We all know about the late George Carlin’s famous list of seven dirty words that can’t be used in broadcasting. My mom would say they shouldn’t be used at all. I remember when she innocently asked me what MF meant.
A word I want added to the list is “promoting.” Not that it is a dirty word, but it’s a word that makes me cringe as much as the words on Carlin’s list.
Unfortunately, it’s a word writers hear a lot. Writing a book is a stroll up a gentle slope, with the scent of gardenias wafted on summery breezes and Disney-like rabbits and birds accompanying you. Promoting it is like climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard with no oxygen.
Some people love it and spend hours happily signing up for blog tours. I did that once and forgot the dates I was supposed to be blogging. Or they get their books on email lists or compose tweets or… Well, you get the picture. There are many ways to push your book, and to me, most of them are annoying. I’d just as soon stand on a street corner and wave one of my books in the air and yell “Buy my book!”
Which is essentially what we are doing, only online.
But promotion is one of those necessary evils in the publishing world and if we want to be noticed, we have to do it. My businessman son tells me I need to look at ROI (return on investment). Early this year I ran an ad in InD’tale magazine. It wasn’t all that expensive, but it didn’t generate any sales either. However — and this is a big however — I also submitted the book for a review (which is free unless you want a thumbnail of your cover to go along with it), and the subsequent 4.5 star listing made me a finalist for the RONE award. So spending money doesn’t necessarily mean your book will get noticed.
Like many other authors I am looking for that magic door that will lead to sales. I’m afraid there isn’t one, just hard work and patience.
All that said, I am willing to climb back on that horse and try again. All this week my first book, Angels Unaware, will be on sale at half price. It will also be the featured book on e-book Soda on Monday, August 15. It’s a site for free and bargain e-books, so it’s worth checking it out. I signed up for their newsletter because I love the words “free” and “bargain.” Those words are on my A-list.
Anyway, we will see what my ROI is on this promotion. Maybe this time I will break even.
If you are a writer, how do you promote your book? What was your best ROI, if you don’t mind sharing? I think a lot of us would like to know.
Outside of course, having a fairy godmother wave her wand.