The Final Step That Never Ends

Truth in Advertising: My hair is no longer this color!

Over the last few months, I've written about how I came to self-publish and what I do in that process. Once your cover is great, your MS is perfect (we hope), and your formatting is set for whichever sites you plan to present on, there's just promo left to do...always...forever...eternally. 

A person trying to make a living by writing has to promote. Those who aren't (like me) do as much as we choose. Writers understand that promoted books, (often books that aren't as good as yours) will sell, while unpromoted books mean that no one even knows you've got a new one out there.

We begin promo long before a book is available for sale. We talk about it online. We do cover reveals. We offer samples. We try to get bloggers interested enough to feature the book. We solicit reviews. Add standing on our heads and screaming, "IT'S MY NEW BOOK!" and you have some idea.

The biggest problem is that no one knows what works. Bad books often sell because advertisers convince the public they're must-reads. It's exactly the same for good books. Promotion is mysterious, but we do know that to become interested in a book, the reading public has to know it exists.

I had a traditional publisher for my first eight or nine books. They got reviewers to tout them. They publicized like mad. I got awards and kudos. The books sold well.

When I started writing as Maggie Pill, I had nobody helping. The books took off on their own, and they still outsell everything else I've written. Nobody knows why that happens and how to replicate it. Certainly not me.

My best advice is to experiment a little without spending a ton of money. Sometimes a site that puts your book up for $15 gets as much reaction as the ones charging $500. Sometimes it doesn't. (:/)

Promotion never ends. You have to remind readers of your backlist (books published a while ago) as well as notifying them about your new stuff. Most readers do NOT read a book and go, "I love this author. I'm going to go read everything she ever wrote." (I have met a few readers who do, and authors LOVE them. I myself was once the type of reader who seldom noticed the author's name. That was before Amazon online and B&N stores in the malls, when I haunted the local library looking for books they had that I hadn't yet read.)

I don't know many authors who enjoy book promotion, but remember the Marketing Rule of 7: people have to hear about something at least seven times before they finally react to it. It's why you see those same ads on TV over and over. So we blog and we advertise and we drop hints on Facebook.

And we feel like Sisyphus, climbing that hill, pushing that rock, and knowing it will all happen again tomorrow.

Oh, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes for whatever your celebrations might be!


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