Friday, July 20, 2007

Publicity for the Poor and Humble...but definitely not shy

...so I was thinking the other day. (lol, Cowboy says that I preface everything with "so I was thinking the other day") About promo, mainly, 'cause y'know, I'm poor and (ok, I'm not really poor, but I could use LOTS of disposable income for nothing in particular, and then maybe--just maybe, I'd buy that memory foam full-body car seat with nifty microplush cover)...hurting for money when it comes to promoting myself.

And it hit me. WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING???!!!! I'm a freaking idiot. I tell people that looking at promo from an ex-bookseller's point of view, promo doesn't work. Bookmarks, flyers, little trinkets (I still have pens from the '06 conference)really don't cut it, although I'm coming down on the side of those mini-your-cover business cards. If you gotta exchange info, might as way say, "hey, read my book?" at the same time.

But, the only promo I've ever seen work falls into one of these three categories.

1. Jill Barnett's ARC and chocolate.

Which brought up two great ideas, a free reading copy, and something to eat.

2. ARCs.

I stll have the first installment of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. It was good, and I hand-sold it to everyone.

3. And word of mouth.

I'll buy something if people tell me it's good, or at least check it out.

Which on a day of consideration, (yeah, I have too much of the wrong kind of time), made me seriously reconsider, 1) an ad in RT 2) bookmarks (I know better, but it's like they're calling me or something) and 3)signings.

I tell people, never sign. And here I am, thinking SIGNING?? There's something wrong with my head. It gives me a whole lotta empathy for the authors who have "first book" fever.

But working from the assumption that I'm not going to make a killing off HC--it's a small press, the distribution channels aren't as developed as those in a major house--I know that my focus needs to be building readership. Which made me go around in circles thinking, "How do I reach people?" and how many people are enough, and "How do I buy books?" I like Wild Rose, but I'm not gonna stay there forever. I want some buzz to be circulating about me when I take my act on the road.

ARCs and food.

I can't give people food, but I can damned well give'em a free reading copy. Sure, a free copy isn't free for me, but there's a trade-off when people like me and reccomend me to their friends.

Fat chance, right?

You got to have a little faith in yourself. You're good, believe in yourself. I've already called my library...hell, I've called every library in a fifty mile radius. asking if I can donate my book to their circulating collections.

It works on a couple of levels.

One. It'll be "new". It'll get a promeninent spot in the "new" section for at least a month or two, (I visit libraries, I know how they work. That new label is spiffy-fine) Two. People who would never buy my book will suddenly (it's FREE!!) pick it up and go, "whoa, nice cover" And Three. Maybe they'll like me enough to check out my as of this minute non-existant backstock at Barnes and Noble, or buy a copy.

I find a lot of new authors at the library. If I like them, I buy all their titles. If I hate'em, I throw the book against the wall. But whatever happens costs me nothing, and nothing is the operative for new authors. I don't want to plunk eight dollars into a book and wish I'd bought something else.

I know booksellers. I'm going to hit up all the stores I visit, book in hand, (and chocolate, booksellers like chocolate) and fork over my book, a chocolate bar and a blurb starting with, "Hey, thought you might like a copy of my book." In a soft-sell kind of way. If they like it, they'll sell it, doesn't matter if it's on the shelves or not. If they don't, it'll end up in the breakroom, and someone will read it.

...and...this is a little presumptuous, but hey--over the years, I've talked to lots of people. Some people work for my local paper writing book reviews and doing a book-talk column. So I know this guy, and yeah--he gets a copy too. He doesn't get the hard-sell. Just a note, "remembering our conversation of a couple years back. Thought you'd like a copy. Thanks for your help."

He might read it, he might not. He might review it, he might say something nice. It's all a juggling act, but...my outlay won't kill me. I'll get real-contact and at the very least, when I check the card-catalog, I'll smile.

You can bet I'll remember the librarian in the town where my book is set. 'Cause she's on my list too.

2 comments:

Jennifer McK said...

Sounds like you have a plan. My suggestion is that, if this will be in ebook form (and it probably will) maybe see if an author you like and respect will read it and plug it/review it.
This works because you can quote someone. It's a great part of a pitch to a bookseller.

jodi said...

Thanks Jenn, I was thinking of waiting until the paperback came out. But damn straight, now I'm thinking...so, who do I know?

Damn it, now you've got me going, "hmmmm...."