Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits with Kari...To Promote or Not to Promote...That is the Question!

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 :-)


Tonya Kappes said...

Hi Kari! Misa Ramirez and I have a Tricked Out Toolbox~Promotional and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs releasing in April. We tackle exactly what you are saying. Promotion and Marketing start when you decided to sit down and write that first book that might NEVER sell. Having a great publishing company to help, after the sell, is wonderful. . .but like you said, what about the NOW?! Send me an email! I'd love to be able to quote you in the book. We are collecting quotes from all authors about what their thoughts on promo/marketing and what works best for them.

Cassy Pickard said...

Kari: You might think you missed Crime Bake, but NOT. Your cards and book marks were in great company displayed on the promo table. They stood out really well given the bright and intense colors you've used. They looked great!

Liz Lipperman said...

It sounds like we will be having another great party at Crime Bake 2011!!!

In your defense - regarding the getting started late on promotion - you have been busy!! For those who live on another planet and didn't know - Kari got 3-book deals from two different publishers off proposals within 4 months of each other. Yep, that's SIX books she had to write. I'm surprised you came up for air.

That said, I'd like to add that your friends are there to help you promote. They'll put you on their blogs, talk up your book, etc. The writing world isn't as lonely as they say.

I started reading FUSED on the plane, and dammit, Kari, I have too much to do and I can't put the book down!

Donna Cummings said...

Great points, Kari. I feel like time goes way too fast, and I don't have anywhere near what you do in my schedule. :)

It's got to be a tricky balance, steering your promotion efforts towards your market, yet trying to create new readers too. I think the school book fair sounds like an awesome opportunity--you've got the kids, and you can hook their parents for your mysteries!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

That sounds fantastic, Tonya! Thanks. Sounds like just what I need :-)

And, Cassy, I wish I could have seen that display table....even better, I really wish I had been there :-(

And, Liz, you rcck! You're in a pretty busy boat yourself, there chica. So glad you're liking Samantha Granger, and I know you all are fantastic at helping promote your fellow writers. It really is such a tricky balance, and deciding when to start and how much to do is sooo hard! Yet if you do nothing, it really does affect your sales.

And Donna, I am very excited about the bookfair signing. And I might be giving an assembly in my son's middle school. Now that would rock! Although I have no idea what to say, and that teirrifies me a bit!

I'm feeling better about it now, but at first I was like, oh god it's been out a week and I've done nothing! Eeek. But now I have a plan :-)

Taryn Kincaid said...

Hi, guys! Know I've been absent, but my job doesn't allow me to gallywag about much anymore!

Kari, I wish I knew some of the stuff I know now. Not that I'm sure any of it really makes a difference. My paranormal novella was rushed out by TWRP in time for Halloween because it had an autumnal setting. Now that's come and gone and the brief window of oppty seems more or less closed.
Did a few blogs, but honestly? Seems like they mainly attract other authors. And when I check out the number of people actually following the blog...not sure it's worth it. OTOH, the more places you can get your blurb/excerpt and "buy" button the better, I guess!

And Liz, if you're around, my contest coordinator may be contacting you shortly, now that we've got our entries in!

Mary Martinez said...

Great blog, especially since I've been trying to figure out how best to promote without selling my first born. Of course he's old enough to have a first born of his own.


Marilyn said...

I knew there were some websites for helping schools find authors (can make money doing this as well as promotion). Turns out there are many sites: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=ie7&q=how+do+i+find+an+author+for+a+school+visit&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&rlz=1I7SMSN_en___US373


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