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Hey guys,

I'm planning on posting one of my novels on Amazon in a week or two, and as such I've been lurking around the Writers' Cafe for a while now.  There is so much talk of promotion!  I've read countless admonitions that promotion is a necessary evil and you must have a blog, twitter account, billboard, skywriter, blimp, and (optional) bear that rides a tricycle while singing a song about your book.

Honestly, I don't think I've got much to add to the blogosphere or twittosphere.  My contribution would be like whispering in a noisy room.  I'd have to promote the blog that promotes my book.  But mostly I worry that all the promotion will keep me from writing.

I'd rather just write.  Tell a good story, and then tell another. 

Plus, this bear doesn't like wearing a tiny hat and only knows one tune, the infernal "Song That Never Ends" from Lambchop.

Help!  Do I have to drop everything and promote? 
 

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I think it depends on your goals. If you care about sales/profit/etc, promotion is fairly essential, even for writers with traditional publishers nowadays. If you don't care about how the book sells, then meh.

I give very minimal efforts to promotion, and I stick to writing. I don't sell jack, but I'm relatively happy. They didn't cost me anything to put out, since I am signed with a micropress that provided covers, formatting and editors, etc (though, sadly, very little marketing), so I have no money to "make back." Only my ego is tied to sales, and not too firmly.  

So, in my opinion, if you don't want to promote, then don't - if you are fine without sales.

Of course, sales might happen accidentally, as well - my books did the same amount of business during the three months I ignored them this winter as before that when I was breaking my hump on promoting them. They now do steady small business no matter what I do, so I don't feel much pressure to slave over promo.

You can submit it for a bunch of reviews, set up a site and/or an Amazon profile, and then go on to your next project if that's what you want, and let nature takes its course.
 

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With only one book out there, I believe your best form of promotion will be your next book. Let's say you go out and spend a lot of time promoting your book. People love it, buy it, read it, and then go look for another book by the same author. Now what?

Okay, three months down the road you get the next book out there. You go the promo route all over again. A few of your previous readers MIGHT still be looking for you, but not likely. I believe the best thing is to keep writing.

I haven't sold a whole lot of my fantasy novels, but then I don't do a lot of promoting. After I released the second novel, I ended up selling twice as many of it as I did the first novel, with almost no promotion. Sales of the first one picked up slightly as well. In the meantime, I'm working on my next projects!

By the same token, I published six volumes of poetry all at the same time. I don't ever promote them, but periodically someone will buy one, and the next thing you know, I've sold two or three different poetry books as well. Several times I will see a sale on every single one within a few days of each other. That tells me that people like the first one they buy and end up going back for another one! It's not a lot, but it's a pattern that I feel I can repeat better if I have more to offer!
 

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southerntype said:
Help! Do I have to drop everything and promote?
I think most writers feel the same way you do about promotion. I suggest writing first and considering promo something to do in your spare time. Personally, I'd select just one thing, like Facebook, that you actually derive pleasure from and don't consider a time-suck and concentrate your efforts in that area. Otherwise it gets overwhelming. In the past I've had accounts or become otherwise involved in: Facebook, Myspace,Twitter, Romance Divas, Absolute Write, FantasyWriters.org, Kindle Boards, Nook Boards, UK Kindle Board, GoodReads, Various Yahoo Groups, Ning loops, Various Review Groups, Various Group Blogs, not to mention my own blogs (I had five of them).

In the end it was all way too much for me and to be honest, I actually sell much better now that I concentrate less on promotion. These days I just do the occasional giveaway to celebrate a new release, hang out on my favorite forums, and Facebook a little when I have the time. I submit my book to reviewers and keep an eye out for not-too-time-consuming promo opportunities.

The thing is, there are endless promotional opportunities out there but if we spend all our time chasing down every one (which still doesn't guarantee success) it leaves zero time for the most important promotional tool: writing the next book.

So do the things you enjoy and if they gain you some sales, well and good. If they don't, it won't have been wasted time because you were actually learning something or having fun or making new friends along the way.
 

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Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 

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I know how you feel.  I recently un-twittered myself as I just don't get it.  I hate promotion and I'm going to try to do a little here and there, but get more work up there and hope that will make a difference. 

The sad fact is when I was promoting, each month my sales increased over the previous month.  In April I had 21 sales and in May 29.  I stopped promoting at the end of May, and this month so far...only 7.  So it does have an impact.

I'm thinking now that instead of little promos, I'll do one grand gesture.  So, here's my plan.  I'm having thousands of leaflets made of my book covers, I will then have them air dropped over strategic locations around the world.  I'm talking NY, Montreal, Paris, London, Rome etc.  I'll let you all know how it goes.  ;D

 

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Crenel said:
I assume this is mostly within a certain genre? That would explain your poetry book sales not leading to sales of your fantasy books, right?
This is very true. I think the genre definitely makes a difference. It is pretty unlikely someone who enjoys one of my poetry books is likely to purchase one of my fantasy novels, or vice versa. However, the sales on my first fantasy novel had been tapering off until I released my second one two months later. Sales for the first book picked back up after I released the second.

I'm about to make things even more confusing for myself and my readers. My next three projects are suspense novellas. Will someone who buys one of them end up trying one of the fantasy novels? Maybe! I'll also be combining all three novellas into one book and make them available that way as well.

I figure even if there aren't any crossovers in genres, I'll still have additional titles within the genre the reader first encountered, and that is certain to help sales within that genre. (Sounds good in theory!) :)
 

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southerntype said:
Hey guys,

I'm planning on posting one of my novels on Amazon in a week or two, and as such I've been lurking around the Writers' Cafe for a while now. There is so much talk of promotion! I've read countless admonitions that promotion is a necessary evil and you must have a blog, twitter account, billboard, skywriter, blimp, and (optional) bear that rides a tricycle while singing a song about your book.

Honestly, I don't think I've got much to add to the blogosphere or twittosphere. My contribution would be like whispering in a noisy room. I'd have to promote the blog that promotes my book. But mostly I worry that all the promotion will keep me from writing.

I'd rather just write. Tell a good story, and then tell another.

Plus, this bear doesn't like wearing a tiny hat and only knows one tune, the infernal "Song That Never Ends" from Lambchop.

Help! Do I have to drop everything and promote?
Here's my advice Southerntype, first things first, take a breath everything is going to be OK. I would have to say that doing some kind of promotion would be the way to go. You don't have to get crazy but maybe start a facebook page. On Facebook just fill out all the info, interests, favorite books, movies, ect. Then create an Amazon Associates Link for your book and put that link on your Facebook profile page. This way if you send friends or fans from your Facebook page to your Amazon page through your associates link you earn an extra 4%.

That would be good enough for the bare minimum.

And then if you want to take it a step forward and start a blog, use blogspot. It's a free blog service owned by Google and it's very easy to use. The key to all this promotion your stressing out about is to not promote at all. Start your blog, fill out all the general interest profile info, and put that 1 Amazon Associates link to your book.

No more promotion. No one wants to go to a website to read ads.

On your blog you want to stick with one main subject (writing, painting, photography, your hobby). Most popular blogs generally stick to one subject. Some people do have blogs where they just talk about whats on their mind that are successful. But you'll probably have a better shot dealing with one easy subject. If you like photography, post a picture every other day. If you like writing short stories, post them on your blog. Whatever interests you blog about it and I can promise you somewhere out in the blogosphere other people will be interested in reading it.

And that's what I got for you, I hope it helps. Whatever you decide to do just keep writing good stories, and get your name out there online with a blog that people come to to be entertained, not sold. And you should be OK, Good luck...
 

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southerntype said:
Hey guys,

I'm planning on posting one of my novels on Amazon in a week or two, and as such I've been lurking around the Writers' Cafe for a while now. There is so much talk of promotion! I've read countless admonitions that promotion is a necessary evil and you must have a blog, twitter account, billboard, skywriter, blimp, and (optional) bear that rides a tricycle while singing a song about your book.

Honestly, I don't think I've got much to add to the blogosphere or twittosphere. My contribution would be like whispering in a noisy room. I'd have to promote the blog that promotes my book. But mostly I worry that all the promotion will keep me from writing.

I'd rather just write. Tell a good story, and then tell another.

Plus, this bear doesn't like wearing a tiny hat and only knows one tune, the infernal "Song That Never Ends" from Lambchop.

Help! Do I have to drop everything and promote?
Honestly, it doesn't have to be that time consuming.

I suggest devoting 25-33 percent of your available time to promotion, and no more.

If you have 4 hours available a day, I'd divide it this way:

2 hours of writing
1 hour of promotion/social networking/etc
1 hour of reading great writers

If you have 8 hours a day, double those totals.

If you have 2 hours a day, cut 'em in half.

That keeps writing front-and-center, not on the sidelines, but gets the other necessary elements in there every day.
 

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I guess each one of us finds what works for them. I don't have a blog or a twitter. Well, actually, after long resisting the idea of starting a blog, I had tried - only to find out that yes, I was right: I absolutely have no time for it, and it's a pain to have it hanging over my head. What works for me though is contacting reviewers, doing giveaways, participating in forum discussions. I'm sure you will come up with some ways to spread the word about your book, too.
 

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I hate promotion. I simply detest it. But I know I have to do 'something'.

The strange thing is, the book that I do almost zero promotion for - Short Moments - is my biggest seller in the UK - well biggest for me - laughable to most other people, I suppose.

Maybe I should take note of my own experience, and do no more promotion...
 

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I'd recommend doing some giveaways.  LibraryThing is good for that, as they allow e-books.  You get to talk directly to the people who 'win' your giveaway, even if it's just "What format would you like it in?  Okay, hope you enjoy it!" there's more of a connection there than just shouting (or whispering) into a void (which is what most promotion feels like to me).  Also, every book you give away is another copy of your book out there in the world!  As a final good point, doing giveaways takes a minimal amount of time, no more than a few hours in total.  Perfect for us promophobic authors who'd rather be writing :)
 

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This has been one of my biggest dilemmas - Do I have to have a blog? I haven't a clue what to blog about. I am about to put my first novel on Kindle, and have no idea how I am going to promote it. I am glad southerntype brought up this subject, as I have been dying to do so myself. I live in a small African country, whereby, yes I am spoilt by having domestic staff - so have all day to write. But I stand to be corrected when I say I don't think Kindle has taken off as quick in Africa as it has in the USA, UK and Europe. Confusion reigns as what I am to do. Are there blogs one can piggy back onto to promote their book?
 

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anne_holly said:
If I had money, I would pay someone to do the promo stuff for me, except for whatever they strongly recommend I do myself to add a "personal touch."
I'm kinda surprised indi authors haven't banded together to do this.

Also, I hear yetis are where it's at. Captive yetis with sandwich boards.

(I love this thread, if only for the sense of relief it brings me: I am not alone! Thank you, southern type.)
 

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southerntype said:
Plus, this bear doesn't like wearing a tiny hat and only knows one tune, the infernal "Song That Never Ends" from Lambchop.
Everyone else has given you really good advice, so all I'm going to say is: why did you mention that song??? It's now stuck in my head.
 

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I think having a base of three books that are connected somehow is the best promotion possible.  So I suggest focus on writing until hitting that threshhold, then making one book a .99 lead.  Then hit promotion heavy.  Meanwhile, I would do a post in the Bazaar and bump the thread every seven days just to get it started.  And participate in some of the discussion here.  But the focus should be on the writing.

The best promotion is a good book.
 
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