There's a lot of stuff out there on the net talking about what an author can do in terms of promo as well as reader's opinions of what does and doesn't work. I never paid too much attention before. I figured there was plenty of time to learn about that stuff once I'd gotten published. Well, it seems that day has come and now I need to start making the right moves in terms of promo, as well as working on my books.
The problem is, just like there's no set path to publication, there's no set type of promo that's going to work for every author. And I am quite aware that I'm a tiny speck of algae in a huge sea of fish, sharks and whales.
I read on a blog in the past couple of days (can't remember where it was now) which had been pointed out by both the RWAus loop and the Noble authors loop, because it talked about the kinds of promo an author can do. But the REAL gold in this piece came from the comments left by readers, who are readers, or my intended audience. And many of them seem to be of the same opinion when it came to what they liked. This is what I gleaned, and what I'm going to go with for the time being.
1) Most couldn't give a crap about book trailers. Thank god. Because while I know they're all the rage at the moment, I don't have the tech-savvy skills or time to make a passable effort on one.
2) They don't like flashy websites or gimmicks - they just want somewhere they can go which is simple to navigate, lists all the author's previous titles, including series order and if possible, in an easily printable list. They also like to see good long excepts from the author's books, not just the blurb.
3) They like free stuff! Well, who doesn't like free stuff? This could be in the form of an entire free e-book or free short stories connected to an existing series. And if they can get their hands on some free promo stuff like bookmarks, pens, mugs, etc, etc, then they'll take whatever they can get.
4) They want to know what the author is up to, what the author is working on and if possible, an excerpt from the author's WIP.
5) They want to connect with the author through things like twitter and know the author is an everyday sort of person like them. Now, I can understand this point, but I have some reservations. I'm happy to connect to readers through a shared interests like TV shows, other books and music, but I'm not going to go talking about my family and personal life, as some people suggested. I know on this blog I often only talk about publishing related matters and not much else, but it comes from a simple fact of wanting to keep my personal life personal, separate from my published-author life. Some people might say that will be next to impossible, but I'm going to try and maintain those boundaries.
So here's what I'm thinking. I've already put excerpts from Sanctuary and Dead Reality on my website. I plan on adding an excerpt from Severance as soon as I've done some more editing on it. I'll probably also post an excerpt from my next wip, a rom sus, once I get going on that too. I was also considering putting up a note to say I'll send out bookmarks to the first 50 people who send me their address, and have that as a regular thing, some months having books, or pens or other fun stuff that I'll randomly give away.
One issue with all of this is that its time consuming and I don't want promo to take over my life and impact on my writing time and quality. Plus, obviously giving stuff away costs me money, so I also have to balance cost with benefit.
I can honestly say these are the somewhat complicated facets of being published I never considered. In fact, I never considered much beyond the moment I would get my 'yes'.
But, as with all things, I'll just look at this as one more sharp learning curve in my journey... kind of like one you'd find on a roller coaster.