Monday, February 21, 2011

The PR/Marketing Game

I’m guessing most people in the publishing arena realize PR and marketing are part of the game. For better or worse, it’s up to us to help (mostly) sell our books. No longer can an author depend on their publisher to go to lengths to incite interest in their book and find hungry readers.

It’s up to the author to reach and network with potential customers. And that’s all good—if you have the necessary skills and savvy to pull it off. It also helps if you like marketing yourself and your work.

For me, this is the hardest part of establishing a writing career. I’m not a sales person. Nor do I want to be a sales person. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I can blissfully write, socialize with my writer friends, and pretend it doesn’t matter. Because no one is going to do it for me. And those who don’t market, don’t make it. I don’t want to be in that group.

So what to do? And this is where my difficulties arise. How many reader/writer groups can a person reasonably belong to and actually contribute to? You can’t just pop up one day and say please read my excerpt and buy my book when you haven’t participated up to that point. How many contacts and workshops does it take to actually learn how to do a good job of marketing?

The standard social networking sites are easy and my first choice for networking, but I’m not really comfortable using them as marketing tools at this point in my career. I’ve never been good at shouting for attention and then talking about my achievements or asking others to purchase something I’ve created. I’ve discovered there’s a big difference between showing your work to people who ask to read it and putting it out there for people you hope will read an excerpt and then purchase the complete work. Marketing is hard work and one of my least favorite things (right up there with the dreaded synopsis) about the writing/publishing process.

How about you? How do you prefer to market? Do you like the reader/writer sites and loops? The popular social networking sites? What has proven most effective in your campaign? When do you start your campaign for a new book?


  1. Ack--the dreaded platform! This is the hardest thing for me, as well. Even the email loops/groups I'm on, how much can you plug yourself without being obnoxious? Because we all know those who overdo it, and we don't want to be one of them. And are you just marketing yourself to other writers, or are you reaching readers (or both)? I blog relentlessly, but find my writing time suffers because of it. Twitter I limit myself to certain times of day. Facebook I rarely use except for personal stuff and auto blog feeds. This is a hard racket.

  2. I'm on this treadmill right now and I think the hard part is not knowing if any of it - the blog guesting, the tweeting, the FB shouting - is doing anything at all for me.

    I'm trying to just enjoy the rush, though blog guesting here there and everywhere does stretch the brain. If I don't keep track of it carefully, I get totally lost!

    I'm heading to RT in six weeks and doing a ton of stuff this point, I'll see who comes to the table on Saturday to talk and use that as a guage to how successful I've been the last few months.

    I'll report back!

  3. Right now, since I don't have anything current, marketing is pretty low on the totem pole. I think keeping my finger in various writing groups helps though once I publish again.

    Maureen---let us know how RT goes.