I love to write. A lot. In fact, I can lose myself for hours writing. Time ceases and I enter the world of my characters. It’s just the best feeling.
I hate to promote. I’m new to promoting. In late October, my first book was published in electronic format – “Your Eight O’Clock Is Dead” – it’s the first in a humorous mystery series set in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I realized that to reach potential readers I’d have to promote not only the book but myself. And I’m just such a neophyte where this is concerned.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done bookstore signings with a non-fiction anthology I had published in 2008, and I absolutely loved that part of promotion. I’m good with people in person. To chat with someone about books or writing is a treat for me. I’m interested in people and what they think. So that was all very comfortable to me.
But enter the e-book market. And I realized that I was totally unprepared for the promotional end of it. Sure, I’d watched my writer friends go down that road, and I’d kind of paid attention to what they were doing it while I continued to write. Often, I’d hear complaints about how difficult it was to connect with readers in this new virtual world we live in. But the full magnitude of the situation didn’t sink in until I had to do it myself.
After the book came out, I realized no one knew who I was. I had zero name recognition. What could I do to get my name and my book to readers?
I belong to a wonderful online community of knitters on Ravelry.com. They are the best people and have seen me through a lot over the past several years. They’re my friends. In fact, I spend so much time on the computer either writing or connecting with my peeps in the knitting world, one of my friends gave me a magnet that proclaimed that all of my friends live in the computer. And it’s true. I have good friends all over the world thanks to Ravelry.
So it seemed logical to start with announcing to my online friends that my mystery was published. Before I could do it myself, my dear friend Kim Tyler shared the information for me. I was simply overwhelmed with the love my knitting friends poured out to me. They have been staunch supporters of me and my writing, and I’ve received so much positive feedback from them.
Then another dear friend, Anne Hanson, a designer extraordinaire, used her Knitspot blog to alert her fans about my new book. I was totally blown away by her generosity in doing this for me.
I contacted family and all of my non-knitting friends, and they’ve also helped me get the word out.
Sales have been steady, and I’ve been very pleased that 8 O’Clock has been so well-received. But I want to reach more people.
So I’m trying a couple of things. Yes, I’ve alerted my Facebook and Twitter peeps about my book. But I went beyond that and signed up for some guest blog spots. This is kind of scary to me. I’ll let you know how it goes.
My first guest blog was for a sweet lady who used to own an independent bookstore in Richmond, Lelia Taylor. I blogged with her after Christmas. It’s nice to start off with people you know.
For the other blogs, I hired a company to help pull this together for me. I’d heard that doing it yourself was very time-consuming. The price for the service was very reasonable. I think you have to make a judgment call on what you need to do vs. what you can effectively delegate both in monetary and time savings.
I’ve also tried to make myself and the book more visible on Kindle-friendly sites, since that is where I sell most of my books. Kindle Mojo and the Frugal Ereader are two that come to mind. I think the added exposure has definitely helped.
It’s been quite the learning curve, and I know that there’s still so much more to figure out. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing with promo. And maybe I’ll learn to like it and feel comfortable with it. We’ll see.
What’s that old saying – nothing ventured, nothing gained?