Monday, August 15, 2011

Lilly Gayle: A Promo-Hater's Guide to Promoting

Today 30 Days of Promo Goodness welcomes author and friend, Lilly Gayle! Lilly lives in North Carolina with her husband. She has two grown daughters, one son-in-law, a dog and a crazy beast of a cat. When not reading, writing, or working as a mammographer at a local hospital, she likes to spend time with friends and family. And she loves the beach. Visit her at her website and blog!

Take it away, Lilly....

Let’s get one thing straight, I’m no salesman. I couldn’t sell air conditioners in hell. And I especially couldn’t sell air conditioners I’d made myself, even if they were the best darn air conditioners in the world. Why? Maybe I hate taking money from people because I know how hard it is to come by. Or maybe, I’ve been to one too many product parties in people’s homes.
You know the kind of parties I’m talking about. A friend, relative, or co-worker hosts a party where they expect you to buy something or sign up to host a party yourself so they can get free stuff. So, you feel guilty if you don’t buy something and/or host a party. Then you become the one peddling jewelry, clothes, or kitchen wares and calling it a party. And you feel guilty for making your friends, co-workers, and relatives feel as if they have to buy something or host a party.

Some of those party products are great. But most are over-priced items I never would have bought if I hadn’t been invited to a party. Maybe that’s why I hate promotion. To me, it feels like one of those parties. It feels like I’m trying to pressure people into buying something they might not want or need.

Naturally, I want people to buy my book, but I don’t want them to feel forced into it. And when people I know do buy my books, I never know what to say to them later. If they don’t mention it, do I ask if they read it? If they liked it? Or, do I assume silence means they hated it?

I know everyone isn’t going to buy my books, and I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty for not buying it. Some people just don’t read. Or they don’t read romance. But I can’t just put the book “out there” and expect folks to know about it if I don’t tell them.

That’s where promotion comes in. I write books and I want to sell them. It doesn’t have to be a chore or a party I don’t want to attend. It doesn’t have to cost money either. Some of the best promotion is free, and it’s not that difficult to get started.

1. Blog. Everyone’s doing it, so make sure you do it on a regular basis. Once a week. Once a month. Just try to set a schedule. And make it fun. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Blog about juggling writing with the day job. Blog about writing tips. Blog about vacations or your favorite restaurants. Blog about books. Heck. Blog about your pets. I have.

2. Run contests on your blog. Give away copies of your book as prizes. Gain a fan. Give away gift certificates. I like to give away Wild Rose Press gift certificates. That way, a fellow rose (maybe even me) will benefit from a sale.

3. Guest blog. Blog on someone else’s blog or have them as a guest on yours. And remember blogging etiquette. Don’t blog and run. Read and respond to blog comments whether you are guest blogging or hosting a guest blogger. In this case, silence is NOT golden.

4. Create a Facebook page under your author name and a Fan page. Upload pictures of your books or just cool pictures. Update your page regularly. Visit other Facebook pages and leave comments. And never ignore someone’s comment on your page. It could be from a potential fan.

5. Join Twitter. And then spend the rest of your life trying to figure out how it works. Okay, maybe that’s just me. But hey, I’m trying!

6. Join on-line reading or writing communities. Participate. Don’t just post. Comment on other people’s posts.

7. Join Good Reads and create an author page. Read books and post reviews. Post reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble too. Get your name out there. Set up an author page on Amazon.

8. Create a web page. Make it fun. It can be a page set up on a free hosting site, but if it’s within your budget, I suggest paying for a hosting site like Intuit or GoDaddy. I’ve used both. But Intuit is more user friendly for the html ignorant—like me!

9. And lastly, if you’re really brave, have a book signing. With so many brick and mortar book stores going under, and others only hosting well-established or big-name authors, have a signing at a used book store. Have a book signing at a gift shop. Or coffee shop. Agree to buy back any un-sold books. And if the proprietor doesn’t want to order your books, volunteer to bring them with you. Get creative. And have fun.

Thank you, Lilly, for the sound promo-haters advice! Readers, be sure to visit tomorrow to read up on Lilly's new romance, Slightly Tarnished!


Lilly Gayle said...

Thanks for having me, Amber. And being on your blog wasn't even painful. lol!

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Hi Lilly! Thanks again for blogging with us! I try to blog here at Cozy at least twice a week. That way, the page is refreshing for people who visit regularly.

Jenna McClure said...

Great advice, Lilly! I am with you about having a hard time figuring out the best, and cheapest! ways to promote. Hopefully it gets easier with every book...

Mona Risk said...

Hi Lilly, this is a wonderful advice and I've tried, really tried hard to follow each of your tips. Question is, sweetie, if we do all that: two hours on blogs, half an hour to leave comments on others' blogs, fifteen minutes on Facebook, an hour to answer emais on loop, chat once a month,... WHEN do we find time to write the next book? I can't figure that in the equation. Forget about talking to the long-suffering DH who is about to give up on me. HELP.

And to answer Jenna's comment. No it doesn't get easier with every book. I got a little more desperate about juggling the promotion of six books and writing a few chapters or a few lines in a new manuscript.

Jennifer Ann Coffeen said...

I'm with you Mona! With all the promoting I find myself writing less and less. Question- which marketing technique do you feel has the most benefit?

Great article Lilly!

Paula Martin said...

Great advice, and I do work hard at all you've suggested.
I've found that 'Six Sentence Sunday' blog hop is very useful as I post six sentence excerpts from my latest release each week in the hope that it will whet people's appetite and persuade them to buy the book! And I know it's worked in some cases :-)

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Lilly

Great advice. I seem to be doing most of it, although I have to admit to being very active on
GoodReads or loops any more, there just aren't enough hours in the day! I do blog, have Facebook fan and social pagesm Titter, and belong to various 'Ning' groups. AS Mona says though, there's less and less time to actually write!

Lilly Gayle said...

Jenna, it gets harder with each book, because there's more to promote. You can't forget about one book because the next one is released. Esp. if you have releases close together. And Mona, it IS hard to do even have the things I suggest and still find time to write. I think I'm officially sleep deprived. I have limited days that I visit other blogs. I do not blog on weekends. And I write at least 15 minutes every morning. Sometimes, you just have to set time limits. Of course, there are still only 24 hours a day and I like to sleep. And then there's that thing called the day job. lol! One good thing that has come out of all this writing and promo: My husband now does the laundry more often than I do! Bless his heart.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Lilly, great advice! I also hate peddling things. The worst idea I have heard is to have a book party in your home and inviting people to come and buy your book. I think that puts friends and relatives on the spot, don't you?

Lilly Gayle said...

Caroline, if I had a book party in my house, I'd feel as if I had to give my books away as a reward to those who've supported me. A book signing in my home town isn't quite that bad. And I have fun talking to people whether they buy my book or not.