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May 16 2012

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PROMOTION – WHO NEEDS IT?

I had a lot of ideas chasing one another round inside my head last night and I couldn’t get over to sleep. I’m sure every writer knows the feeling! Thankfully, it doesn’t happen all that often these days or I’d be even more of a physical and mental wreck than I already am.

Finally, I got an idea for this great new short story, and it wouldn’t let me go. The whole plot and storyline were so close I could practically taste them. Grrrrr! It was no use. She who must be obeyed was slumbering blissfully on beside me, out to the world and my tossing and turning was bound to wake her. I eased out of bed, threw on a dressing-gown, shrugged into my slippers and shuffled into the den. The sun was streaming in the window – it was going to be a wonderful day. I glanced at the tiny clock in the bottom right corner of my laptop – it winked back at me cheekily – 4:55am!

Who says we would-be writers don’t suffer for her art – if art it be? I didn’t get up this early when I was holding down a regular day job for goodness sake! Still, I was up and I might as well start work. I scanned my e-mail; nothing there that couldn’t keep. In twenty minutes I had the skeleton of my short story, with a juicy first and final paragraph, in the bank. It felt great – and I hadn’t even had a cup of coffee yet.

I fired off a couple of e-mails, thinking that any of my friends who noticed the time of sending would be mightily impressed (more likely they’d conclude that I’d finally cracked up and gone senile). One incoming e-mail in particular caught my eye. It was from Kali Willows, a new friend on Goodreads, and the headline ran:  “To write, or promo? That is the question!”

Yes indeed, I mused, that was undoubtedly a good question – one which has been exercising my mind, and those of some writer friends, in recent weeks. I’m sure Kali won’t mind if I give you just a flavour of what she had to say.

“For a multi-published author,” she began, “I had envisioned being more publically visible after releasing my 6th book. I knew authors had to be known, and get their names and books out there, but until I delved into the world of publishing, with the aspiration of becoming a full time author, it never occurred to me that self-promotion is even more time consuming than the actual writing itself!”

Well done Kali. I couldn’t have expressed it better myself – and I couldn’t agree more. I have discussed this subject many times with my writing buddy Joe and my media coach Tasha.

Joe and I have a lot in common. We both come from a background in journalism; we both reported for and later edited weekly newspapers. We are both awaiting publication of our first novels later this year. We meet up occasionally, chat on the phone several times a week and proofread each other’s output. We’ve both been signed up by Tri-Destiny Publishing. We help one another in countless ways.

In an ideal world we simply want to write, research and churn out a succession of books one after the other. I remember reading how old-time writers like Somerset Maugham and Ian Fleming would dash off a thousand words every morning then spend the rest of the day socialising or otherwise enjoying themselves.

Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? If only it were that simple. Tasha knows different and she has impressed on us the necessity of social networking, blogging, Twittering and Facebooking. She stresses the need of getting to know you – the reader – learning your likes and dislikes, finding out what you read – and why. You, the readers are the really important folk when it comes to publishing. If you don’t like a book you won’t buy it – or if you do, and it doesn’t fulfil your expectations, you are unlikely to read that author again.

That’s why we write blogs like this one, why you’ll find us on Facebook and Twitter. It helps you to get to know us – the authors behind the books. Social networking, that modern phrase, is about that, helping you to get to know us. Much more important, however, it enables us to connect with you, the readers out there, and write the sort of books you want to read.

 

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7 comments

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  1. Jessica Warth

    Outstanding blog Brad! Way to reach out to your readers and start a conversation about what they like and what they want to read. I’m really impressed.

    And yes, 5am is a brutish hour, but I’ve seen more than my share of those cheery little numbers be it writing or editing or various other publishing items! Good for you that you got up and let your muse have her say. I often find my best work is when I go with my muse (he knows best at times) and my worst work is when I have to force through something with my muse standing by tapping his toe and being rather indignant and unhelpful.

    I am really interested to see what your readers have to say. Truly a perfectly written blog post.

  2. Jessica Warth

    Wouldn’t dream of it. I can’t promise you that your muse won’t decide she works best at that hour… they are fickle and finicky things. Who’s to say the fae don’t know best, though, no?

    Keep up blogs like this! This is what I like to see.

  3. Kali Willows

    Brad! I am just tickled pink that a post I wrote could evoke such consideration! Thank you for that. Your point is so well taken, and getting to know the readers is such a pivatal point for authors, new and seasoned (I’m not fond of the word old, lol)

    I find for myself, acquiring the balance between self promotion and staying attuned to my muse can often become illusive. My social networking presence has definately grown, but sadly, my productivity level has not. I’m working on building up my concentration again, but honestly, the only way is to turn on the IM, FB, Twitter, Email, Gmail, and all the other venues and pretend I don’t have online access in order to remain focused, lol

    Good luck to you (& Tasha) lol, please keep me updated in your new release! First book, so exciting!

    Happy Reading & Writing,
    Kali Willows

    1. turner_tasha

      Finding that balance and how to turn off the networking in order to write is one of the things I work with my clients on doing. You do have to turn everything off or you will keep getting sucked back in. I suggest to them that they schedule specific “networking time” and even to use timers and stop when the timer goes off unless there is a really compelling reason to stay on… However I think the balance is hard when first starting out and setting everything up.

      1. turner_tasha

        Maybe you misunderstood my comment as it talks about needing to find balance and tools to use to help with balancing social networking so you can have a life and do the other things you want to do?

  4. Kali Willows

    Best of luck to you Brad, and thanks once again for the mention, @Tasha, great suggestion, and yes, I will have to be more scheduled in my duties, with the best of intentions I try, working full time, married and raising two children, the evenings are all mine, to which I need to better divide my author duties.

    I enjoyed your blog Brad, take care
    Kali

    1. turner_tasha

      I honestly believe that authors after the 1st 6-12 months should not need to spend more than an hour a day social networking if they are doing it smart. My estimates do depend on doing a good job with one’s blogging and FB/Tweeting so that you have a following that is doing the work of promoting you for you.

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