Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: book promotion

A Blog Conversation about Book Promotion . . .


Book Promotion Our last conversation here—about Genre—ended for lack of reader comments; but, it had a decent run, on May, 14th, May 16th, and May 21st

I’ll get our next conversation going with this quote:

“As writers and artists, we feel the drive to do meaningful work, but we get overwhelmed by the process of connecting with an audience. We follow best practices in marketing that never seem to pan out, don’t produce results, and make us feel lost and frustrated. But creating doesn’t have to feel this way.”

That’s from the book Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience, by Dan Blank.

Dan’s blog has this to say:

“Too often, writers and artists rush into marketing without first finding clarity on what they want to create and who they hope to reach. The result? They flounder, jumping from one marketing trend to the next, each one with results that leave them feeling disappointed.”

In my forays into book promotion, I’ve met many folks who had plenty of decent tips and tricks to snag a few folks’ attention; but, until I read Dan’s book, I hadn’t come across someone with a complete philosophy of how to engage others…

Over the seven years since I published my novel, from a sentence there and a treasured paragraph over there, I pieced together the plan I now pursue to promote my writing…

When I read Dan’s book, I met a kindred soul, since he was laying out everything I’d labored to learn over all those years…

Things like:

  • Never stop looking for the kind of people who’re able to like what you create

  • Find out how folks want you to talk to them

  • Make your reaching out a display of how your work can help others

It is completely true that each person and each person’s creative work demands a unique method and practice of promotion; yet, the most effective basic principles that lead to all those tailor-made plans are actually few—they revolve around concepts of human communication and, there are other people who know and have written about them, besides Mr. Blank—he only seems to me to paint the most detailed picture…

So, to provide an aid to exploring the sources of creative promotion, I’ll share the word history of “Communication”:

early 15c., “act of communicating, act of imparting, discussing, debating, conferring,” from Old French comunicacion (14c., Modern French communication) and directly from Latin communicationem (nominative communicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of communicare “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” literally “to make common,” related to communis “common, public, general” (see common (adj.)). Meaning “that which is communicated” is from late 15c.; meaning “means of communication” is from 1715.

I feel it’s somewhat obvious that a good method of book promotion would be capable of being adapted to the promotion of any work of art; but, I bet there are some folks who would disagree…

Anything in this post you agree with?

Anything you disagree with?

Something about promotion that’s important that I haven’t mentioned?

Care to share a comment?
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Starting up a New Conversation . . .


So, last Wednesday, the progressing conversation on this blog fizzled… Book Promotion

Since the idea of using Mondays and Wednesdays for conversations with my readers is a very recent shift in focus here, I don’t expect it to be instantly self-sustaining—it may never be self-sustaining; but, I’m fairly good at having conversations with myself :-)

Way back in January of 2011, I began this blog in anticipation of launching my first novel, which happened in May of that year.

The book started out costing money—I tried most of the methods of book promotion I found that made any sense to me—I eventually decided to make it perma-free…

I should mention, for those who haven’t been regulars here, that I’m a strong supporter of self-publishing…

It was only recently that I found an approach to book promotion that I felt captured everything I could get behind—7 years after I wished I’d found it… (but, I’ll still be offering my writing for free…)

Changing one of the aims of this blog, from reporting on what other blogs had to say to having conversations with my readers, was firmly decided after I discovered that book promotion approach—Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience.

So, my attempt to re-ignite the Conversation here is to bring up and shoot down a few ideas about book promotion:

Spend Money

Do you buy your friends? Is the only way to make friends to buy ads and hope a future friend reads it? Even if you don’t think of future readers as friends, should you buy your readers? If you’re not like me, you may actually want your readers to buy your book…

Spread the Word on Social Media

I fought against social media early on, experimented a bit along the way, and now use two channels to share others’ posts and one to share my own ideas. I first saw authors using social media as a bunch of drunk folks standing on the bar’s tables shouting at each other… Now, I know they’re still out there; but, I’ve found there are a growing group of writers who share interesting ideas that lead folks to their blogs where they share more interesting ideas and where they have information on their books… There are some who do the right thing on social media; but, then, when you get to their blog, they’re up on their own table shouting at you about their books…

Put a Bunch of Books in Your Car and Travel to Hell and Back Bothering Folks at Bookstores

This actually still happens… A variation is sending a copy of the book to a bunch of book stores then calling them all up and letting them know how lucky they are ’cause they will soon have a copy of your book…

Make Friends, through Social Media and/or a Blog, Then Share Your Ideas with Them, the Things That Make You Write, Your Truths; And, Let Them Spread the Word about You…

Not gonna shoot that one down…

Do you have some book promotion ideas or methods that I haven’t mentioned?

Do you totally hate the necessity of book promotion?

Are you afraid of it?

Does it seem like Promotion is Anti-Creative?

Want to help me with this Conversation? Care to Comment?
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#BookPromotion ? ~ Here’s THE Book :-)


Be the Gateway ~ Creative Promotion Forgoing a re-blog today—finding my return from the psychological sabbatical is giving me much more I want to write about…

So, there’s a book I’m working my way through right now—“working through” as in doing what’s recommended…

Yes, it’s about “book promotion” (if you use that term in the widest, most creative way possible); and, yes, my novel is 7 years old now; but, I feel it could use a different approach in how I let folks know about it…

So, I’ll introduce the book I’m working my way through by sharing a few excerpts:

Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work
and Engaging an Audience

Kindle ~~~ or ~~~ Free World-Wide Delivery

“Instead of framing the value of your work by how it performs in the market, you define it by how other people experience the world through your creative work—the stories and experiences you share, and the topics you talk about. This simple idea radically shifts the value of what you create. Instead of selling a product in a marketplace, you become the gateway for how your work can shape the world for others, and inspire them.”

“Bestseller lists can be gamed; too often creative work is purchased, but never noticed (books are purchased and not read, art is purchased, but never hung, etc.). Your work can win an award, and fail to find an audience. You can get an incredible review and have it lead to zero new fans. You can be on national TV and have it lead to only a handful of new sales. Being a gateway is about ensuring your work truly connects with others in the most meaningful way possible, instead of being treated as nothing more than a product swiped across the bar code scanner at the food store.”

“Reframe success so it isn’t about seeking validation from massive audiences, but rather how you reach one person. The people I see who succeed focus on one-on-one engagement with other people, not on going viral. To be a gateway is to find success by focusing on the human side of that which engages people, what it means to have your work truly shape the lives of others, and what it means to feel fulfilled as a creator.”

“Be the gateway…is about understanding the connection between what you create, why you create it, and how it will engage others. This is the ‘secret’ to engaging others, which is not really a secret at all. It is as old as human culture and how we are wired.”

“If you’re serious about building an audience for your creative work, skip the ‘best practices.’”

I’ve certainly read a ton of books and articles about “book promotion” in my years of writing this blog—none of that stuff can cut it now…

Sure, some of the practical ideas in Be the Gateway are part of others’ schemes; but, if you water the Gateway down, you effectively close it off………
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Getting the Media to Pay Attention to You…


Getting Media Attention I’ve done a lot of writing here about what can be called book promotion or author platform or social media engagement or a few other things you can find categorized  in the Subject Index Links (in the the left side-bar…).

I’ll share just a bit from my past post of June of 2016:

“There are many things an author can do to increase the likelihood that their book will sell.

“None of those actions will guarantee sales…

“Some writers think landing a traditional publishing deal will assure book sales.

“Not so…”

Plus, this:

“I’ve certainly gone out of my way…to figure out what might be called ‘Rational-Book-Promotion’…

“If I’d done every technique that’s been touted to give me millions of paying customers, I’d be dead from overwork—and I may not have any more sales than I do now…”

And, this is a perfect place to link to what’s now the second most important post on this blog—What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

So…

How would you like some info from an article by a man named Chris Well—author, magazine editor, newspaper contributor, reporter, columnist, broadcaster, podcaster, web content manager, and digital content producer?

The article is on BookWorks and is entitled, Media Attention: 9 Ways Any Author Can Get It.

Excerpts:

“In today’s publishing landscape, it’s tougher than ever for authors to be discovered. There are so many books competing for those potential readers. That’s why free media attention can boost your visibility.”

And, lest you think you automatically have to have a publicist:

“Too many authors assume they have no chance of getting attention from media outlets. Speaking as a 30+ year media professional, I can tell you from experience that whether an author represents herself or himself is not a problem. An author with the right mindset can pitch to the media and be taken seriously.”

There’s a lot more Mr. Well says that striving authors could profit from; and, I’ll encourage you to go to the full article by listing Chris’ main bullet points:

Media Attention Is FREE

Media Attention Is Easier Than You Think

You Can Do This Yourself

Interviews Can Be Done By Phone Or Online

You Don’t Have To Be Famous

Every Type Of Author Has A Shot

You Don’t Need A Brand New Book

You Don’t Need A Book At All

The Media Is Always Hungry

What Are You Waiting For?

Are those section titles enough to get you over to the full article?

Are they enough to have you share this post with an author you know?

Were they enough to prompt you to call your local media and wing it? :-)
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O.K., If You *Really* Have to, Go Ahead; Write a Book and Publish It . . .


Six years ago, when I’d finished my novel and went through what I’d resolved as the best way to publish (for me…), I was pretty freely telling everyone to write and publish—immediately, if not sooner…

Those six years have seen me do a massive amount of research into the reading, writing, and publishing Scenes—all so I could write this blog…

Before I share four articles that should make most writers think in some new ways, I’ll share just a bit of what I said back in May of 2013 from what I consider the Most Important Post on This Blog:

“An extremely small percentage of writers sell more than 500 copies of a book…”

“Yet, writers can find tons of posts and articles and web sites that are based on the mistaken conception that Any book can sell like hotcakes if the author will do X, Y, Z, and, if possible, D, U, and P…”

And, a quote from someone I quoted in that post, bearing on why I call it the most important post here:

“…in business school there’s this point made that if you interview rich people who have won the lottery, you might come to believe that playing the lottery is the only way to become rich. I thought that was interesting. One of the things I’m constantly trying to point out is that we’re not doing nearly enough to highlight both median and failure modes, because that’s where the real lessons lie. As for myself, I find message boards where new writers struggle to sell more than a few copies interesting, and where I harvest data about the low end.”

There’s much more of critical interest to all writers in that post; but, while I hope you’ll go there now and read it and take notes, I’ll finishing writing this post so you have more to consider when you return :-)

So, from the running-around-shouting attitude I had about the book world six years ago , I’m a bit more mature; mostly from having so many assumptions shattered on the rocks of the Truth about writing and publishing and promoting books…

I suppose I could say these next four articles are what I wish I’d read six years and one month ago :-)

First, I’ll share an article called, The Art of Receiving Criticism.

After relating her Before and After experiences of criticism (and, how she now Carefully selects who should give their opinions on her work), the author says:

“Oscar Wilde once commented that to critique a work of art means creating a new work of one’s own. Critique, in itself, is a form of artwork. We wouldn’t demean another person’s writing like we do their critique of our own work. Why should we receive it with any less openness than we would a Van Gogh painting?”

The next article I’ll share is called, Warning: Discoverability Dependency is Hazardous to Your Fiction Marketing.

Discoverability is the buzz-word for doing things to help folks find your book; and, some “experts” will hit you over the head with the idea—I can only suppose they want to scare you so you’ll believe it’s the Only thing you need to do…

A core idea from the article:

“…don’t use discoverability as an excuse to avoid human interaction or to be passive in your marketing. Seek out the right people, don’t just wait.”

The next article could cause quite a bit of resistance from some writers…

It’s called, The Myth Of Reviews, and details some compelling ideas about reviews Not being a magic pill for sales.

Here are two excerpts:

Here’s the thing: If you want more reviews, sell more books. Only people who read the book will review it. If you’re seeing more reviews, it means more people are buying your book.”

“My opinion is that reviews only matter in the edge cases – those situations where the potential reader is either on the fence or is looking for confirmation for the decision they’ve already made. If you haven’t hooked them with both the cover and blurb, the reviews aren’t likely to convince somebody to overlook that pair of sins and take a sample.”

The next recommended article is from a site called, Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity.

No excerpts for, Mega-List of Free Promotional Sites for Self-Published Books, since that title says it all…

And, if you want to give yourself some Bonus Credit, check out this post about what Jane Friedman has to say about Publishing (plus a few other important things…)…
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