Book Publicity and Root Canal

I was going to say book publicity is like root canal, but I’m not in a position to make the comparison, as I’ve never undergone that particular dental procedure.

In my mind, however, the procedure of marketing my writing is probably worse than root canal, because with dental work, it’s usually a one-shot deal. Maybe two or three shots. In any event, unlike promotional efforts, it’s not something you have to do on a regular basis.

I’m not sure why so many writers cringe at the very thought of self-promotion, but many of us do. Possibly it’s because writing is a rather solitary endeavor that appeals to introverts. I do know of some writers who love marketing, but they seem to be in the minority.

With two new releases coming up (the novella collection, and Stillwaters, Book 1 in the Four Lives of Jemma Freeman), I embarked on an online course  in book publicity through ACFW. I’m getting a lot of information, suggestions, and ideas. None of it excites me, and all of it makes me feel a little sick to the stomach. I don’t want to do that! Are you kidding? I’m supposed to do what?

This isn’t my first rodeo, but I’ve never won any prizes in the past. In fact, my efforts have made me feel more like a rodeo clown than a competitor. But it would be silly to keep writing and publishing books if I’m going to pretend I’m not.

So please bear with me as I get on this bronco and ride. And get thrown. And get on again. And get thrown again… And get on again…

If you want to laugh at me, I won’t be offended. That’s what clowns are for, right?

 

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Gratitude: It’s Worth More Than 13 Scrabble Points

thanks-1804597_1280This is the time of year when people talk about things they’re thankful for. Gratitude is a healthy thing, and it’s refreshing to hear people express it instead of whining.

Today, I’d like to comment on how thankful I am that I don’t have to earn my living by writing.

Yes, I enjoy writing, and I’m probably fairly competent at it. But earn a living at it? Ha! In order to make money, you have to actually market yourself. And your product. And I loathe, abhor, detest, despise, and abominate* marketing in any form. Besides that, I dislike it rather intensely.

Though I might phrase it a bit more passionately than most, the majority of my fellow-writers feel pretty much the same way. We’d rather write than do promotion. But if you want to sell books (or articles, or whatever you write), you have to let people know your work is available. And worth buying. And there’s no way to do that without putting a good bit of effort into it.

I sell a book now and then. I think since my first self-published book came out in 2014, there’s only been one month when I didn’t earn a few cents’ royalties. (And when I say “a few cents,” I mean that literally. There have been more months than I care to admit when my total month’s royalties for all four books have totaled under a dollar.) But I figure even if I sell only one ebook, that’s one new reader who might tell one or two others about the Gannah stories and/or buy another book in the series. In other words, though I can’t really call it progress, it’s better than paying people to take a book.
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So I’m thankful my husband has always been a good provider. His provision allows me the luxury of spending my time writing without having to stress over marketing.

Which is not to say I don’t do any marketing. Awhile back, I submitted The Story in the Stars to Rabid Reader Reviews, and they liked it. Though the review was published a few years ago, they recently tweeted about it, and I thought, “Hmmm, that was a good review, wasn’t it? Maybe I should remind people it’s out there.”

So, in case you care, hop on over to their site and check it out. And if you haven’t bought the book yet, treat yourself to a good read. If you have a Kindle, you can pick it up for a mere 99 cents, so you shouldn’t have to break into the kids’ piggy bank to afford it. And I’ll get a 34-cent royalty payment. We both win!

Thanks!

*apple-1603132_1280In case you’re curious, that heart-felt phrase is borrowed from a poem I loved as a kid. While you’re clicking on links, check it out too!

 

 

 

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Monday’s Musings: A Discouraging Word

I bought a book awhile back that I’d hoped would be helpful. Instead, it’s just depressing me.

Not depressed in a clinical sense, of course. But it’s proving to be more of a “downer” than a help. At least, that’s my initial response. It may prove useful once I digest it more.

So what is this terrible tome? And why would I read a story if it depresses me? Well, it’s not terrible; it’s good, in fact. And it’s nonfiction, not a story. It’s a wonderfully practical, informative book titled Sell Your Book Like Wildfire: The Writer’s Guide to Marketing & Publicity by Rob Eagar.

It’s obvious the author knows his stuff. He’s not only successfully put this knowledge to use for himself (he sold me a book, didn’t he?), but he’s helped hundreds of others increase their book sales. He doesn’t speak in generalities, leaving you to wonder, “Sounds like a good idea! How do I implement that?” Rather, he gives specific recommendations in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. He lets the reader know exactly what steps he or she needs to take.

And that’s what’s depressing.

I was dealing with everything pretty well until I got to Chapter 5, “Start a Wildfire With Your Author Website.” Specifically, the part about how it must be professionally designed so as to make the best possible impression, which will likely cost anywhere between three and six thousand dollars.

Okay, I can’t refute the guy’s logic or his experience. I understand what he’s saying, and the reasons he gives this advice. But I’m not paying thousands for a website. As a matter of fact, I’ve elected to ignore another of his dogmas: a free blog does not count as a professional author website.

Chapter 13, “Create Newsletters That Get Results,” was just as depressing. I have a strong aversion to newsletters. I don’t want to receive them. I don’t sign up for them, and I don’t feel comfortable asking other people to do something I won’t do myself. Not to mention the fact that I cringe at the thought of taking the time to create the blessed things, especially on the monthly basis he recommends.

Yeah, yeah, yeah — his methods are proven. Books don’t sell themselves; it requires effort. And the money spent is an investment, which (theoretically) will pay for itself in book sales. But first, you have to have the money to invest. And moreover, the whole promotion thing goes against my grain.

One thing he says that I DO like: be yourself. Don’t try to make yourself or your marketing efforts look like someone else. Implement the tools you’re most comfortable with and that you’re capable of handling. (Which, by the way, is why he suggests employing a web designer; most writers aren’t capable of pulling off a professional-looking website and will come off looking like amateurs.)

My musings on this subject range far and wide, but I’ll spare you. Let’s just say that, although I’ll continue reviewing his suggestions, I only plan to implement those that seem practical, reasonable, and fit the “be yourself” criteria. Which means that, apart from the supernatural intervention of God, my books will never sell like wildfire.

So be it.

 

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