Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On Promotion - From a question here on the blog

I ran a quick internet search of some definitions and came up with this on in terms of the idea of promotion:

One Definition of Promotion

Promotion keeps the product in the minds of the customer and helps stimulate demand for the product. Promotion involves ongoing advertising and publicity (mention in the press). The ongoing activities of advertising, sales and public relations are often considered aspects of promotions. (Source of Information)
I wasn't going to go for a clinical definition of the concept, but simply something basic. I do think there is a lot to be said with this defintion.

As it points out, the central idea is to keep the product in the minds of the customer. I think the biggest issue many new writers face is that readers will simply stumble across their writing. They slap a website up there, the information shows up on those online bookstores such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon and the readers will just find them. Sure, that does happen every now and then, but with the huge influx of the self-publishing opportunities out there, this becomes an even bigger challenge.

I think Leah Hultenshmidt of Source Books said it well at a conference I attended with her. She noted that marketing was really trying to bring your book through all of the muck out there. You have to claw your way to the top.

Now, when it comes to ways to promote, there really is not one single way to do so. I should also note that promotion of your book also depends on the genre. In other words, if you are pitching a non-fiction book, you will take the story one place, and if it is a historical story, it will go somewhere else.

With that said, there are a lot of small things you as an author can do.
  • guest blogging
  • personal blogging
  • speaking at conferences
  • teaching workshops
  • give-a-ways
  • personal websites with give-a-ways
  • talking and chatting to EVERYONE
  • book signings
What you should note is that you have to be the person who is proactive. When you go to a conference, you talk your book up. No one walks away from a conversation with you without hearing about your latest book. Everytime you have a book come out, you get out there and volunteer to guest blog on any place that will take you.

Give-a-ways are fantastic but the prizes have to be worth it. A signed copy of an unknown author will simply not cut it. People WANT prizes.

When it comes time for contests, you make sure to volunteer to help out and provide feedback. Do not remain anonymous and make sure you let people know who you are.

What you will often find (and any of you published authors can chime in here) is that you will devote a great deal of your "once private" writing time to promotion.

It should be important top note, however, that promotion is not an over-night activity. It takes a long time to build a following and yes, you have to have something worthwhile to share. If your writing isn't good, then all the promotion in the world will not save you.

I would love some additional ideas here. Tell us some of your secrets when it comes to promotion.



  1. Do you encourage writers at the conception stage to weave the story around a hook that will help make the book more promotable?

  2. No, I wouldn't do this. I think the concept of finding that hook within the story is a bit organic. The authors who have woven (no pun intended) around knitting did so because it was a great setting AND THEN worked the promotion around it. The story comes first and then the promotion.

  3. I teach writing, and so do a number of writing friends. None of us have ever seen anything remotely resembling an increase in sales from our articles and workshops. I get thousands of hits on my writing blog and website writing articles a week but only a few a year even check out my books.

    Writing students are the cheapest humans on the planet. Few will even buy your writing book, let alone one of your novels.

    If you are by nature a teacher, then by all means teach workshops, but don't waste your time if you're not.

  4. Marilynn,

    You are correct in terms of sales. I think the biggest thing we are focusing on here is simply the promotion of the book and getting your name out there.

    I would also agree in terms of the workshops. I have said numerous times here on the blog that there are far too many people "teaching" workshops that probably shouldn't be doing so.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Thank-you for replying to my question! I really appreciate your info and the thoughts from the other replies.

    So, if I can ask one last question on this topic. The list of promotional suggestions seem most appropriate for when one actually has a book to sell. Getting your name out there as soon as you have something to talk about makes perfect sense.

    But you listed on blogging, which got me to thinking. I've been following the debate on several forums about when it's the right time for a writer to put up a website and introduce themselves: before or after they have the first contract and/or published book. (Still waiting for a consensus --or at least a sensible answer.)

    But what about blogging? Is it of any value to start blogging early, when you're still writing that first manuscript, and learning, and haven't a lot to offer except maybe some personal life insights? Does early blogging generally enhance or detract from one's future career goals? Is early promotion even necessary?

    (Sort of like the kid who plans at 12 to run for political office at thirty. If he can keep from committing the wrong public sins until then, maybe nothing will come back to haunt him and cause him to lose his first election.)

    Again, thank-you.

  6. I look on my blog more as a writing to a prompt exercise rather than trying to sell copies of my books. (But that's okay, too) I get a chance to try to write succinctly on different topics. My daughter would say that since I am opinionated I get to pontificate twice a week.