By Theresa Meyers
I’d like to say thank you to my guest today Theresa Meyers for taking the time to chat with us murderous chicks.
Here’s a quick blurb on what she’s writing these days!
Why is it you never hear about vampires that are thousands of years old? I think I may have found out. Read Salvation of the Damned from Nocturne Bites www.nocturnebites.com.
And now Theresa’s blog!
Writers often debate among themselves, is self-promotion all it’s cracked up to be. I mean, is it really worth it? Do I have to?
Half the time I sit back and don’t say much about it. After all, I’m a writer too. But my day job gives me a great deal of insight. By day I promote books. I’m a book publicist, but my basic ground training in public relations came from working for multi-million dollar corporations pushing their consumer products to the general public. With that in mind, I’ve got some opinions on this issue.
First, do I think promotion works. Oh yeah.
Second, should the writing come first? It has too. No product = no reason to pitch product.
One thing I think writers over-look in their discussion on self-promotion is that promotion is not a one-book-one-promo thing. It’s cumulative. One impact (for instance someone seeing your bookmark or seeing you at a signing, or seeing a review of you in a magazine) doesn’t equal a sale. Research and communication studies have shown it’s closer to 15 impacts, but to be honest, I’d say these days with the information saturation going on it’s closer to 20 impacts before it clicks and a person has your name firmly grounded in their brain. Suddenly they seem to see you everywhere they look.
That’s when the word of mouth starts to roll. They see you everywhere, so then they tell their friends about it (that’s an additional impact). If one person gets told by ten other people about the same thing, they instantly start to wonder what they are missing out on. Especially if the people who told them are friends or people they trust (doctor, your hairdresser, etc. – people you trust to take care of personal things for you). This is one of the communications basics about promotion and why companies have a distinction between publicity and advertising. Studies have also shown that people trust information in an article or heard from a proven source ten times more than what they see in advertising. So the same information, coming from your friends has more impact – which equals a short cut to that firmly grounded state you’re aiming for.
This is part of the reason why publicists will tell you to promote not just the book, but your author brand. You are going for the cumulative impression. That’s why where you place your promotion dollars is so important. First you have to do something you are comfortable with. If you don’t like blogging or book signings or giving out bookmarks, then don’t! Second, yes the writing comes first. Again, no product = no reason to pitch your product. Most of the time I’ve advised writers if self-promotion starts taking up more than 30% of your productive writing time, that’s when you should get help. No one else can write the books. You can pay somebody else to make phone calls to radio stations, set up book signings and mail out stuff.
I’ve been writing a lot longer than I spent in my day job as a publicist for consumer products at the corporate level. Does promotion work? Honestly, if it didn’t do you really thing that every major corporation in America would be paying somebody on their staff to do nothing but that for their consumer products? I had to write out reports every month showing how the inches of column space or minutes of air time we got the company equated to what they would have had to pay in direct advertising costs for the same space/time. And our $25,000 budget for a product equaled about $3 million dollars. Yeah, I know, none of us are going to throw $25,000 at a book promo budget on our own dime. It’s just an example of how promotion dollars, strategically used, with every expense thought out in terms of impact, can make a bigger splash than you think.
Having done book publicity for most of this decade, I’d say that the dollars invested yielded some good results, and most of the authors I’ve worked with would agree it was worthwhile. We were focusing on stuff that the publisher wasn’t doing in house for the author. Efforts were dovetailed with in-house promotion so a broader spectrum was reached.
Should every author do self-promotion on every book? No. It depends on a lot of factors. How much time are you taking away from producing the product? How fast a writer are you? Does promotion make it more difficult for you to produce the product? (some people take weeks to recover from an event) How strong is your publisher in their efforts to promote your book via different channels (distributors, booksellers, readers, reviewers, media, general public)? Is there anywhere you see a gap? How big is that gap? Are there times I’ve told an author they shouldn’t promo a book? Yes. And I always give them a good, solid reason why.
That’s my .02 cents for what it’s worth…got to get back to writing now, because my first fiction book just came out in March from Nocturne and I’d like there to be another book, and another, and another. Just remember without writing, you won’t have a career as a writer.
President, Blue Moon Communications
Thank you, Theresa!
If anyone has any questions, ask away!!!