Thursday, May 13, 2010

Promotion by Christine Duncan

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.
Christine Duncan


Robet W. Walker said...

This is a very difficult position authors are placed into and not something authora are always naturally cut out for; I do a lot of self promo and run into a lot of walls for doing so. People have a built in distrust of an author tauting his or her own book; it is as if they have been burned before by some other author who promised a wonderful read but did not deliever...but I suspect and have for a long time that there is this stigma placed on an author who is just trying to do his best as his publisher insists he get out and promote, promote, and then promote rather than pursue writing. Evey writer I know would much prefer wrting to promoting. Still, I hate the attitude that a writer who promotes his own work is somehow a deviant to be shunned, but I get that all the time. Have actually had others on facebook and chat groups attack me for promoting my books. In effect, I defend my right to be proud of my efforts. Doctors, lawyers, etc. put their diplomas on the wall; authors have a right to do the same figuratively in my humble opinion.

Rob Walker
Children of Salem

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Yep, love it or hate it, all of us need to be the promoter of our books. There are many fine books out there and if we don't let people know about our own, how will they find out about them?

A dilemma indeed.


Christine Duncan said...

Robert, Obviously we are talking different things. What I object to is going to a social situation (party, church group--whatever) and having every conversation be twisted to the writer's work.
I've also had folks object to my promo on Facebook, twitter and the like. Shrug. What can you do?

Helen Ginger said...

Sisters are like that. They trick you into doing something. I've got three. I know.

I rather expect authors to promote on FB, and Twitter and when guest posting on others' blogs. Social situations, not so much. But if someone asks, then the door has been opened.

Straight From Hel