Wednesday, January 18, 2017
You Know More Than You Think, But It's Not Enough
I prefer to spend my time writing or revising, but as every published author knows, you have to do public relations. If you're self published, you do it all, but even traditionally published authors get stuck doing quite a bit, especially nowadays with publishers pumping out more books than ever on shrinking marketing budgets, and, I'm going to say it, celeb or high profile authors (who don't need that much promo) sucking up unfair percentages. So keep that in mind as you seek an agent or editor-you know you have to start thinking about promotions (You've been told a million times: get a website, engage on social media, build a following, get involved in the writing community, etc.)
There are plenty of books and videos to give you the basics. You may surprise yourself by how much you already know and may be doing. Lately I've read Your First 100 Copies: The Step-By-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book by Tim Grahl, and I've been listening to video seminars by Steve Harrison. Neither, along with several other books I've read, was the complete Holy Grail of public relations. Tim's book was for people with absolutely nothing done (not even a completed manuscript). As I have four traditionally published books, I'm not new to this game so I picked up very little from the book. (Hint: get marketing books from the library because buying them can add up.) As for the video seminars, I find them too basic (it's why I don't attend many writing workshops, they are geared for beginners), long winded (it could have been done in less than an hour), and a lot of these seminars are better suited for non-fiction and those who want to get into public speaking, presentations, and making money off what they know. The presence of a well-known person (who isn't a writer, but an editor/publisher) didn't help and rather hindered the presentation as it was a walk down memory lane for too long a time for me; I don't have hours to sit and listen to things I already know or don't need to know.
For beginning writers, it would be inspirational and especially helpful if you need tips on how to keep writing, perfecting your work, starting your social presence. For additional $$$$$, you can hire these people or buy a series of videos taking you step by step through promoting your book. I'm neither recommending nor not recommending; you need to decide how to spend your money based on your needs.
At least I've learned how much I do know. I'm not claiming to know it all, and I'll keep searching for more books, videos, seminars, and classes to help with book marketing, but I'm in a decent place for things I can do on my own. Things I can't do, like hook up with people in higher places who can push my book further is why I hired a part time publicist like Rebecca Grose of So Cal Public Relations.
If I discover any groundbreaking information, I'll share, but I'm finding everything you need to start is mostly available in books and videos you can get on your own.