Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Promotion: What Works & What Doesn't

When I first started writing, I NEVER thought about promoting or the value of having a web presence. Getting the words on paper and finding a publisher was all that mattered. I just assumed that once I crossed those hurdles people would magically find me and buy my books if they liked what they saw. *Ahem* You can stop laughing now. Seriously.


Despite receiving conflicting results from various promotional efforts, I see the obvious value in promoting yourself and IMO, a website is crucial. Unless you’re Linda Howard (who I really wished had a website), then chances are, if you're a writer, that will be one of the first ways to establish yourself. There are so many other options out there that it’s sometimes overwhelming deciding how you want to brand yourself. And what about all those other social networking sites? There’s myspace, facebook, various yahoo loops, romance forums, and now there’s twitter.


Since I already had a myspace page, I resisted facebook for a while, but eventually caved on that too. Technically I use it a lot more to stay in touch with friends than promote, but I’ve discovered some amazing authors that I probably wouldn’t have known about if it hadn’t been for either of these social networks.


Blogging is probably my favorite ‘promotional’ tool because it’s not really about promotion. A year or two ago I ‘met’ Sarai through a random comment she posted on Romancing the Blog. I followed her link and now I don’t even remember how we started chatting, but we did, and she eventually invited me to join DIK. Through that site, I've met and discovered so many wonderful authors, some I now consider friends. And just recently I met Liane at a local chapter group and that’s how I joined Writers Gone Wild. :)


After my first book came out, I spent all this time promoting but less time writing. I quickly realized something was wrong with that equation. I’ve learned to say no to things that I’m not comfortable with and just do things that I actually have fun with. Finding that balance was difficult and I'm not sure that I have yet, but I'm getting there.


If you’re a reader, what do you like to see your favorite authors doing? If you’re reading this, I assume you like blogging, but what else? If you’re a writer, what have you found most helpful as far as meeting readers?


And now, for some blatant self promotion…Dangerous Deception releases from Ellora’s Cave this Friday. One lucky commenter will receive a free download! I’ll announce the winner Saturday here and on my blog.


Finally, next Wednesday I'll be hosting romantic suspense author Jill Sorenson. Her newest book Crash Into Me was recently featured in Cosmo so don't forget to come back for a fun giveaway!!

23 comments:

Maree Anderson said...

You make a very good point about promotion vs writing, Katie. Since I've joined Facebook and Twitter, I swear I spend an extra hour a day reading "stuff" rather than reading books or actually writing.

And then there's following my favorite blogs and trying to find time to update my own!

Hmmm. Gonna have to do some serious thinking about time allocations as I'm sure it's only going to get worse if I let it.

How do you handle it? Do you limit the time and be really good about sticking to it?

Katie Reus said...

Maree, finding that balance is still a work in progress. I have a daily word goal. If I find that I haven't met it a couple days in a row, I limit my online time. For the most part I'm pretty good at sticking to it. I like to see that word count number go up :)

Kristen Painter said...

Promotion is the one thing I'm not looking forward to. Yes, I'm glad I have some opportunities available, but it's such a timesuck!

Sarai said...

Yeah so getting sucked into blogging has been bad for me just with typical daily work stuff. So now at night I tend to avoid the internet unless something is going on that I have to help/participate in (DIK Hero draft anyone?)

Good luck with the new release I know it will rock, per usual!!!

Skhye said...

As an author, Katie, I've tried just about everything. I'm exhausted. LOL My favorite promos offered by authors are where I can win something. It's even better when I win. ;) Best of luck with that new release!

Cate Masters said...

Congrats on your release, Katie! Marketing's a necessary evil, but hopefully one that will pay off for you. The trick is learning to balance it with writing time!
Best,
Cate

Emma Lai said...

Congrats on your upcoming release, Katie! I try to limit my blog time to an hour a day so that it doesn't interfere with my writing. It is a balancing act!

Marianne Evans said...

Great job with the blog! I'm new to the whole e-marketing/blogging world and, like you, experienced the sensation of being more than a little overwhelmed by both the technical aspects of 'webbing' and the time it takes away from writing. It's something I'm still working to balance - but you nailed it: Do what you enjoy and have fun with. Great advice.

Kaylea Cross said...

Hey, Katie. Can't wait to read DD! I'll try to squeeze it in between runs down Splash Mtn.
Hope you sell thousands.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I think having a blog and nurturing it for awhile helps us sort out all the waste-of-time things. Like being interviewed for a site that only gets minimal traffic...grandmas and cousins. It takes time to build a network and you do a great job of putting yourself out there :)

Katie Reus said...

Sarai - I'm beginning to understand the craziness of the hero draft pick. I've got my eye on two of Katiebabs's heroes.

Thanks Skhye! :)

Katie Reus said...

Cate, Emma & Marriane - it's so true! It's all a balancing act. We're women though. We balance everything else in life, I suppose we can do this too, lol

Katie Reus said...

Thanks Kaylea! Hope you have fun at Disney :)

Katie Reus said...

Kristen - at least you've got a pretty good following already :) Can't wait til your release this year!

Katie Reus said...

Good point L.A. It's all about time and nurturing :)

Kathleen said...

I've found the best promotional tool is to speak about writing at a library or service group. Much as do internet promotions I've found there is no substitute for giving of your time in the local community.

Kathleen O'Connor

Kathye Quick said...

It can get really time consuming on all the blogs, but I try to help promote my fellow WRP authors. I get on during my lunch hour and after I write at night.

Promo and marketing are, unfortunately, part of our lives. I'm sure all your hard work is going to pay off in books sales.

Jax Cassidy said...

I spend a lot of time on promotions and I can't tell if it's brought me any readers. Truthfully, the reviews are the most successful. Even book signings and such doesn't work for you if no one knows your name. I've noticed that the big name authors don't do much in the way of promotions but they still hit the list. I think they're smart to have a publicist do the dirty work while they keep writing...

I'm following their lead and will just write and let the rest fall into place.

Liane Gentry Skye said...

I have to admit that I've got facebook promotions on auto-ignore. Too many authors abuse the bejesus out of them, and I get why....but I just don't look at them anymore. Twitter is good IF used sparingly. We certainly get a log of blog hits off twitter through the writersgonewild.org link.

My most effective promo so far was my Christmas Kindle give away. SO successful that I'm' going to repeat it for my author newsletter yahoo group in Sept. :)

I do frequent a few blogs, but not as many as I used to. And forums are a no go for me. I get addicted, then I can't stop, then I don't write....LOL, you know the deal, I'm sure.

Great post, Katie!

Susan Macatee said...

With my first romance coming out in a couple of months, with 4 other releases to follow, I'm just delving into the intricacies of promo, although I've been doing a lot of it for awhile--mainly promoting me--because I really didn't have anything other than a short story and a now out-of-print book published years ago, out there. I started with a website, then moved on to blogging. I have my own blog, belong to several group blogs and comment on a lot of other blogs. I also belong to a lot of Yahoo loops, plus a couple of ning groups and recently joined a forum. I have to admit, it's a bit overwhelming, but I plan to join a historical romance club next month, and who knows what else will fall into the promo pool.

My worst fear is I'll get so absorbed in promo, I won't have time to work on my new projects.

Amy S. said...

Congrats on the upcoming release! Thanks for the chance to win!

Caffey said...

Hi Katie!
I know as a reader, I find out alot now on releases from authors promoting other authors books like on their sites. And too when other readers tell about them. So I really thing the word of mouth does so much. But I have a horrible time keeping up with yahoo groups, so that don't work for me as a reader.

This book is going to be great! I'd love to be in for it! Thanks!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Katie,
Yes I agree with your promotion versus writing. It is very hard to obtain the happy medium.
Cheers
Margaret

 

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