Mary Campisi should have known she’d become a writer when at age thirteen she began changing the ending to all the books she read. It took several years and a number of jobs, including registered nurse, receptionist in a swanky hair salon, accounts payable clerk, and practice manager in an OB/GYN office, for her to rediscover writing. Enter a mouse-less computer, a floppy disk, and a dream large enough to fill a zip drive. The rest of the story lives on in every book she writes. When she’s not working on her craft or following the lives of five young adult children, Mary’s digging in the dirt with her flowers and herbs, cooking, reading, walking her rescue lab mix, Cooper, or on the perfect day, riding off into the sunset with her very own ‘hero’ husband on his Electra Glide Classic.
Take it away, Mary....
Hi Amber, and thank you for having me today. Since this is the first of a two day session, I’m glad to get the hard part out of the way. Promotion. In my perfect world, someone else would take care of this for me and I would just do what I do best which is write stories. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen anytime soon which is why I’ve had to re-examine my aversion to promotion.
I’ve read tons of articles, blogs, e-mails, listened to seminars, and talked with friends about effective promotion. Blogs, twitter, Facebook, bookmarks, radio spots, etc. Have I tried some? Of course. Have I had success? At times. What did I learn? You have to be who you are. Period. If it feels like a gimmick to you, it will feel like a gimmick to everyone else too. You have to be comfortable or at least moderately comfortable with whatever form of promotion you choose, which is why you will not see me shoving my book in your hand and telling you what a wonderful read it is….in person or cyberland.
I held off on Twitter for a long time because I didn’t think I could offer anything earth shattering or thought provoking in 140 characters. I was right, but apparently, that’s not Twitter’s goal. It seems to be more about providing snippets of information in a clever way. Hmmm. I’m not that clever. And I really don’t think you want to hear about the home-grown raspberries I put on my cereal…or do you?? I twitter a little but mostly I don’t.
Facebook – after years of fighting this, I finally signed up a few weeks ago. We’ll see how it goes. For now, I’m taking it slow and I do get to talk about my rescue, Cooper, so I’m always happy to do that…
Guest Blog – this is my preference. I just finished a three day gig at Goodreads called Ask an Author, Win a Book. I enjoyed this very much because I could talk about writing, my books and books in general without the pressure of feeling like I’m trying to sell something. I find guest blogs relaxing and a good way to talk about my books without pressure. I’ve been on Fresh Fiction a few times and have guest blogged on other writer’s sites. At times, I give away books and that brings a nice draw. I also have a blog and write about my take on life. Again, there’s no pressure and the words flow. This is by far, my favorite form of promotion.
What I’ve learned from spending too much time on promotion – it interferes with my writing! There are even days when I write very little because I’m thinking too hard about the next best way to sell my book. The ideas consume me – in a negative way – and I become disjointed and crabby. That’s when I know I’ve gone over the edge and need to get back to basics, which is writing.
You can and should try different things but do what feels right and is an extension of who you are. For me, the blog is just another form of talking…one of my favorite pastimes! Don’t be so hard on yourself; there is no one right way to promote your work.
One final word - if you remember nothing else, remember this - There’s no better promotion than writing a great book. Except writing a second great book!
Thank you, Mary! Readers, find out more about Mary at her website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook! And check back in tomorrow to read a snippet from her latest release, The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest....