Will Work for Key Words

perf5.000x8.000.inddAfter 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.

 

 

Promo for an Introvert

I admit I am a little…eccentric. I pay attention to the phases of the moon and Mercury Retrogrades. I buy new outfits when Venus tours my sun sign. I listen to psychics. Well, sometimes. I tend to go with my gut first. The thing about trusting your gut is, if you are an introvert like me, it can hold you back. Keep you in your comfort zone. This means, if you’re a writer, you won’t promote your novels much.

Yet I find myself in the middle of a massive (for me) promotional campaign. I’m not sure how it happened. Two psychics told me I should “take a bigger stage” that it was “my destiny.” I doubted my inner voice saying “NO! Stay home and write.” It felt a bit cowardly. After all, I had to launch three books in three months. And so I talked myself into hiring a PR person to make up a media plan. Now that I’m in it, I can’t believe I began such an intimidating enterprise. What was I thinking? It might have been the steroids I was on for a sinus infection.

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Whatever the reason, I find myself okaying a press release (my first ever), giving interviews to journalists, pulling together media kits, agreeing to book signings, reviews, workshops, conferences, social media suggestions. Just a big fat YES to everything.

Already I feel overwhelmed and I’m only one day past the first release of three books in three months. Yesterday was release day for Blue Heaven, the Encore edition. An in-dpeth profile appeared in the local papers; I participated in a Facebook Launch Party. Both things never part of my experience before. It may have worked. Blue Heaven went from being ranked in the sub-basement of five million up to two thousand. (UPDATE: In July of 2016 Amazon featured Blue Heaven in a summer read campaign. Blue Heaven hit the top 100.)

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I need a break. The keyboard calls. I must write. Immerse myself in what I do. I have an all day event, a book signing, but that’s not until next month for the second release. And I promise myself I’ll submit review copies and do other things on the list this winter and perhaps participate more in real-world events next spring. Because spring is a long way off and perhaps the stars will align again for me.