So I got up this morning, still totally jealous over missing the Crime Bake, and sat down to write a blog post. Hmmm, what to talk about? Then what Liz said hit me. What kind of writer are you? (Romance, Young Adult, Mystery???) Once you know, should you go to conferences that cater to that crowd? What should you spend your promotion dollars on? What does your publisher do for you? What do you do for yourself?
It's all so confusing and stressful!
It took me so long to get published (14 years) that I was simply riding the high, but now I am going through this exact issue. When do you start promoting? Never assume anything, people. I thought my publisher was setting up a ton of stuff for me to do, so I dropped the ball on setting up enough things myself ahead of time. Things like blog tours, book signings, interviews, etc. Now I'm scrambling to play catch up. Ideally, starting at least 3 months before your book comes out is key. That's what ARC's are for :-)
My point is...plan ahead and never assume others are doing it for you.
Don't get me wrong, my publisher IS planning events for me (just a little later than I expected) and they are great about giving me whatever I need for events I have planned myself, but sitting back and waiting won't get me anywhere. We all know the first month to two months are the most important when it comes to numbers. So plan ahead and hit the road running the first day your book comes out. Create buzz because word of mouth is huge. And attend conferences that count.
Yes, I love RWA, but is that really the best conference for me to go to? I write teen superhero stories and adult mysteries. Doing your homework is essential in this business. Carefully choose your conferences based on when you have a book coming out and in what genre, no matter how much fun the other conferences are. Try to do a workshop at that conference as well, and definitely do a signing.
Thanks to my fabulous agent, I am now working with some amazing people on setting up a blog tour with interviews, book reviews, guest posts and more. And....I am having my very first book signing ever at a Barnes and Noble during a school's book fair! That should really help sales, given the store will be full of my target audience :-)
One thing to keep in mind when setting up all this promotion is spend your dollars wisely. You can do a lot in the virtual world for free. Never spend too much money on swag. It adds up quickly, and you'd be surprised how easy it is to spend more money than you make. And always run everything by your publisher first. They will sometimes pay for things you do and send promotion materials for you. Hey, it never hurts to ask.
Whatever you do, good luck, and remember...start early. And stay tuned....you're going to see my name come up a lot in the next month! Hey, better late than never :-)