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My Take On Promotion – The Basics

February 13, 2012

Promotion is a topic you’ll likely hear me talk a lot about. In fact, I have a series on basic promotion protocol stewing in my brain, so that will be coming up before long. There are a lot of aspects to promotion that can be tricky, and it’s just one aspect of being published that is frightening to a lot of people on varying levels. For me, however, it’s part of my job, too. Not only have I been published, and therefore have the obligation of promoting my books to potential readers, but I’m also pretty much the marketing director of Storm Moon Press. Authors who are looking to publish through SMP? Yeah, you’re probably going to be working with me quite often. I’m the one who will be booking you some guest blog spots, interviews, and sending out your book for reviews around the blogosphere. Don’t be afraid, and as my other post said, Don’t Panic. I’m always here to support other authors who have questions about promotion. I’m not a guru, by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll always try to help where I can. ^_-

When it comes to promotion, there are a few big sections that spring immediately to my mind: interviews, guest posts, reviews, public appearances, and online presence. In the world of promoting GLBT and alternative lifestyles (BDSM, polyamory, etc.), you’re basically looking at a primarily online audience. Sure, there are ways you can spread the word about your books out there in the real world (radio, book signings, maybe even *gasp* television!), but when it comes to this niche market and the highly charged atmosphere due to opinions on GLBT subject matter in erotic fiction, most of your promotional activities are bound to be online. The trick is making it so plenty of people who are looking for the content find you and your work. Exposure is key, and that usually means a lot of hard work. Here’s just a little about those sections I just mentioned.

Interviews: This is usually the first step on the path that is online promotion. Get yourself interviewed in various places. You have to get your name out there! For my part, this is my favorite kind of promotion. I think there’s nothing better than letting an author answer a few questions about themselves and sharing a bit of who they are while also promoting whatever book they have coming out. I think it’s the best of both worlds. Eventually, there comes a time when you’ve introduced yourself in all the major places, though, and while you can visit a second time after a year or so and answer more questions, it can sometimes get really redundant.

Guest Posts: The most intimidating for authors, usually. The host blogger gives you time with their readership to promote and usually have a small discussion with them. There’s a lot of perceived pressure there, and you want to spark everyone’s interest so they’ll check out your personal blog or at least take a look at the book(s) you have available! This is one area I struggle with, and I’m grateful to have a cheerleader like S.L. Armstrong (my co-author), who always pokes at me and lets me know when I have a good idea.

Reviews: Either your publisher sends things out or you do (or both!), and you get feedback. Could be positive, could be not-so-positive, but the hope here is that others love your book and tell their friends or their blogging readership just how much they loved it. This word-of-mouth kind of promotion can really be great! For more of my thoughts on reviews, check out my other blog post here.

Public Appearances: Now, this is my favorite part, as an extroverted person who much prefers talking in person over chatting online. It’s all about being able to communicate where people can see your expression, hear the passion in your voice as you talk about your work, and really just engage with you on any topic. This is the part that I really enjoy when it comes to promotion, and I’m glad that I’ll be touring about a bit this year for Storm Moon Press. My first appearance for SMP will be at New York’s Rainbow Book Fair, so if you’re close to NYC on March 24th, definitely check out the convention site and come chat me up!

Online Presence: Last one, and boy, is it a doozy! Online presence is everything from maintaining your own blog to having accounts on Twitter or Facebook or Google+. Whichever method you choose, it’s one more way to connect with readers, reviewers, fellow authors, and industry professionals. There can be a lot of hidden dos and don’ts, but these are definitely the more instant gratification with minimal real-life contact sorts of promotion. People will get to know you, get to know your brand, and while you should never flood anyone’s social media with a barrage of ‘Buy My Book!’, you can still give a good first impression, and that can go a long way with people wondering about you and your work. When it comes to me, I have accounts on Twitter and Facebook along with this personal blog. I cruise Goodreads every so often, but I know that’s pretty much my limit on this aspect of promo.

All in all, there is a ton about promotion out there. Plenty of questions, and even more answers if you take a look around. All the different kinds of promotion are important, of course, and they deserve their own time in separate posts (something to look forward to here). All types work together to up your exposure in the hopes of promoting your material and your personal brand to the public. In my case, I do my best to balance them and know my limits. My strength is definitely in the pubic appearances part, where I can meet people in person, but I’m hoping to step it up with these regular blog posts and be more active on social media. I just hope people can relate and take away a little from each post, even if it’s just one bullet point of helpful information or a simple laugh at a photo I’ve posted. Thanks for coming along with me for the ride!

What aspect of promotion do you excel in, and which one is the bane of your existence? For readers, what is your favorite way to interact or keep tabs on an author?

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