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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The Last Monday’s Musings: Writer’s Blogs

Max_Elskamp_during_workI could call this Part II, I suppose, since my last Thursday’s Thoughts were about blogging. Or maybe Part III, since on Saturday I announced my decision to no longer provide weekly situation reports. But I won’t assign numbers to these things. I’ll just muse.

Coinciding with my recent thoughts, musings, and cogitations, I ran across a post this morning on the subject of writers and blogging. It’s so appropriate, in fact, that I’ve changed my mind about what to muse on today.

What the writer says about blogging makes as much or more sense than anything else I’ve seen lately. Why? Because it parallels my own opinions on the subject (we always like people who agree with us!) as well as my experience.

Her suggestion that we make our post titles SEO-friendly is one I’d be well advised to follow. Hence the title of this one, “The Last Monday’s Musings.” It’s not that I won’t be sharing my thoughts on Mondays any longer, but that I won’t use that title anymore. No one’s likely to google “Monday’s Musings” (and truly, I think my spell checker should quit underlining¬†google; it’s a well established verb by now), so I’ll try to use titles that are more likely to get picked up by the Web’s spiders. Like for instance, “Writer’s Blogs.”

That reminds me: I should be more thoughtful about tags. When I see how someone else tags things (for instance, my posts on the Speculative Faith blog), my usual reaction is, “Oh, yeah, why didn’t I think of that?” So I hope to put some of my creative energies into effective labeling.

For now, I plan to continue posting twice a week. I’ll probably follow the same Monday and Thursday schedule, eliminating only Saturday. Don’t look for substantial changes in content, though. I’ll still scatter random thoughts across the pages, which thoughts may or may not concern writing.

I don’t expect the blog to sell books or substantially increase my “tribe.” My purpose is to be accessible to my readers (all two dozen of them) online. And for those purposes, I think Y’s Words is on the right track.



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Thursday’s Thoughts: Blogging

thinkerYeah. Blogging. That’s what I’m thinking about today.

I’ve been blogging consistently for several months now (as opposed to posting whenever I felt like it), and the results have voided the saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Because despite Tweeting about old posts and new, and many of my Twitter friends Retweeting very helpfully, not many readers are coming.

Not many are buying books, either.

I’ve been following a discussion in a writer’s group about the benefits of blogging for promotional/book sales purposes, and the others have come to the same conclusion I have. Blogging doesn’t sell books.

There are less tangible benefits to the activity, though. If nothing else, it encourages the habit of consistency and provides practice working under a deadline, even if that deadline is self-imposed. For a writer who struggles to find time to write regularly, it’s good practice–even if you’re not working on your WIP, you’re at least writing blog posts. And the more you write, no matter what it is you’re writing, the better you’ll get. Think of it as homework.

I’ve had people tell me they enjoy the posts. Bringing pleasure to others, and perhaps the occasional inspiration, is a worthy purpose. Sure, my ramblings aren’t for everyone, but those who don’t like them don’t have to read them. (Since I have so few subscribers, there must be a lot of those “don’t like thems” out there!)

But in a world that presents so many demands on our time and offers so many activities to distract us from our purpose, we should frequently evaluate what we squeeze into the inflexible hours allotted to us. Is the time I spend blogging worth it? Should I continue to posting three times a week, or should I cut back to one or two? Or less?

It’s not so much a matter of not having anything to say. I have a running list, in fact, of potential topics. But they aren’t all things I can whip up in a few minutes, and sometimes I don’t want to take the time, so I post meandering stream-of-consciousness that nobody cares to read. (Today’s offering, for example.)

To blog or not to blog, and to what degree? Those are the questions. I won’t be making any decisions today, but the stew is simmering on the back burner of my brain. Here’s hoping it doesn’t scorch. Wait a sec – okay, I just turned the heat way down. It should be okay now.

When it’s done, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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