After I finished Lily White in Detroit, I made a promise to myself to become better at the other part of my job as a writer: marketing. This is embarrassing to admit, but I bet I’m not alone. In fact, I know I’m not. I have published novelist friends who don’t have websites. We are writers, not salespersons. This is not a slam on marketing as a career. It’s just, I know how to write. I don’t know shit about SEO. That promise to myself means I’m learning a new job: PR. I knew it would be difficult. Parts of it would possibly be over my head. It would take time and money. I might find PR tedious as well as difficult. Is PR synonymous with marketing? I don’t even know that much. I think of it as The Art of Selling Stuff.
Stuff being my soon to be released novel. And possibly my backlist, especially Blue Heaven and Love and Death in Blue Lake because Lily appears in both those novels and I had to work to keep her from stealing the show. But maybe it’s not good PR to say “read these other two while you wait for the new release” … because it might imply that Lily White cannot stand alone. She can. She does.
What am I learning? First, I talked to the publicist at TWRP about a Facebook ad and we are set to do that. Also, I promised a friend I’d go on her local cable television show despite my performance anxiety. It turns out I have a hot topic theme, because the book is set in Detroit and you can’t write about Detroit without getting into race. Lily is white in a black city. The other main character is a black male. I write from both points of view, which is hot topic number two for interviews.
After I realized my novel may well be controversial, and I would have to deal with that, I switched gears to fun stuff: changed my website to convey my transition from romance to mystery. Hired a designer who made the header for my website. She put that header on my new business cards, as well as my Facebook, and Twitter accounts. I’m following NaNoProMo. Taking notes. Reading books. Next step, look at my analytics. Word Press makes it easy, but I have an aversion to charts and stats. Still gonna do it.
Here is the silver lining to all this. I get to share a scary new journey with you. And if you know any marketing to PR tips, please share.