Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Getting the Word Out

At the beginning of the year, I tend to go heavy into planning mode. I make lists of projects, come up with new time management schemes, and do hypothetical business plans. I'm trying to work on some new publicity plans, since I really need to boost my visibility and have learned that even when I'm working with a major publisher, most of it's going to come down to me. But even though this was my "real job" career for twenty years, this is something I struggle with. There's a reason I don't have that career anymore. I went through several years of almost no income (though fortunately with a savings cushion) to try to get the writing career going rather than try to find another PR job. So a lot of my publicity efforts amount to me huddling in a corner and whimpering "don't make me do that." On the other hand, it's kind of essential if I don't want to have to get another real job.

Yeah, I have crazy dreams about having a book that publishers fight over so that I get a big advance and then they actually do publicity for it and push the book, and that book then raises the profile of all my other books, so I'm making more from my backlist, and the push on the new book means that book sells well enough that they're eager for my next book. The reality has been more that only one publisher is grudgingly interested in my book and it's low on the priority list for promotion, and then in spite of good reviews and strong fan support (it seems that while not that many people have heard of my books, the people who have read them love them) the books aren't selling quite as well as they'd like, so I don't get another contract and have to start all over again.

So, I need to take a stronger role in promotion, but that world has changed since I last had that job, and most of what I know how to do is only repeatedly getting the word out to my existing fans, which helps (if everyone who'd bought Enchanted, Inc. had bought Rebel Mechanics, things would be very different right now), but there does seem to be a barrier I haven't managed to break through into some of the book venues in my genre. A lot of the things I've tried have hit with a dull thud.

Out of curiosity, what works to get your attention about books? Do you subscribe to author newsletters? Do you ever learn about books via Facebook ads or other online advertising? Do you read book blogs? Do you look at and share book videos? Are blogs still viable? Does social media really matter?

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