Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: Engaging an Audience

Still More Conversation about Book Promotion . . .


This discussion began on November 7th and continued on Nov. 9th… Book Promotion

We’ve talked a bit about the book Be the Gateway and dealt with having no idea how to promote a book and Book Fairs and Book Talks; and, here we are with the following comment (which is letting us continue the conversation) from an accomplished author from Australia:

“I think that true promotion requires reaching out to other people – it’s not bashing them over the head. As Dan says: ‘…It means we have to engage with other human beings…’

“I think ‘engage’ is an important word here.

“My first publisher, who was mainstream, insisted that folks needed to hear about (be bashed over the head about) a book eleven times before they remembered it properly and they would then buy it. Apparently this method meant that the publisher thought it would be a good idea if I spoke on the ‘Overnight Racing Channel’. You can imagine the scene:

“‘…and here’s Roadrunner going down the strait; a length away from Black Caviar; and, here’s Jane Watson, who has just written a novel. Thanks for coming in, Jane’.

“You need to engage with other like-minded people who may want to read your book.

“A book is not a bar of soap… or, a racehorse…”

I must restate that last Truth:

“A book is not a bar of soap… or, a racehorse…”

Though, there are those authors who treat books as mere commodities; and, sad to say, there are mere commodities that try to pretend they’re real, honest “books”…

I know our Australian author; and, just to make the publisher’s lack of professionalism clear, her book has absolutely nothing to do with horse racing…

BTW, the publisher was Picador / Pan Macmillan Australia…

Now, I’m compelled to share the Etymology of “Engage”, since our author emphasised it

“early 15c., ‘to pledge’ (something, as security for payment), from Old French engagier ‘bind (by promise or oath), pledge; pawn’ (12c.), from phrase en gage ‘under pledge’, from en ‘in’ (see en- (1)) + gage ‘pledge’, through Frankish from Proto-Germanic *wadiare ‘pledge’ (see wed). It shows the common evolution of Germanic -w- to central French -g- (see gu-).

“Meaning ‘attract and occupy the attention of’ is from 1640s; that of ’employ, secure for aid, employment or use’ is from 1640s, from notion of ‘binding as by a pledge’; meaning ‘enter into combat or contest with’ is from 1640s. Specific sense of ‘promise to marry’ is 1610s (implied in engaged). Machinery sense is from 1884. Also from the French word are German engagiren, Dutch engageren, Danish engagere.”

I must admit, there are a few historical meanings of engage that don’t fit our author’s use of the word: “bind” [though, “promise” or “oath” could apply…], “pawn”, “employ”, “combat or contest” [though, too many folks feel they do apply to book promotion]; yet, “promise to marry” does have a bit of pertinence here, if taken metaphorically…

I believe an author’s choice of the “inappropriate” meanings of engage comes from their feeling that other folks need to be forced into making a decision to buy a book; and, if not clearly forced, then heavily coerced…

Yes, the number of books being published is large and constantly growing; but, most of them won’t sell well; so, why try to engage with an attitude of force—it is still true that honey attracts better than vinegar…

So

My interpretation of Engaging people to consider your book is quite similar to traditional engagement vows—it’s a two-way deal—the author is making a vow that their presentation of the book is true and fair; and, the reader is vowing to give the book a fair chance…

Or, you can beat them over the head until a few succumb and buy the book and never finish reading it because they have a hangover from your selling them a commodity…

And, what about your second and further books—don’t you want a truly enthusiastic reader?

Naturally, you must tell them the truth when your promoting—nothing worse than comparing a book to famous authors’ works when it’s far from them; but then, it’s so easy in our culture to absorb the ploys and gimmicks of advertisers…

So

What have you done in the way of Book Promotion…?

What do you already know for sure about Book Promotion…?

Who could you recommend who knows how to promote books…?

Why do books need careful and devoted promotion…?

Where should books be promoted…?

Does it takes a lot of money to promote books…?

Does an author have to hire others to successfully promote a book…?

Care to share some of your experience with Book Promotion…?

Want to be the first to share a comment so this conversation can continue…? :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs
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OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message
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More Conversation about Book Promotion . . .


Book Promotion

Click for Info…

This discussion began on November 7th

The comment that let this conversation continue came from a writer, poet, and artist living in Belgium:

“Well, I have yet to finish a book, so I have no idea. But will be reading along!”

I couldn’t have had a better first comment if I’d paid someone to write it :-)

First, I’m glad this writer was able to admit they have no idea how to promote a book—eight years ago, I also had no idea; but, I was fully aware I’d be self-publishing so, while I was writing my novel, I used Uncle Google to guide me to no end of bad advice about promoting, though one invaluable tidbit seeped through—begin a year ahead of publishing

The most important thing I did—having no other clear and rational idea of what to do—was to begin this blog; though, I didn’t start it until four months before publication…

However, I had done something earlier…

I was a regular in a virtual world and I organized a reading of my “final” draft, one chapter a week, to audiences of two to five folks—it was my first chance to probe a very few readers’ minds in the after-reading ultra-short “discussions”…

Those sessions helped me get used to “working at” promotion—this blog has been a constant, seven-year adventure of learning how to create a Space that has drawn attention from around the globe—not riotous or feverish attention; but, a steady stream of people arriving here, mostly by putting a few words into Uncle Google’s search bar…

And, after more than six years of struggling with what to do about social media, I finally have a regular routine that I like doing—>Tweeting—>sharing articles about writing and a few tweets about my book and this blog, every day of the week…

I’m starting to see a bit of “stickiness” happening—folks hanging out here…

I did have a bit of Synchronicity this morning, just before doing this post, my being aware of needing to respond to our Belgian writer—I received an alert in my email of a new post from Dan Blank—You Have to Ask

My eight-year schooling in becoming a Gateway has led to a few simple conclusions that I feel Dan Blank could call good—the most important being that I learned to Ask folks to come here, read my posts and these discussions, and, perhaps, notice my writings in the left-side bar…

I’m grateful I didn’t cling to any of the other “cheap” advice I read—best summed-up by “egregiously yelling at folks to notice my writing”…

I’ll share just a bit from Dan’s post:

“If you want the world to discover your work, your talent, your vision, don’t wait for people to magically discover you. Reach out to them. Ask.

“But asking is super difficult, right? It means we have to engage with other human beings. It means they could say ‘no’. It means we could be rejected. Judged. Laughed at.”

He then shares the experience of three people who worked hard at Asking; and, eventually, learned how to evolve groups of enthusiasts…

As Dan says it:

“…they consistently reached out to like-minded people. They asked. They collaborated. They created meaningful connections that developed into trusting relationships.”

The second comment that will move this discussion forward comes from one of our regular visitors, an author from the United Kingdom:

“Now you’ve started something! Our most recent effort at book promotion was a book fair organised by a local writer. It was her second attempt and she had fifty authors, many of them self published with their works on display and, in spite of advertising online and in the press, had fewer members of the public. Our talks had audiences in single figures and many of the participants sold no books at all.

“Our next effort will be our Charity Gig on 23rd November with music and readings but we are beginning to believe folk no longer want to buy actual books. Personally I sell more at talks; but then, folk are as interested in the author as the stories, aren’t they?”

I must alert you to a past conversation we’ve had about “Reading Print Books or E-books“; yet, I can completely agree that many people are as interested in the author as in the stories…

I find it fascinating that an organized event with so many authors was such a flop; but, as I learned back in the sixties, the times they are a changin’

And, to avoid being remiss, I’ll share one stanza of the lyrics of that linked-to song:

“Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'”

Plus, our U.K. author seems to be Asking for enthusiasts by giving talks—offering something of value that might reap a return of interest in her work…

So

What have you done in the way of Book Promotion…?

What do you already know for sure about Book Promotion…?

Who could you recommend who knows how to promote books…?

Why do books need careful and devoted promotion…?

Where should books be promoted…?

Does it takes a lot of money to promote books…?

Does an author have to hire others to successfully promote a book…?

Care to share some of your experience with Book Promotion…?

Want to be the first to share a comment so this conversation can continue…? :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message

A Blog Conversation about Book Promotion . . .


Book Promotion Our last discussion here ended due to a lack of reader comment; though, it broke a local record—longest conversation since this blogging format began back in late February.

There were ten posts in that record-breaking conversation about “Rules of Writing

Plus, we’ve already had short discussions about Book Promotion which you can find here, here, and here

I’m attempting to get another conversation going about promotion because I’ve personally, and many others I’ve read have also, suffered greatly trying to do Book Promotion; and, even if you don’t self-publish, the big publishing houses are notorious for (unless you’re riotously famous) doing little and/or poor promotion and letting a book wilt in stores for a few months, then quietly die…

I would be a poor blogger if I didn’t mention a particular book called Be the Gateway by Dan Blank.

I share that book because, if you have no idea what book promotion entails, and you go looking on Uncle Google’s search engine, you could be led to hell and back by tons of writing “gurus” who think they know what promoting a book means…

Naturally, searching Google might lead to a few bits of good advice; but, in my seven years of attempting to develop a program of activities to promote my writings, Be the Gateway gets it all Right

Another reason I mention that book is because one of the most important guidelines I’ve discovered about book promotion is to begin at least a year before the book is published.

This may sound completely hare-brained; but, there is deep wisdom in that axiom…

Especially wise to start early with promotion if it isn’t some form of brazenly beating people over the head with blatant screams of BUY !

Especially wise if you want to engage folks in the process of creation so that, when it’s born, there’s a family to share the news…

Yet another reason I tout the virtues of Gateway is that it isn’t a list of Rules for promoting—it deals with the broad ideas that underpin a solid method of inviting people to share your dream; yet, you must take the ideas presented and craft them into Your program of invitation…

But, to be rock-bottom honest, I’d rather some of the readers of this discussion share comments about other methods of book promotion that may not have worked very well, since it seems humans learn best by either suffering from their mistakes or by reading about others who suffered…

And, it may be helpful to consider the Etymology of the word Promote:

“late 14c., ‘to advance (someone) to a higher grade or office’, from Old French promoter and directly from Latin promotus, past participle of promovere ‘move forward, advance; cause to advance, push onward; bring to light, reveal’, from pro ‘forward’ (see pro-) + movere ‘to move’ (from PIE root *meue- ‘to push away’). General sense of ‘to further the growth or progress of (anything)’ is from 1510s. Related: Promoted; promoting.”

So

What have you done in the way of Book Promotion…?

What do you already know for sure about Book Promotion…?

Who could you recommend who knows how to promote books…?

Why do books need careful and devoted promotion…?

Where should books be promoted…?

Does it takes a lot of money to promote books…?

Does an author have to hire others to successfully promote a book…?

Care to share some of your experience with Book Promotion…?

Want to be the first to share a comment so this conversation can continue…? :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message

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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If you don’t see a way to comment, try at the upper right of this post :-)
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message

#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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