In the last two posts you’ve read how I ended up on the carnival ride to authorship, and you learned what I did to prepare myself for the ride. In this final post, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about promoting a self-published novel.
Here again I knew nothing about what I was doing until I applied my awesomely, nerdy researching skills to reading blog posts and books about the subject. First lesson: There is no shortcut. (A girl can hope though, can’t she?) Second lesson: The process is MUCH harder than I first thought.
Don’t misunderstand: I didn’t choose to publish as an independent author because I thought it would be easier somehow, because I didn’t. I did it because I’m a control freak, and being my own publisher means if I fail, there’s no one to blame but myself.
Acting as my own publisher and promoter makes me I’m responsible for everything a publishing house would do if I went the traditional route, including shelling out the Pesos. Not only am I responsible for writing the book, I’m responsible for editing, formatting for both eBook and paper copies, cover design, copyrighting, and the list goes on. And at the end of this list, stands the mountain most authors are happy not to climb – putting together a promotion plan.
This is where things became frustrating. The information I dug up offered no hope of a middle ground between an all-out, daily social media blitz and doing nothing. If I followed half of the advice I’ve read on the blogs claiming they know all there is to know about successful self-promotion, I would never sleep or eat or see friends and family or WRITE ever again. This seemed to me to defeat the reason for self-publishing in the first place, and the reason for living, in the second.
The social media blitz they advocate begins with writing a blog (personal websites where people leave their opinion or other information daily or weekly) on a regular basis, reading blogs, commenting on blogs, posting to Facebook, re-posting other people’s links on Facebook, tweeting and retweeting to your peeps on Twitter (a website where people write short blubs about what they’re doing at the moment and share pics and links), and engaging in info exchanges on Reddit, Digg, Stumble Upon and Tumblr. These last are blogging platforms where members share videos, pics and links. Oh, I nearly forgot Pinterest, a website where people share their interests and hobbies with other members. According to those in the know, Pinterest is the new promotion Mecca for authors. In short, I’m supposed to develop interest boards for the characters in my novel as well as for me, the author. Frankly, I can’t see any of my characters or myself taking an interest in anything Pinteresty, though more power to those self-promoters who do it and do it well. I simply draw the line at cupcake recipes and wish lists. Somehow pinning just doesn’t seem crime novely or crime authory to me.
Then there is the traditional way of promoting that requires less technical savvy from the promoter. Soliciting reviews, shopping your novel around to bookstores, arranging book signings and convincing book groups to choose your novel as their next read, all still require hours of time and research to do properly.
Again, if I did all these things, when would I have time to write? Yes, I understand the importance of reaching other people in the scheme of self-promoting, but I also understand the importance of adding more works to the marketplace.
Now for the good news! After more research and reading the wonderful article my husband sent me from Forbes Magazine, I’ve found my middle ground, and I believe I’ve developed a plan I can implement and live with, but of course, only time will tell.
Do you have questions about self-promotion? Do you have a self-promotion horror story you would like to share? Please leave a comment below.