Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I've Got the Promo Blues

by Holly West

(sung to the tune of Honky Tonk Blues)

You can hum that while I take care of a little housekeeping:

I released the official cover of my second book, Mistress of Lies, on Monday:

Isn't she pretty?
It's now available for pre-order on Kobo, Kindle, and Nook readers, so do what you do best and go order it.

Pretty please?

Now that's taken care of, we can get on with today's post.

If you've ever thought to yourself, holy bananas, Holly West sure does complain a lot, consider this: I make an effort not to whine too much. So you're getting maybe 50% of the overall gripes that cross my mind. But today, not for the first time, I lamented all the marketing and promotion I have to do as an author, and darn it, I'm gonna do a little kvetching. 

Let me explain: I spent the last couple of days re-designing my website for the billionth time (which is a whole other problem I have, this chronic dissatisfaction with my website and the compulsion to re-do it every two weeks). As part of this process, I visit other author websites and figure out what I like or don't like about them to figure out what features I want to incorporate in my own. This time around, I was hit with the realization that other authors seem to do a much better job with promotion than I do.

In short, I have promo envy.

Actually, it's not so much envy as confusion. I see authors doing loads of different events, getting blurbs, receiving all sorts of reviews, getting lots of ads placed, etc, and I think: Things? Why am I not getting any of these things?

(said like Withnail when he questions why he doesn't have any soup):

Side note: If you've not seen Withnail and I, you must remedy that situation immediately. Don't even finish reading this post, just go watch it now.

In fairness, the fault lies with me when it comes to dropping the promo and marketing ball. I've nothing against it in theory, but when it comes down to actually doing it, I get overwhelmed. If only there was a comprehensive list of things I should be doing and when I should do them. Does a guide like this exist somewhere?

I asked several authors to give me blurbs for Mistress of Fortune. I followed through on only one of them (shout out to Susanna Calkins) because I was too shy to actually send the others the book.

Shyness doesn't sell books, people! Cajones do!

I know that publishers often set these things up for authors. Carina Press did a few things for me, but I should've done a whole lot more myself. With the release of book two, I'm really trying to be proactive about getting the word out to more than just my friends on Facebook.

I also know that a lot of authors work their butts off doing everything themselves. They do anything they can to get the word out. Here's where I fall flat on my face. I do have a "say yes to everything" policy, but I should be going out there and rustling up business instead of letting it all come to me.

Sigh. This is a depressing post. Sorry. Let's leave it at this: What's the most effective marking thing you've done to promote your book? It's hard to know what directly contributes to sales, but the day I did a guest blog post on Chuck Wendig's blog, I saw a big rise in my Amazon ranking. Of course, many authors say Amazon rankings are essentially meaningless, so take that for whatever it's worth.

Now it's your turn. Tell me the secret to selling lots of books. KTHX.


Unknown said...

I had heard that the press release was dead, but I kinda sorta didn't believe it. So I made a list of every hook I had in my book and wrote targeted PRs for the midcentury market, dog magazines, libraries in my old hometown, etc, and emailed them out. There was a definite benefit, between website reviews and library acquisitions, and the biggest thing: I felt like I had done something to impact my sales.

Holly West said...

Diane, this is a good one! Thanks! See, I just don't think of these things.