The Farmer’s Market in downtown St Pete has a blues band. And dancing. Plus pretty art. All that and fresh Florida produce, too. But, that’s not the kind of marketing I’m talking about today. My latest novel doesn’t have a release date yet, so it might seem early to worry about the most traumatic aspect of introducing a new book to the world: marketing. Without a band or pretty art. One of the ways I “looked ahead” was to sign up for Bouchercon 2018 this September. Why? It’s at the beautiful waterfront Vinoy this year, sure, but it’s also the largest mystery conference in the world, has book sellers and book buyers, and the Vinoy is in my adopted hometown of St Pete. Maybe I can sell my books there.
It’s a big maybe and I have not done a lot to see about turning maybe into yes. I need to be a better mom to my books. When I asked my writing pal Vernie how she tirelessly manages so much PR, she said her books are like her children and she feels she has to do the best she can to get them out into the world. I asked her if she liked doing it and she said no, but there were plenty of school related events and other things she did for her kids that weren’t tons of fun, either. Parent-teacher conferences, anyone? I’m going to look at selling my next book this way. It’s not a day at the beach, but it’s what’s best for my latest baby.
On the other side of the spectrum, I have writer friends who ignore the marketing aspect of publishing to the point that they don’t do ANY social media. Not Facebook, not Twitter, not even a website. And blogging, forget about it. They write fiction and what happens after the book is published is simply not their concern. They wonder why they can’t sell books, but they don’t believe social media will help them. They may be right. I do all those things and more, and last year I made ZERO income from writing. I didn’t have a book out, so I wasn’t hitting the somewhat reluctant marketing pose I usually manage to pull together during a new release, but still. Zero sucks.
Even when I get my marketing on and slant my various social media with an increased “author of a book you should buy” presence and (deftly not shouty) focus my energy there, I still don’t sell a ton of books. This sort of depressed me, but last week I followed up a post on Rachel Thompson’s NaNoProMo series, and it cheered me because basically Jane Friedman admitted most writing income is not from book sales but other, related, jobs like teaching and editing. I knew that low book revenue was true for me, but it seems it is also true for most writers.
My teaching days are over and I have no desire to edit or try some of the other cash yielding writing related jobs. I am okay with making that Friedman sliver of income from book sales. What I am really interested in is learning how to sell more books. I’d love more reviews, too. And to do that I’m going to have to sharpen my skills online and even *gasp* step outside my comfort zone of online marketing. I love blogging and tweeting is fun. Facebook too, despite the Russians. That’s really why I do social media. It’s fun plus I don’t have to get dressed, put on make up, or drive anywhere. I plan to make more public appearances with the upcoming book because my latest baby deserves it.
Barb of Bakerview Consulting, helps with my website. Barb does technical things beyond my skill set but she is also really good at blog critiquing. She has been telling me forever to put a direct link to my books at the bottom of my posts. I’m going to work on that.