April 18, 2011

Brush Up Them Tuba Skills, It's Time To Promote!

We know that an aspiring author needs to possess mass quantities of persistence. But honey, the persistence you tapped then is the equivalent of dipping your toes into the deep, cold waters of Lake Try Again. Promotion requires a scuba diving license and the lung capacity of a tuba player.

It isn’t that you or your book isn’t valued or appreciated. It isn’t even that you and your book aren’t important. It is just that you aren’t a priority. Unless, of course, you and your book are surrounded by buzz. But for the sake of this post, you are one of the gazillions of books each year released into the world without buzz.

You will spend hours researching promotional opportunities. You will make many, many contacts asking for blog time, book reviews, classroom visits or store signings. You will even be greeted with some enthusiasm. But to actually make those things happen can sometimes take more persistence than most people are comfortable with.

It’s awkward to call, email and stop into a bookstore multiple times simple to confirm the date of a signing. Then once you do, promoting the event is often squarely on your shoulders.  But to have a successful event, you have to give it your all. Even then you aren’t guaranteed anyone will show up, but you are guaranteed no shows if you don’t promote the heck out of it. Remember it’s in the best interest of the store as well for you to have a good event, so when you feel obnoxious – when you feel like you might be the only one who cares – just keep promoting, chances are no one else will.

There is a line of “obnoxious-ism” that you should not cross.  Listen very carefully for the warning signals that you are approaching this line. Especially if you are only at the stage of trying to secure a date for your event.  When it begins to feel like you are moving mountains to get a commitment, back off or suggest the event happen at a later date instead.  The worse thing you can do is irritate someone to the point that they won’t let you return. After all, you hope to have another book to promote in the future, so you are building relationships and making promotion for your next project easier.

Of course our focus is on our book. But our book is a small piece of a teacher’s world or a bookstore’s world or a blogger’s world.  More times than not, they will be happy to help you, but it will take some steady and professional persistence on your part to coordinate that help in the end.  One thing is for certain. If you give up trying, they won’t knock your door down to make it happen.

Good luck in the Lake!

2 comments:

  1. Being the introvert that I am, it's terribly hard to put myself out there and chat my stories up. But reminding myself that hey, I have a PUBLISHED story to promote, makes it all worth while. :) And you know something else, Kai? I've been meeting some of the nicest people while searching for promotional opportunities, many of which I never would have known, otherwise. Another big plus. Terrific article, by the way!

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  2. Ug! I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner. Sometimes I read a comment and think, I'll come back to that when I have more time & then forget!

    It's weird that I can stand in front of a room stuffed full of people and talk about anything except myself and my book. I get jittery and insecure. Quite annoying really. But you are right, you make some really great connections because of promotion! And having something to promote is so amazing and exciting and uber AWESOME!

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