The Promotion Quagmire
by Randy Rawls
As I begin my promotion drive for BEST DEFENSE, the second in my Beth Bowman, South Florida PI series, which is due out in November, my publicist, PJ Nunn, has scheduled me for a couple of radio interviews and several appearances. I did the first radio gig this morning with Frank Truatt of WTBQ-AM in Warwick, NY on his The Frank Truatt Morning Show. I've interviewed with Frank before. He is smooth at bringing out the best in his interviewee. Our ten minute or so discussion of BEST DEFENSE was fun, and, I hope, entertained his fans.
My next one is October 14th with Tron Simpson on KCMN in Colorado Springs. Tron's show is Tron in the Morning. He, too, is one I've worked with before. Another professional who does his best to make the guest look good.
Those are the only two radio interviews scheduled to date, however, I'm sure PJ has others up her sleeve—she usually does. Beyond those, I have several appearances before reader groups. I enjoy those face-to-face opportunities best. Readers are fun to be around.
As with all my promotion, I wonder how effective these efforts are. Hopefully, a few people listen and remember the book when they next go online or visit their bookstore. But, how can I know? How can I compute whether one form of promotion is better than another? Once, the word was "get on lists and contribute." Then, it was "get a web site." Then, specialized sites such as Goodreads, LinkedIn, etc. Now, it's get involved with social media—Facebook, Twitter, and about 50 others, or so it seems. Tomorrow it will be . . .
But what works, what really works? If I talk to twelve different authors, I get at least 6 different opinions. And the ones who agree—usually it's social media—don't agree on how best to use it.
It's like the self-publishing of ebooks. Some talk incessantly about how many books they are selling, while others say sales are not huge. I know people, good authors, who are passing on traditional publishing in order to push out ebooks. They are convinced the short cut is the best route for them. Will they strike it rich?
Ten years ago, I was being published by a small press and working my butt off to promote, promote, promote. Today, I am (PROUDLY) being published by Midnight Ink and working my butt off to promote, promote, promote. In months to come, I will be pushing my backlist out in ebooks and audio books and will promote, promote, promote.
Will I ever show a profit in this business? I doubt it.