

And, uh, yeah. What Catriona said about the 93%.

RJ Harlick said...

Great post, Paul. Sadly I also agree with Catriona's 93%. It's likely even higher. But, hey, I don't mind getting out there mingling with readers and getting to know them. And when an email arrives out of the blue from one of these readers saying how much they enjoyed the book, it makes all the schmoozing very worthwhile.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Art. Definitely needed the disclaimer on the cats! Ah, the agent story. I’m sure it’ll come out in a future post.

And Catriona, it is depressing but if we go into it knowing what we have to do ahead of time I think it helps – instead of having a starry-eyed vision of the Big Publisher doing it all. And I sort of plucked 93% out of the air. It might only be 92.999% ;)

Thanks, Meredith. And even as I write this one of them is walking across the keyboard so I’ll probably have to fix it before I post.

Thanks, Robin. I don’t really mind coming at the end of the week. It just does sometimes people have hit my points already. But it doesn’t hurt to hit ‘em again.

Thanks Robin. I agree with you about getting an e-mail from someone about how much they enjoy your work. Nothing can give you a high like that. Except...a few weeks ago I got my first gift from a fan. That was very special.