Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Careful What You Wish For!

Okay, so we decided that having guest bloggers and doing interviews would be a really nice addition to our blog. Give our readers some variety along with our own posts about craft and tidbits about the industry, etc. So we each took a month to line up guest bloggers. Well, the month of March is mine, so I decided to hit up some of the loops I'm on to see if anyone wanted to take part.

Holy moly, people, be careful what you wish for.

Literally within minutes my email exploded with replies. Fabulous writers of all different stages in their careers and different genres as well replied. And not just writers, but people who have a certain skill or expertise they'd like to share. I was in awe. Don't worry, I not only booked March, but set up a bunch of interviews that I will be conducting on my own blog day (Tuesdays) so we all (me included) can learn a bunch of cool and interest tidbits. Gee...I think I'll call it Tuesdays Tidbits with Kari :-)

Anyway, this whole experience got me thinking about promotion. Selling in this industry is hard enough....staying sold and promoting yourself is even harder. I truly believe that's why so many many many people responded. Your publisher only does so much to promote your books. A lot is left up to the author. I'm beginning to see why guest blogging is so important. You not only reach the people who read that particular blog, but then those people might come over to your own blog, etc. This also helps the owners of the first blog. Every time they have a guest blogger, that person is going to mention that they are posting on this blog, and then their readers come over here, etc. Word of mouth is huge in this industry, and with the world wide web....it's free.

For me, the internet is a no-brainer. I have 6 unwritten books to finish with overlapping deadlines and I have 4 children! It's hard to find time or even afford to go to that many conferences, so I have to do what is easy, free and convenient for my life style. The internet is exactly that. I work hard to be on several loops, blog, do interviews, give workshops, etc. Even if all I'm doing is cheering on others for their success (when I'm not announcing my own :-), people are still seeing my name and appreciating my support. It might take a lot of careful scheduling because let's face it, having a book to promote is key and that's not going to happen if you spend all your time on the internet, but it is so worth it.

So tell me, what are your tips for promotion? What do you do to get your name out there? Or even what have you heard others do that worked for them?

Curious minds want to know!



Lindsay said...

Guess I'm first in line today, for a change.
Kari, don't you know curiosity killed the cat. Good thing you're not a cat.
As far as promo I'm really starting out. I guest blogged on a blog Sunday and had a good number of hits. I'm still trying to figure out Facebook, MySpace, Good Read and Linkedin and don't have a clue about Twitter.
One thing I make sure I do is always have business cards with me, even going to the grocery store. Never know when you might need one.
Gues with me, every time I leave the house I'm in promo mode.

Cassy Pickard said...

Kari: You have touched on a very important topic. One of which I have NO idea how to respond. I agree that we need to promote ourselves, but how do we also balance what that takes with producing our books? How do we balance that with all the demands screaming at us? I clearly don't have the answer.

You are far better at this than I. I've decided to stick really close to you and slip stream all you do. Whatcha think of that?


Kari Lee Townsend said...

Lindsay, business cards are a great idea! And bookmarks work well, too, for handing out whenever anyone says you write books? OMG that's so cool, let me know when it comes out.

Then you say no problem, here's a bookmark with all the details and my lovely little cover right on it :-)

Good luck to you!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Cassy, Cassy, Cassy....you can stick my side anytime :-)

And I'm still learning as I go as well, but I do know since I've been putting my name out there, I DO get recognized at conferences a lot, so it must be doing something!

Lindsay said...

The idea of bookmarks is good but in the grocery store or mall a little difficult to deal with-giver and receiver. That's why I stick with business cards and the image is of my website. That's what attracts the people esp. when they see the pcx of my collie on it.
With only the one style I don't have to carry several different ones cause when the person goes to the sight theycan then link to the books.
Sort of an all-in-one.
Website, email addy and Myspace.
Facebok soon to be added

Anita Clenney said...

Promotion...I'm shivering with dread. Only partly joking :)

I'm with Cassy. I'm going to stick close to you Kari and see what I can learn. I have a hard time juggling things. If I check out a website, I'm probably going to kill an hour following links. It's so blasted overwhelming. Everyone has a blog, sites that review books, etc. How do you know what to join? Deep down I don't want to mess with it, I just want to write, but this is necessary and I'm really apprehensive.

I remember meeting a woman at a conference and she told me she chose six sites that she checked on each day, no more.

Please...someone share your wisdom with me.

Anita Clenney said...

Seriously, how do you decide which sites to get involved with?

Liz Lipperman said...

As I have said before, you are the queen of promoting yourself, Kari. It would surprise me if there is one person on any of your loops who doesn't recognize your name. Like Cassy, I will be taking notes when The Samantha Grange Experiment: Fused, comes out in November.

As for promo dollars, fortunately for me, I have a CP who has her own promotion business. When it's time, we'll look at various things to promote Ducks. I always liked the chocolates the best from the goody room at Nationals, but I never remembered where I got them. My favorites were fancy bookmarks, pens and post-its. Last year I even got a travel cup, but now you're talking big bucks.

Another idea for promotion and I think it was JA Konrath who said this on his website that he sends bookmarks every time he mails out anything - to pay his utility bill, credit cards, etc. What a great idea. I also thought about leaving them at the doctor's office, the dentist's, Curves, etc.

Guest blogging is definitely a way to get your name out there. Speaking of that, tomorrow's guest blogger is Pamela James, owner of the groups, cozyarmchairgroup which has both reader and writers participating. Although she's a writer herself, she's going to give us a reader's perspective of mysteries. And what better way to get your name out there with the people who buy mysteries than to chat on her loop?

Cassy Pickard said...

Kari: I've been thinking more about the promotion issues since you have posted. Well, truthfully, I've been thinking about it a lot and you have got me going again. You do that, girl.

One of the things that strikes me are those people who are "there." Do you know what I mean? I see their names all over the place. I check out their websites out of curiosity. I watch for them at conferences. I have a ton of pens, sticky pads, and little goodies with an author's name on them--can't remember a thing about them.

I DO remember the conversation I had with so-and-so, then went to log onto the website. The personal piece is important to me.

Now, having said that, I am probably the only person in the world who when meeting Lyle Lovett (his request, not mine!!) admitted that I'd never heard of him before, but he had a new fan. I thought my husband would burst with laughter as he tried to cover up for his really-not-there wife. Huge music artist...married to Julia Roberts? Nope, not on my radar screen. Yup, I really told him I had no idea who he was. So, maybe my ideas about the personal contact are truly good for folks like me- I need all the help I can get.

Oh well, our fantastic agent Christine will teach me how to solve it.

Thanks, Kari, you are great.


Mary Martinez said...

I can't wait to have to promote. The only thing I know is, as Lindsay said always have business cards and/or bookmarks. Etc.

Great Blog Kari