One of the most prominent things on the top of the worry list for authors is promotion. It's right up there with deadlines and plot structure and we discuss it amongst ourselves constantly. A lot of readers think an author simply writes the book and walks away after the publisher releases it. Not so! Promotional help varies from publisher to publisher and even from author to author within the same publishing house. Most publishers provide some, many provide very little. Most of the marketing and promoting of a book falls squarely on the shoulders of the authors themselves, including the investment of money and time.
If there is one thing I've learned from being a published author, it's to balance blatant self-promotion with some restraint and modesty. Bottom line, I have to promote my books, otherwise people won't know they're there, but I can't shove them down people's throats.
So, how does one become the next Janet Evanovich or Sue Grafton? By hitting the road and meeting readers, attending conferences, and by talking non-stop about your books and why people should read them. It's speed dating for bookophiles.
Pal Tim Maleeny and I are hitting America's mailboxes this week with a 5,000 piece direct mailing. Both Tim and I are very good at getting out and promoting our books and both of us are published by Midnight Ink, so we joined forces to reach 5,000 new readers in the next few weeks. Sounds like a lot, right? But in the big picture, it's really just a drop in the bucket.
Still, the best way to promote a book is by word of mouth, by one reader telling another. Nothing can beat that!