How do you get yourself and your books noticed by the public? We hear that many publishers aren’t doing much PR anymore. How do you stand out from the crowd?
A great question that I've actually been trying to avoid ...
In the years before the story in my mind became an object on a bookshelf, there was nothing but the writing. The writing was all there was. Now that it has made it there, a hard copy in stores, in boxes, in the hands of readers, I have a new role I didn't see coming: that of salesperson, extrovert, bugle-blaster.
There's no question we need to market our work. The volume of new books sparkling up out of the great bonfire of time is staggering. Every online magazine I subscribe to flashes the covers of new bestsellers at me every day -- gorgeous covers -- and the blurbs all sound fantastic, exciting, fresh, daring. So better make some noise myself, right?
But what if you're not a natural-born bugler?
I spent last year sitting on panels, (well, four) talking on the radio (well, twice) meeting people (lots). The launch of Cold Girl was a success, but for me, quite an ordeal. Now I am facing another year of all this, and don't know if I can do it. Each appearance drains me. Even that virtual appearance called Facebook takes something out of me -- a wonderful networking forum and venting ground, but along with the good conversation sometimes comes a caustic cloud. If you let it, the internet will suck you in, then sap you of energy and optimism, and leave you (at least me) with a sorry case of writer's block.
All this makes me wonder: If I do nothing, my books will surely spark off into the night and disappear. So I have to do something. How do I deal with it?
I've finally figured out in life that to do something successfully, I have to love doing it. So what do I love?
I love photography. A friend suggested using my Instagram feed to post on Facebook. Good idea. I just need some technical help so those pix post where I want them to post, which is onto my badly neglected author page.
In my own way I love Facebook and Twitter. I need to set aside an hour after I'm done writing to join in the conversation.
I especially love meeting other writers/readers -- in person and in smaller groups. Not so easy in a pint-sized city, but doable. Maybe I'll start up a local crime writers group!
I quite love my website (recently given a smashing new look), but need to update. Also plan to post excerpts. People love excerpts. I love excerpts. My son, who put the site together for me, will help keep it current -- I just have to ask.
Also I have come to love writing for this blog. I feel quite at home, thanks to my fellow Criminal Minds, who aren't criminal at all -- they're really quite nice! So how about expanding my horizons and getting involved further afield? Reading/writing blogs seems to be a great way to learn from others, as well as to project my own voice into the mix.
As for panels and crowds, I will keep working at it, and hopefully will come to love those too someday.
Oh, and I will not steal Susan's trick of mentioning "nakedness" to get attention. I just won't.