Over the last few months, I’ve spent countless hours listening to CD’s, reading books on book promotion and social networking, and I’m starting to feel like a bride who might cancel her wedding–just kidding!
In Belize, my days were filled with cooking everything from scratch, including bread, shopping for food, or perhaps–going out on a scavenger hunt for food is more like it— and boiling pots of stinky well water to (pretend) wash our clothes, which never failed to reek of sweat. Yet time went by just as quickly in Belize. I felt like I’d stepped back fifty years and my previous hectic life of the 21st century, was in the past. No one was in a hurry, not even the expats.
Now I’ve relocated to the land of continuous PR, where promoting is like breathing: you can never take a rest from it, or you might die.
Recently, at my friend’s book launch, all unpublished writers were hungry to learn the steps. “Should I be twittering? What is it really for? Should I be on Facebook? Should I be blogging?”
I listened to a literary PR agent talk about the need to start promoting your book, at least one year before publication. What’s all that about? If I still lived in Belize and wanted to promote my book, I’d have another rum and coke, listen to some Bob Marley, and say, “No worries Mon.”
So what I’m asking all you writers today (Yes, bloggers are writers since they publish online) Do you feel pressure to be a PR specialist? And to those of you aspiring authors, if you knew how time consuming book promotion would be, would you still write?
I know the arguments that we write because of a strong desire within us, and that not writing would make us sick. But being an author is so much more than writing. You become a business, at least that’s what all the conference CD’s, I’ve listened to recently, tell me. You promote yourself 24/7, you’re constantly selling, even on vacation.
Do you want to be doing PR 24/7?
I think it’s time for another rum and coke, under my palapa. Belize, here I come.
Please comment or I’ll feel like my PR and social networking have failed me and I’ll run and hide in my fishing boat in Belize. Oh my! That sounds tempting right now.
Rum and coke sounds good to me!
Miss Footloose says
An mon, did you hit a nerve with that post, Sonia! I love writing and I hate all the business parts of it, especially the promoting, and since I started writing and selling books ages ago, it has become worse by the month, with each new e-gadget that hits the market. It used to be that publishers did the marketing and promoting. Now, you, the writer, have to tell them (agent, editor) in your book PROPOSAL what your marketing strategy is — this is before they’ve even read a single word of your book. And writers make each other crazy with all the promotional tools they all are adopting and want you to share and join and check out. It takes more time to promote than it does to write a book. And now I need a rum punch and some raggae music too!
I have made a deliberate choice not to look at this as promoting, but to look at it as “staying in touch”. With friends all over the world, I have just decided that this is a fun way to keep working at my writing skills and to stay connected. I have given myself permission to stop when ever I want to, but as long as I have material, I will keep writing.
Sure, I would love to write a book someday, but I don’t even have a topic yet. Meanwhile, blogging keeps me out there on the horizon and I gradually pick up new readers.
For me social media is fun, it gives life more depth and it certainly gives me something to do while I am ill!
Elizabeth Bradley says
I am going through this as I have a book that is coming out. Just remember, most of the hype is coming form those that would earn a buck (or many bucks) from you (the writer) for promoting. Otherwise there is a need for promoting, no doubt. In this day and age we can do quite a bit of self-promotion right from our computer! Yay.
Lady Glamis says
Well, that certainly is overwhelming to hear. I know that getting published will be just like starting a full time job. And I’m really not read for that at all. I’m just enjoying the way things are at the moment!
This post completely encapsulates my living nightmare. Lol, okay, it’s not that bad. But I don’t want to be doing P/R, marketing, networking, all the stuff 24/7, though it feels like I do. I work on that more than I write most days. Ugh…I will still write, though. Even if I have to skimp on some marketing or ask other people to help me promote (because I really dislike it that much) I will still write. But wouldn’t it be nice to go back to that “no worries” stage?
Warren Baldwin says
I’m sure you’ve explained this before, but I’ve only been following you for a short time: what is an expat?
On promoting our own work … I definitely think we need to, even must. I haven’t produced any work for sale yet, so I don’t do sales promotion. But, I do wonder how much promoting I can/should do among friends/peers/family. I don’t want it to become annoying to them. Any suggestions? WB
Jungle Mom says
I just write to share my stories. I do not know the ropes and the more I learn the less I know…but hey, I am in Paraguay so I’ll worry about that tomorrow!
Can I join you in Belize?
I write professionally for a living and work for editors, writers, publishing houses… I think you guys over there in the US are under much more pressure as here in Europe, we don’t start doing publicity a year in advance. The would-be readers would just lose interest. However, we do start doing some advertising, writing about up and coming books a few months in advance – even six months – but not so much more than that…
Cairo Typ0 says
The rum adn coke PR program sounds like a winner to me! 🙂
Promoting our blogs is certainly something many us do without thinking. Back commenting, joining networks, and even sharing the addresses with people we know.
When it comes to promotion in the publishing world, i think some of hte current trends are rather odd. Promotional videos and trailers? But what do i know, since they seem to work for so many people!
A Fitness Minute with Pat Anderson says
“A man who wants something will find a way: a man who doesn’t will find an excuse.” Every time I start feeling like things are becoming a little overwhelming, or I just don’t like doing something, I remember this quote by Stephan Dolley Jr.
Jungle Mom says
OT, I posted a photo of the 24 ant you commented on.
Susan Matthewson says
I think you have to keep in mind that you are doing what you love to do and focus on that. Constant self-promotion is exhausting and, sometimes, even makes you feel demeaned. I think the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the event or activity regardless of whether it represents a promotion opportunity. I only participate in events that I feel add something to my inner resources as a writer in that I learn something new or am stimulated to think about an idea in a new way and where I enjoy the people that are attracted to those events and activities. I’ll take a margarita rather than a rum and coke–let’s meet on the beach and suck up some liquid inspiration.
Rum and coke in the shade on the beach sounds good. (I sunburn really easily, so I’m careful.) It’s called “market research.”
I’m not so sure about all this promotion stuff. I’ve been published a lot over three decades; in many cases, it’s people who have come to me asking me to write things for them; the reverse of your problem.
I guess my question would be, “Why the need to do a book”? Be like Rosaria — serialize your stories on the web. You’re already rich and famous — just think of all your followers of your blog.
Hi, thanks for visiting me. I too have written a memoir. The next step, the obtaining an agent, and doing publicity are steps in the process. If you are not your own p.r. then who? Networking is important in any job. The idea of a recluse writer, slogging over a long novel sounds romantic, but it is unrealistic. What we are doing, this writing back and forth is probably the best p.r. of all. We are meeting in neutral territory; we are both interested in being known quantities; and we might run into people who see us as potential money makers for their firm. Bingo!
Now, some clever girl out there might harvest all this chatter and actually do double duty.
Are you still living in Belize?
Stacy Nyikos says
Yeah, the promotion thing can get to be a little old at times, but it really is part and parcel of writing. I read John Kremer’s 1001 Way to Market Your Book and even he says you should do one thing a day for your book. Ideally, I suppose, promo should become as regular as writing. Who knew.
Greg C says
Make my rum and coke a double please. I think not only in writing but in everything you do these days you have to promote yourself and what you do. I like to tie everything I do together and give myself referals from one business to another.
I write about plants and then show the photos I take of my plants. I mention what I do everywhere and before I know it, someone either says they like what I wrote or they like my plants.
If you aren’t proud enough of your work to promote it then why should anyone else?
I just blog because I like it, enjoy getting to know such a great variety of people, and have fun. What you are discussing sounds like work. I am opposed to work:)
We must have been twins in the last life, lol, for I echo so much of what you feel about promoting. Thanks for being honest. And I love the beach, too. A great place to write and enjoy life and promote.
Sonia, I have a blog award waiting for you when you get a chance to visit.
On further thought, I think I’m with Debbie. Sounds too much like work. But if you’re heart’s in it, I’ll not say “nay.” I’ll even help if I can (as long as it isn’t too much work).
Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been published so often that it really doesn’t matter any more.
Having a small mind, like that of Winnie the Pooh, I find that big questions and egregious existential conundra (that the plural of “conundrum”) are hard on my Bear brain.
I think I need to go lie down now.
Bear hugs from the north.
K. B. Keilbach says
Ha, I’m reading this at 11pm because this is the only time I have to blog hop and visit all my friends. I’ve been up since 6am, promoting my book; so I guess I’m pretty much at 24/7 here. All I know is a Rum and Coke sounds pretty darn good! Great post, Sonia.
Hi Sonia! It’s like you wrote this post just for me! I’ve finished my first novel and am working on my second while submitting and submitting and ….well you get the picture.
I’ve set myself a year deadline at which time I’ll self-publish and market the heck out of myself. Just last night, my husband and I were working on a marketing plan to begin putting into action…
It’s alot to wrap your mind around – especially after being cooped up in your own mind for so long writing, but I actually feel a bit liberated talking about it and taking a break from the emotional drain of writing. Have to admit though, it’s hard to write the second while messing on facebook etc.
Just found your blog today…love it. Will be back often!