I did a conference a while back where I was on a panel with a bunch of other authors to talk about promotion. Most of us were published by small press; a couple had made it to NY pubs, and one was self-pubbed but the theme we all hammered was the same. Promotion is the author's job.
An older lady in the back of the room caught my sympathy though. She wanted nothing to do with it. It made her blush, she said, to even ask us the question in front of an audience, but really, couldn't she hire someone to do the promo for her?
I can sooo relate. Before I was published I had a deal with one of my older sisters. I would write the book, and she would do the promo. She promised to do signings, any talks that would be necessary and all the interviews.
So now I'm published and where is my sister???? I'd seriously like to know.
Even though promo has changed in recent years in that much can be accomplished over the internet, it's still a hard game. Authors anxiously scan places like Novelrank and fixate on sales, trying to figure out how to affect them in a positive way.
The more promo I do, the more I know--I haven't got a clue.
A friend of mine saw an interview I did for the local paper and was upset with me. I should do more to promote my books, he said. And here I thought I was doing something by arranging for and doing the interview. To hear him tell it, I should drag the topic into every conversation I have with friends and co-workers.
The other thing I know about promo is that it gets old. Fast. I know at least two authors that I tend to avoid mainly because they can talk about nothing else but their books with the underlying theme being that we should all buy them. I will never ever buy either author's books. But that's me.
Besides, I don't want friends and relatives to buy my books out of curiosity or even because they want to help me out. I want real mystery readers to read my books--because they want saw it in the library or the bookstore and wanted to read the books.
I guess promotion, like so much else in this life, is a juggling act. Or maybe I mean a tightrope walk. You can definitely overbalance one way or the other.
Christine Duncan is the author of the Kaye Berreano mystery series. Book two, Safe House has been recently released.