ou guys, if you haven’t seen Laurie Boyle Crompton’s farewell vid, please do so. It’s great. Painfully accurate, though. That stuff about promoting our books. <shudder>
Ugh. Publicity. Platforms. Author branding. It’s so dirty, so vulgar.
I get that authors have to do our own publicity. It’s just that the publicity experts make it so . . . so mandatory. So specific. Like, if you don’t do exactly these things in this order, you’re a dodohead and no one will buy your book. Here are a few examples, snips from the internet:
Start Twittering. Do this before you do anything else online.~~Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (Thomas Nelson)
Your author photo is another important branding tool. Be sure to get a professional looking photo and use it everywhere, to build recognition of you.~~Dana Lynn Smith, the Savvy Book Marketer
[Discover the] Influencers – Well-known people in your field, book reviewers, celebrities, media, and bloggers. These folks can help spread the word about your book. ~~Dana Lynn Smith
OK. Sigh. I’ll do it. But it’s no fun. Listen, I’m a writer. If I wanted to discover influencers and have my image recognized I would have majored in marketing or drama. Branding myself–it’s just . . . anathema to me.
And you know what? I can find almost nothing online about whether that stuff really works. Have there been any studies? Can the results of regular twittering be quantified? Let me know of any data out there that goes beyond the anecdotal. If I knew that tweeting actually led to increased sales, I’d perch on that branch with both feet.
Why? Because as a debut author, you don’t want to get lost among all the other books out there. You don’t want to be bundled together with those people who upload documents and call themselves authors.
So, you think, maybe I should hire a publicist to do all this! Yes! I need a publicist! Well, I looked into it:
Most writers will find the cost of hiring an independent publicist prohibitive ($5,000 to $20,000), but some manage to save up the money or put aside a portion of their advance to cover a publicist’s expenses. ~Poets and Writers magazine
A portion. A portion. Um. Right.
The thing is, I want my books to get noticed. Nobody’s more enthusiastic about my character Cecelia and the War of the Worlds radio broadcast (Radio Girl) or about worm farming (Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer) than I, and to that end, I hereby announce my new website avec blog. I plan to post about stuff related to my books, but not for the sole purpose of advertising them. Just anything that interests me about old-time radio or swing dancing, or the blue worms of New Guinea. Fun stuff. Interesting and unusual trivia. Ephemera. Stuff I love. And if people learn about my books and become interested, yay. Thinking of it that way, maybe I can “promote” my “brand” just by using my natural enthusiasm? Maybe it won’t seem so icky and I won’t feel so much like a box of detergent. Am I being a dodohead? I’d love to learn how you–or someone you know–became a brand. Do tell.
If you’re still itching for actual advice about promoting your own books, I like this article by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson at Hunger Mountain very much.