Promo choices

>Just what does work in terms of promo for an e-book, and how does a new author find out what works? Trial and error? Ask around? Well, Trial and error can be expensive. I’ve asked around, and I’m just not sure I believe all the advice. Actually, I’m quite positive I don’t believe all the advice.

Some talk of a strong ‘web presence’, but they’re referring to being on every loop, thread, group, blog, and Promo list in the fiction world. Nonsense, I say. Most of the names I see cropping up on every list with gushing sentiment and long posts about their life and career numerous times a day are viewed as an annoyance. That doesn’t sell books. Neither does popping in only on the ‘promo day’ to post an ad for your latest book with everyone wondering… “Who the heck IS she, anyway?” No chatting or even a personal note about the book, just an ad? I’m deleting.

There seems to be a lot of Promo groups starting up. Places where you can’t post anything but a promo, excerpt, review or blurb about your book. Common sense says mostly writers, agents, editors and publishers will be members because they want to post news. Most writers I know don’t read as much since they started writing, so how is posting to this site going to drive readers to buy? Yes, I joined a few to see what all the fuss was about. I pull up the digests with continuous (and repeated) ads and feel like I’ve just stumbled into Commercial Hell, where all the valid content in the world has been decimated and all that’s left are the commercials. If I’m deleting the whole thing, what are the other members doing? Drive-by postings, maybe?

I have a writer friend who’s very prolific. She has several e-books out with several different publishers, but I see her posts only occasionally. I know what she’s doing – writing! Her banners and book covers I see with startling frequency on the review sites. She says get your name out there, volunteer for interviews, get reviews, run contests or whatever, but the best way to drive sales up is to keep writing and turning out a product to hook a reader. Then they’ll look for your other works. Funny how that sounds like common sense, eh?

I have a website. It just doesn’t get much traffic yet. I have this blog (I know, I know! I need to update more often.) but I must not be a stimulating blogger. It’s not garnering much attention either. I have no problem with joining in an author chat for my publisher, HeatWave when they launch on April 17th or granting interviews. I can see value there, having been on the buying end of that deal more than once.

Please forgive me for using this forum to think though a problem. But light is glimmering in the distance. Let’s push on…

Some advice has an author giving, giving, giving: bookmarks, copies of your book, contest goodies, etc. The list is endless in what you can give away, it seems. I’ve attended conferences. I’ve loaded up at the goodie tables, and can honestly say the thing I used most are bookmarks, because I do still read occasionally. Pens and post-its are nice, too. But only because I need them to work with. None of them convinced me to buy a book. Which brings up a good question. What DOES drive you to buy a book? For me, it’s getting hooked on an intriguing blurb or excerpt. Cover art helps, which is why I sprang for the cover of Insight.

By the way, I asked around on several sites about promoting an e-book with a bookmark. Everyone said it’s the thing to do. Huh. Does offering a bookmark for a book that you can’t ‘mark’ your place in make you scratch your head, too?

Stephanie Bond says the 2 most effective things that drive readers to buy are:
1. Word of mouth , and
2. Excerpts
If that’s true, then we’re back to keeping the writing coming, posting excerpts on your website, and striving for excellence in your finished product so that readers will talk about it with other readers. Stephanie also believes firmly in spending wisely when it comes to promo items, but that’s a whole ‘nuther blog.

Who is the most successful writer you’re aware of? Might she have the initials NB, by any chance? Romance’s dear Nora lets her books work for her, from what I can see. She has so many books out there, you see her name in just about every store that carries a book. Even the small drug stores and convenience stores sometimes carry her. Imagine that. We can’t all be Nora’s, ergo, we promote. But there’s that pesky prolific note again.

Insight is short in length. A fast read, and I’m told the price will be $2.29. Let’s face it, I’m not going to make a fortune. But it will get my name out there, and–if I can get P&F finished and bought–could launch bigger and better things. So I can’t base what I’ll spend on promoting Insight solely on what I expect to make. I’m investing in a career here. Therefore, I’m asking what you think. ??? I’m utilizing my website and blog for promotions with news reviews and cover art. I’ve solicited more reviews and am utilizing a sig line when posting on groups. I’ll take part in a couple chats or forums when HeatWave Romance launches their site in April, even though my book won’t come out until late May (5/27/05).

With that in mind, is there anything else that has worked for you? Something you’ve seen tangible results from? I’d love to hear any and all ideas.

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About Annie Rayburn/Carol Burnside

As an author of sizzling romance, Annie takes contemporary settings. and incorporates twists with sci-fi and paranormal elements.
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