Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Promotion - The Necessary Evil...

I've never been good at selling myself. I used to sit tongue-tied in job interviews, my mind a complete blank. Whenever I've got people sitting across from me, looking me in the eye, I can never think of anything to say. That's probably why I like writing so much - it gives me the time I need to dream up the perfect, witty reply.

Like I said here the other day, writing the actual books isn't particularly hard for me. It's getting out there and flogging the books to all and sundry that I find a challenge. I've tried online chats, spamming every possible Yahoogroup with promos, having postcards and bookmarks printed up, paying for a static ad on the Romance Studio website, starting my own website, a Facebook page and this blog. In a couple of weeks, I'll be doing my very first in-person book signing at my local Borders store.

So I'm putting forth a fair amount of effort, but is it doing me any good? Hell if I know! I've already decided I won't be doing any more live chats. At the four or five I've participated in to date, the authors and moderator outnumbered the other attendees - who, it soon became clear, had only showed up for the chance to win free books. While I realize that at the beginning of an author's career, you do have to give away a few free samples, the actual point is to sell books. Chatting away for an hour with a grand total of five potential readers... well, sorry, but that's not an effective use of my time.

The frustrating part is, out of everything I've done to push my books, I'm still not sure what's working and what isn't. I read someplace that the average reader has to see an author's name at least six times before it finally sinks in. That's what my website, this blog and my Facebook page are for. I do my best to keep all three updated, but I still hear the crickets chirping.

So I'm going to try a little experiment. Every person who comments on this post telling me where they first heard of me will have their name entered into a drawing for an autographed print copy of my m/m/f menage a trois novel, The Arrangement. I'll announce the winner next Monday, December 1st.

Yes, I know I said I wasn't fond of giving away my stuff for free, but it is the holidays, after all. ;)

I'll be running drawings like this every week until Christmas. Future prizes include: Supernatural Seasons One, Two and Three on DVD (given away separately), Starbucks gift cards, Godiva Chocolates, free .pdf copies of my books The Arrangement and Strictly Business, and more!

Keep checking this space for further news. ;)

11 comments:

Savannah Chase said...

I know you from being at the same publishing company.....

I agree promo is not ever easy..it takes a ton of time and you have to be creative to stand out amongst all the other authors....

lastnerve said...

I am the person who gets tongue tied about everything so I know how you feel. I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving!

Val

Emily said...

Um.... maybe I should have read this before I bought a copy!

I discovered you through being the reviewer who grabbed your book over at Rainbow Reviews. And boy am I glad I did!

Medie said...

I know it has to be discouraging when people are that skeevetastic about it. (Free books are awesome, but buying them are equally so. I love that feeling of waiting for a new book to arrive, knowing it's coming in the mail - I do most of my book shopping from Amazon - and getting that little 'you have a parcel' card? That's an experience that's just...*GOD* I don't want to lose it. I think that's why I haven't gone in for e-books as much as I should. but I said all that to say this, people SHOULD be buying your books more and I think they will. You're way too talented to go unnoticed. Just ain't happening and I promise not to brag (too much) when you hit it big.

Forgot to say, I'm usually only interested in free copies if they are, as you said in this case, signed. *G*

Stephanie Denise said...

I have a copy of The Arrangement but I've been so lazy about mailing it so you can SIGN it.

Of course, I first read your sci-fi work in magazines. Later, I learned about your novel through the Livejournal community! ;)

Cat Grant said...

Emily, you're too funny. Don't worry - you'll get a free copy of the next one that goes to print. ;)

Cat Grant said...

Hey, Medie. Thanks for stopping by!

I'm like you, in that I still love print books as well. We had to buy a new bookshelf for the bedroom last summer, and it's already full! It would be a lot easier for me to stop reading entirely than to give up paper books.

That said, I don't think there's anything intrinsically inferior about books in electronic format. I've always thought it strange that most people don't think less of an album they've downloaded off iTunes, yet they persist in their belief that e-books aren't "real" books.

NL Gassert said...

I've been lurking over at the GRW list and heard of this great chance to win some great writing. M/m/f is just what I need for the holidays :-)

TamiC said...

I first heard of you through Rainbow Reviews Scavenger hunt a few months back and we also belong to some of the same yahoo groups. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


TamiCullen@Hotmail.Com
OneToughCookieTC@Yahoo.Com

Snakeling said...

I came here by way of a friend we have in common, not sure I should name her in public.

I don't know about seeing a name six time, because I can tell you that you definitely caught my attention with that m/m/f comment. Having now read the teaser at the publisher's site, it's on my Christmas list :)

Speaking of which, if this blog is to promote your books, you might want to add links to the books somewhere in the sidebar

Cat Grant said...

Thanks for the tip, Snakeling. The sidebar's been updated. ;)