So I decided to give book promotion a whirl a while back, mainly because I'm a curious cat. My day-job contract ends in July, after which I anticipate feeling extremely uncomfortable spending any money on book promotion at all. In short, I came to a do-it-now or do-it-in-a-few-years point, and I erred on the side of trying everything once. Why have I been and continue to be leery of book promotion?
Most new authors (unless they're extremely lucky) make close to nothing off their first few books. This conclusion is based entirely my interpretation of average sales data satistics coupled with an observation of my own buying habits. Considering the sheer numbers of ebooks being published on any given day, my two novellas are teeny tiny little fish in an ocean full of sharks and whales. I won't get my first royalty statement until June, but I'm not anticipating much.
As such, I can only assume any money spent on book promotion will be not be recovered. For some reason, physchologically speaking, there is a huge difference between spending "time" writing a book and spending "money" promoting a book. In reality, the opportunity cost equation is not so stark. Time spent means not watching TV after work and on weekends; money spent means not buying coffee for a few weeks. I can live with both sacrifices but the latter somehow feels more of a commitment than the former.
On top of that, I like writing. I don't like asking people to buy my book. Some days, I feel like I'm standing at a street corner yelling "buy my book" at the top of my lungs knowing full well 99/100 people will walk by. Of course, the 1/100th person is what all new authors hope for. If one person likes your book, they might recommend it to someone else, and word of mouth is the only proven way books sell.
What are my impressions on self-promotion thus far?
Someone said this much better in the Absolute Write forums: "It is impossible to quantify the effects of marketing." Since I don't get a royalty statement until months after said marketing, it definitely feels like I am tossing money and time into a bottomless pit from whence it will never return. Therefore, I'm glad I decided beforehand exactly what my budget is and how long after publication I'm going to spend on promotion. I'm also relieved I decided going in I am doing it for the experience rather than sales. I wanted to know what online promotion entails and how much I feel comfortable taking on. I've achieved exactly that.
The few things I am now certain are sustainable in the long term are: Blogging, Twitter and being active on Goodreads. The only reason this is so is because they are all things I would do whether or not I'm trying to promote a book. I'm an avid reader, so joining Goodreads and discovering books comes naturally. I enjoy all types of writing (including bureaucratic and politically correct emails), and writing short fiction or rambling on about one topic or another on my blog comes naturally to me. Twitter is a fun way to network with other people who share the same passions and problems I do, and I would keep it up even if it doesn't sell a single book. I'm still on the fence about everything else.
Working on a virtual book tour has been a surprisingly fun experience. I got to do what I do best--write. Guest blogs and interviews utilize an entirely different skill set from fiction writing since I do try to reveal as much about myself as I feel comfortable. I started by adding the banner picture on my website. The girl in red is actually 'lil old me during a past "Snowpocalypse." It was a particularly nostalgic photo since I haven't seen snow in close to three years.
So what book promotion am I doing right now?
This blog post started out as a plug for the Virtual Book Tour for Warlock's Pawn, and it has since veered off into a general rambling about the concept of book promotion in general. However, it does seem necessary to return to the intial point.
I'll be updating this post with all my stops. Hopefully you'll find some of them to be fun reads. If you've gotten this far, you might as well participate in the Giveaway. A $10 gift card will go to someone, and it might as well be you. The first entry involves commenting on either this blog or any of the guest posts in the virtual tour, and the other steps are optional.
Once you comment, click the link below to enter your information: https://www.facebook.com/taraquanauthor/app_228910107186452
Blog Tour Stops:
1 - Christina OW - Anecdotal Steps from Thought to Publication - http://christinaow.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/tara-quan-warlocks-pawn-my-virtual-book-tour-begins/
2 - The Pen & Muse - Author Interview - http://thepenmuse.net/?p=6630
3 - Cofee Time Romance - My 5 Favorite Paranormal Alpha Males - http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/tara-quans-warlocks-pawn-blog-stop/
4 - Indy Book Fairy - Author Interview - http://paranormalbookfairy.blogspot.com/2013/04/warlocks-pawn-spotlight-interview.html
5 - Literary Nymphs Hot List - Author Interview - http://literarynymphshotlist.blogspot.com/2013/04/literary-nymphs-interview-title.html
6 - For the Love of Book Ends - Author Interview -
7 - You Gotta Read Reviews - The Path from Reader to Writer - http://yougottaread.com/tara-quan-the-path-from-reader-to-writer/