Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vonnie Davis: Not Your Ordinary Salesman

Thank you to everyone who visited The Cozy Page Monday and yesterday for our August blog event! The winner of Marie Tuhart's contest will be announced later today.

Today we continue 30 Days of Promo Goodness with author Vonnie Davis! Make sure to give her a warm, Cozy welcome! Take it away, Vonnie....

I never wanted to be a salesperson. I don’t have the knack. Perhaps it’s because I have a keen distrust for salespeople.

I don’t like anyone manipulating me into buying something. I prefer to make my own decisions, thank you very much.

Of course being raised in a generation when women were taught self praise stinks makes it even harder to sell or promote myself as a writer.

Self-promotion seems easier for the younger generation, but we “boomers” struggle with it. A young man in our writers’ group told me I needed to start telling the world I was the best romance writer out there. After I picked myself up from the floor, I told him I didn’t have it in me. He looked at me as if I were daft. “You’re as good as anyone else,” he insisted. I just shook my head and replied, “Promoting myself is beyond hard for this old bird.”

Yet, that’s what experts tell us to do. We’re told not to promote a singular book, but to promote ourselves. To make ourselves a brand name. We’re encouraged to make a brand or slogan and use it in our email signatures, blogs, business cards, etc. For example, mine is I write stories of the heart. I also have a picture of roses with a diamond nestled in a bud that graces my website, blog and business cards. This, too, is part of my brand.

For ultimately, it’s not our books or short stories we’re selling; it’s ourselves. If Storm’s Interlude is my primary focus now, then when I sell another book (please, God, let there be another book), I’ll have to start from square one with my promotion. Better to promote Vonnie Davis, Romance Author.

If you read Marie Tuhart’s fantastic article on Monday, you’ve already gotten a wealth of information from her. What miniscule advice I can give you will be anticlimactic, but I want to throw in another element: establish relationships.

I belong to RWA, as many of you do. I also belong to VA Romance Writers, From the Heart Romance Writers and Hearts thru History Romance Writers. Most have Yahoo loops. There are Yahoo loops for romance readers, too. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, had two active loops. Being active on these loops creates relationships. When one member posts about a request for a full manuscript, or a contest win, or a rejection, contract, book release, book review or that dreaded visitor, Ms. Writers Block, respond with a kind, upbeat remark. Make online friends. Build relationships. This, too, is the force behind facebook and twitter: Forging relationships. (insert online friends)

I’m a great fan of blogging. Book release blog tours are effective ways to spread the word about your recent release. Foolishly I scheduled 2 and 3 blogs visits a day for the last couple weeks. People are as tired hearing from me as I am of the blogging. But folks are beginning to recognize my name, especially when I take the time to respond to every comment. Building relationships.

Take advantage of a few blog hop tours. Not only will you drive traffic to your site, but people will learn your name and what you write. Keep your eyes open on twitter for links to blog hops. I’m currently one of two Americans participating in a blog hop for residents of the UK and European Union. My stats show a lot of traffic to my blog from the UK, Netherlands and Germany on a regular basis. Why not increase it? My prize? A copy of Storm’s Interlude.

The company where I order my business cards also makes t-shirts. I’ve ordered a few with my book cover and I “heart” romance printed on them. These I give out as prizes, too. My winners become walking billboards for me. I wear one myself when I go to the local Barnes and Noble. I always get stopped and questioned by at least one person. I can whip out a business card quicker than a gunslinger can his revolver.

Self-promotion takes a lot of time. Time I’d rather be writing. I’m a creative person, after all, not a marketing maven. But if I don’t have good sales for book number one, what publisher will want to take me on for book number two? Our world is run by the bottom line. Profits. If I don’t do what I dislike, I won’t get to do what I love. It’s just that simple.

Thank you, Vonnie! Very well put! Readers, be sure to visit Vonnie on the web at You can also find out more about her and her books at her blog, Vintage Vonnie. She also blogs monthly at both The Roses of Prose and Voices of the Heart.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a glimpse into Vonnie's latest romance, Storm's Interlude!


Amber Leigh Williams said...

Thanks again Vonnie for the advice and participation! Looking forward to tomorrow's closer look at Storm's Interlude :)

Vonnie Davis said...

I just got home from a day of visiting friends here from Texas and being interviewed for our local paper. Thanks for having me, Amber!

LaVerne Clark said...

Excellent observations Vonnie.

I think you've hit on the key to promotion in your post. Fostering relationships and being genuine. I think you do this tremendously well. I always enjoy hearing from you whether its responding to a blogpost, or having you visit me. Your personality and humour never fail to make me smile or laugh.

I'm a slacker on the promotion front, but your post has reminded me just how important it is!

I should be diving into Storm's Interlude in the next few days. I can't wait! I look forward to reading your next too : )

Joanne Stewart said...

Thanks for the advice, Vonnie. I struggle with self promotion. You make it sound easy.

Vonnie Davis said...

Hugs, LaVerne, aren't you the sweetest??? I just showed your comment to Calvin. He was as touched by your kind words as I. You know, you must come visit Vintage Vonnie one day and blog about your book. You and Amber Leigh, both. LaVerne, make sure you tell me how you liked "Storm's Interlude."
vonnie.davis at

Meg an Aggie in Frisco said...

Loved the promotion blog. As a Creative Memories consultant. I too struggle with self promotion.

My unit leader does leave the house with out a "CM" shirt on.

As a Buyer of books...

One thing that is important is for the Author to make sure their Author page is correct and complete on sites such as Amazon, B&N...

I will click on the author to see what else they have written. It is hard when all their books do not show up... or if you have to decipher what is a series and the order they are to be read.

The loop at TWRP has been a great place for me to find books I want to read... It is also nice to build the relationship with an Author...


Vonnie Davis said...

Joanne...I see you signed with my agent. Lucky you, she's the best. Thanks for stopping by.

Vonnie Davis said...

Meg, your advice is quite correct. Guess I better go to B & N and make up an author page. I have one at Amazon. Thanks for the tip.