With the millions of books competing for reader’s attention, authors (traditionally & self-published alike) must make concerted efforts to let readers know about their books. Otherwise, our books will just get lost in the shuffle.
But how much promotion is necessary? If we promote too much we risk being seen as obnoxious. And if we don’t promote enough, we risk getting lost in the crowd of other voices.
If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m in the middle of promoting my newest release, The Doctor’s Lady. Some days, I can’t help but wonder, am I promoting TOO much? TOO little? Or Just enough?
It’s not always easy to tell.
My critique partner, Keli Gwyn, will be going through the promoting experience in July 2012 when her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop is El Dorado, California, is released by Barbour Publishing. Keli told me she's been watching my efforts with interest and asked if I'd share my tips for knowing how much/how often to promote my book and the giveaway I'm running.
In light of Keli’s question and my own struggle to learn to find a balance in the effort to promote my books, here are several things I’m learning:
1. We need to make it easy for our friends and followers to share the news about our books.
The bottom line is that promotion is always easier when our friends and followers join in the effort—especially willingly, without arm twisting. If we’ve already worked hard at building a team (or tribe), those friends will likely come to us and ask us how they can help, rather than us having to run around begging people for assistance.
Of course, it goes without saying (but I’m obviously saying it anyway!) that we have to give our friends the kind of book they can be proud to promote. We don’t want to put them in a position where they have to lie about the quality of our book and essentially put their reputations on the line.
We can take it a step further by giving them things they can actually share–like news about contests, giveaways, or relevant blog posts, fun interviews, etc. And nowadays, sharing buttons (like the ones that I have below) are a nice touch for making the sharing easier.
2. Yes, social media is about socializing. But we can’t sit back and do nothing at all.
I think most authors (including myself) are finally catching on to that concept that we need to use social media to socialize (rather than as a billboard).
However, I’ve seen authors with new releases do very little to almost nothing to share the news of their books. In some ways, it almost seems like we’ve become paranoid about using twitter, facebook, or our blogs for sharing any book news at all for fear of spamming our followers.
But I think we can (and should) be responsible for sharing important information in moderation. If we open our twitter page and see mostly tweets about our book, then we’re likely going overboard. But if we share such information interspersed with other genuine interactions, then we’re hopefully sharing in a way that won’t offend most followers.
3. Look for ways to promote others in the process of your self-promotion.
During my blog tour, I’ve taken the approach of wanting to promote the blogs who are hosting me. I really do want each person to be blessed as a result of participating in the tour. So, when I take the time to mention their posts on my blog and on twitter, and facebook, I’m hoping they can get a little extra traffic that day, perhaps gain a few new followers, or increase their name and web presence just a little.
When people send me pictures, I try to post them on facebook or twitter so that I can spotlight that person, publicly thank them, and draw attention to them.
My Summary: Ultimately, we have to promote our books and that means talking about them. But through it all we can be on the lookout for ways to move the focus off us and onto others. And if we start to get the internal feeling that we're over-promoting my book, we can move a step back and take a break from it for a short time.
What’s your opinion? In what ways do authors over-promote? And have you seen authors who haven’t done enough promotion? Is it possible to find a balance?
No blog tour stops on Monday! But don't miss these two on Tuesday!
Tuesday 9/20: I'm visiting with Katie McCurdy on her blog and sharing my favorite scene from The Doctor's Lady and what was the hardest to write. (AND giving away a book!)
Tuesday 9/20: I'm delighted to have a spotlight on Mary Bailey's blog where she'll be reviewing and giving away a copy of The Doctor's Lady.
Don't forget to enter my BE A TRAILBLAZER CONTEST! Only 1 week left!