That is, I am NOT a Promo Ho. Many are. They are completely awesome at getting their names out and pushing their books but I am sooooo not one of them. Maybe it's because I'm new to all of this but I have learned something...you CAN teach an old dog and some of it's sticking.
When sold my first book, I thought....hmm, okay this is it. I'll go on to my next work in progress and the book will just fly off the shelves all by itself. No one will have to teach my little baby to fly, either. It'll just git-up-and-Go. SNORT. Yeah, right! Boy, did I ever have a lot to learn. Fortunately, I'm a quick study and I'm finally figuring out what works and what doesn't. At least for me.
Chats are an interesting thing. Some believe they do little good, especially if they aren't well attended and smallish loops to begin with. Others love them and are constantly chatting up their newest releases. For me, the jury is still out. I'm coming to the realization that too many chats, too close together not only make me seriously nuts, they might be overkill. Lately, I'm trying to space my chats a bit and only attend those that have a reputation for being well attended. I actually love chatting. It's a fun way to become familiar with the works of other writers and learn a bit about our customers and what they like. Right now, though I'm limiting to two (maybe three) chats each month. And NO, I don't like having a chat with just myself as the only author. Groups of authors getting together is far more fun. I tried going it alone once and quickly learned that I play with others far better than I play with myself. (Oh MY...did I really just SAY that? LOL)
I also belong to a number of groups. Some are better than others but it's a really good way to learn which kind of promo will help me sell a book. Authors are generous people, as a rule, and love to trade information. It's all a learning deal and I try to pick up and yes, share, things I think might be valuable.
Lately, I'm trying something new. Like Anny with her beautiful piks, I'm putting on my creative hat these days and trying to come up with promo items for an upcoming convention in Australia. I just ordered cheap but pretty business cards and I'm looking into buying either pens, sticky notes, or magnets. I've heard that most stuff is tossed in the trash by conference attendees so it's best to stick with things folks can actually use. I'm playing with some unique ideas that will set me apart...I hope, I hope. Surely something super creative will strike before I have to send this stuff off.
Kelly mentioned name recognition, branding, so I've added my Avatar. These days I pretty much put it everywhere I can. I use it for all my blogs and believe me, I'm doing plenty of those. I have a personal blog and do three group blogs. It is super time-consumming and I have no clue if it works or not but I'm giving it a try. Right now, I believe what I do is trial and error. Most is error and I'm normally quick to recognize and toss away if something isn't working.
The biggest problem with promotion is TIME. It takes a great deal of time and effort to promote and it seriously cuts into moments I could spend writing. Lately, I really resent it too. Still, it is a necessary evil. My first little baby never did learn to fly but others have since had my assistance and have done better. After all, who wants to write a book that no one will read? Promotion may leave a writer feeling completely out of his/her element but it's something we all have to think about if we hope to achieve any measure of success.