PROMOTING A BOOK
As this month ends I'm trying to catch my breath. For an author, the release of a book means that you have to switch hats from author to sales person and publicist. I love some of it. Spending lots of time in bookstores. Talking with booksellers. Meeting readers. All that is great! If forces me to get out of the house and away from my computer for a while. I feel like a hibernating bear, waking up and blinking at the brightness of the world, and finding that I like it and have missed it.
The part I don't like quite as much is the selling of the book. I'm not a sales person. In a perfect world, I'd buy them all myself, open up cartons of books, and give them all away. Maybe I'll get to do that someday. Another challenge is finding time to write the next book while you're busy visiting bookstores, paticipating in chatroom discussions and interviews, and answering emails. This takes a huge chunk of time from my writing schedule.
So, what do authors have to do to promote a book, you might wonder? If you're lucky and have good distribution, your book will be in major bookstores. This is a huge hurdle in and of itself. Assuming the books are in the bookstore, you now have to let the world know they are there before bookstores decide your title is not selling and send them back to the publisher. This is where the author/publicist comes in.
Somehow, the author must create a buzz about the book. The author must notify the media --newspapers, radio stations, etc. that the book is available and something their audience would be interested in reading. Not an easy task. Books usually are not newsworth, but if the author is lucky and has either an interesting topic or angle, they can get a mention in the media. The internet is yet another way to publicize the book. The author has the opportunity to contact writer's groups who will usually share with their members that the book has been released. But an author can not rely on a passive mention of the book by media and websites -- she had to get out in front of her reading public and tell readers about the book. This is done by participating in book signing events, giving workshops, and talking to anyone and everyone who will listen. Sometimes an author can use writing as a medium for promoting her book, by writing related articles and attempting to publish those. As you can see, this is all very time consuming and none of it has a gaurantee of translating into book sales.
But if the book is well written and touches the hearts of readers, eventually enough people will become familiar with that author and begin to search out the her books on their own. It's a long, difficult road to success, but anything worthwhile requires work.
So, during the waking hours my husband and I swap babysitting and working time. I run around doing promotion type work, and then when everyone goes to bed at night I finally get a chance to focus on the new book I'm currently working on. Crazy life, but I love it anyway.
Hope you enjoyed the peek into the life of a promoting author.
Now, off I go to take care of those adorable kids for a while.