Your book is a bit like your baby. You birth it, clean it up, and now it’s time for it to go out into the world. But is your work done? Not by a long shot. In fact, it’s just beginning, because now you have to wake the world up that your book is out there and it’s worth reading. Yes, I’m talking about Promotion.
Promoting your book is like a job interview, only you’re not selling yourself, you’re selling something you created, which is infinitely more personal, in my opinion. And every author is doing the same thing. Once in a while, you get a runaway success for a first-time author, but for the majority of writers, it’s a plug-and-chug process.
Since my first book came out in 2015, I’ve become more knowledgeable about self-promotion. My publishers only do so much. If I want to be a guest on review blogs, I have to contact those reviewers, and send them a copy of my book if they are interested in it. Then, I wait, because I don’t know if they’ll like the book, or pan it.
After I send my book to bloggers, I contact author friends to read and review the book. And then I post on all my social media platforms, drumming up interest for my book. That can be a double-edged sword. Many people in the publishing business say constant promoting on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t work, that people on those platforms get tired of hearing from you and tune out. That is a danger; however, new authors need to do some promoting on social media, in order to be noticed. It’s a fine line, being needy or informative, and I’m still learning.
To combat over-promoting my book ad nauseum, I do giveaways, author takeovers on Facebook, and informational blog posts to keep my name in readers’ minds without clubbing them over the head with, “Buy my book.” My sales have steadily improved over time, so perhaps I’ve found a happy medium.
Promotion continues once the book is released, naturally, and along with the release day buzz comes reviews. Reviews often strike fear in new authors; they do in me. I’m not thick-skinned enough to shrug off the occasional bad review, even though I tell myself my writing won’t please everybody. Once I see that 2-or-3-star review under my book, I start obsessing. Why didn’t they like it? What was wrong with my writing, characterization, plot, or whatever the complaint is.
If I get a bad review, that’s the one I’ll think about, even if I have ten or fifteen good ones. My husband and sons tell me, “Shrug it off. There’s always that one person who’s never happy, just like on hotel sites.” Even though that’s true, I still fixate on the poor review, and strive harder not to get that type of one on the next book. So maybe it served its purpose, especially if it made my writing better in the long run.
Being an author is hard work. It’s not for the unorganized, unless you can hire someone to keep you organized. It’s hard work, long hours, and the pay isn’t great. But to go on Amazon and see your book, or go in a book store and see your name looking back at you from the shelves, that’s remuneration that’s priceless.
It’s also an amazing feeling when you go to the doctor, or dentist, or even the store, and they ask you what’s new in your life and you say, “I just had a book published. I’m an author.” The look on their face, the admiration, makes all the work you’ve done worth it. I wouldn’t trade my job for the world. I love what I do, and so do readers. Isn’t that what we all strive for in our job?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on my writing process, and I hope you continue to read what I offer up to you, week after week. Sometimes I’ll post book reviews, and sometimes I’ll write about a topic interesting to me. Hopefully, you’ll find it thought-provoking, too. Ask me a question below. Maybe I can make it into a blog topic. I’d love to. And in the meantime, check out my books (shameless self-promotion).