How-To Discussion of Promoting and Marketing Novels and Written Works

Discussion in 'Writing' started by juzzza, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. Hereford Eye

    Hereford Eye Just Another Philistine

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    Old people don't follow arguments so good, I guess. Cause what I get from this writer's words is the idea that:
    (1) presence on the internet constitutes advertising
    (2) the more places you make yourself known, the more presence you have.
    When someone types into a search engine this writer's name, the more hits the engine returns, the better chance someone will go see what all the fuss is about. If the search engine reports 6 billion hits, the evidence indicates that he has been in the ear of every person on the planet, then there must be something to this writer that makes him so popular.
    So, the whole purpose of this discussion is to establish that presence and thus get another hit on a search engine.

    Tell you what, writer person, get yourself a posting in Wikipedia. If I can find an article about your book in Wikipedia, I may go look at what you've written. Otherwise, nothing you've written about the book has drawn my interest thus far.
    Oh, yeah, I rarely look past the first page of my search engine so the number of hits doesn't do anything for me but I'm old; young people may see it differently.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2006
  2. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

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    Hey, RUSH. I think I love you (and it's not just because you published my story.

    On topic: obviously marketing represents yet another great pitfall for the unknown writer. It's not enough to actually have the courage and tenacity to write, and the luck and determination to get it published, you must also be a salesperson. This, of course will come more naturally to some than others, and of course there will always be disparities in the resources available to different writers. But one thing that I do not understand, Robert, is why you feel that you do not have the luxury of taking the time to develop relationships. Is there some expiration date on your words?
     
  3. roberteggleton

    roberteggleton Banned

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    In reply to advice asked for

    I was asked for advice and gave it while claiming no expertise. While I've lots on nonfiction published, I've only had one novel and the essay that caused a reaction on this site published as fiction. I was sharing more of my experience as examples of mistakes with positive and negative consequences. Yesterday, a publisher asked for a rework of a story (horror). Sorry, I don't have a success story to provide and my advice should be considered with caution.

    As to crit groups, I belong to two, but don't fully participate on either. It's a matter of time, rather than philosophical approach.

    Yes, J, if I was a young man interested in establishing a fan base, I would have posted differently as previously described. This is not an apology, as I think the discussion here has been beneficial to all.

    For whomever asked, "Rarity from the Hollow" was extensively edited by someone who has been in the business for decades and holds a prominent position. She was more harsh than anybody that had ever read any of my work, and appreciated. This doesn't mean that you will like my novel, only that it has been put through the wringer.
     
  4. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    Well, you can't beat a response like that! ;)

    I am indeed a self-confessed RUSH addict, and have been since the late 70s.

    If we could all write words like Neil Peart and music like Alex and Geddy, we wouldn't need any self-promotion. :D


    (Sorry for going a little off topic...but it is RUSH we are talking about here.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2006
  5. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

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    Erebus, can you please stay on topic...









    Ha ha ha ha... oh man, anyone who has been around these forums for more than three years will laugh that one up... Juzzza, telling Erebus off!
     
  6. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    Sheesh, I did say I was sorry...it was just a sudden and unexplained RUSH of blood to my head in an attempt to cool the engines. Won't happen again. :D
     
  7. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    Anyway...back on topic:

    Self-promotion is somewhat subjective and opinions on what's effective will of course differ greatly. At the end of the day the proof of the pudding will be determined by what might be considered a successful promotion, irrespective of whether the promotion was deemed appropriate or not. I have to admit to being a bit confused by some of roberteggleton's comments, although somewhere amongst the mess of words is a message I'm sure. So I tried to lighten this discussion up a bit - SFFWorld should always been a fun place after all. :)

    However, my references to the song lyrics (which do convey a relevance IMO) were not just designed to be a slightly off-topic diversion. It resulted in some additional lighthearted banter and references to the band in question. Now by that simple post of lyrics, many who read this thread may in fact discover a brilliant band whom they may never have heard of previously. They may in fact look them up, listen to some samples on the Net and end up buying a CD. I guess, that, in a nutshell, may sum up exactly what many of this thread's contributors have been saying all along. Promotion (self or otherwise) does not have to be aggressive or annoying to be successful.
     
  8. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    That's a nice article by Simon Haynes, Hobbit.

    He's not talking about getting multiple search engine hits so that you'll look impressive, Holbrook. He's talking about networking, not so that he can go "buy my book" -- which is a technique that can work very well for non-fiction but doesn't do so well for fiction -- but so that people can get to know him and he can get to know other people. Which is no different from authors introducing themselves to booksellers or showing up at sff conventions and talking with the participants. And no different from the SFWA site having links to author webpages and Locus and other related websites/organizations. And pretty much the same thing you do when you're trying to coordinate the carpools for your kid's soccer practices.
     
  9. Jacquin

    Jacquin Shovelly Joe

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    I'm gonna frame that and put it on my wall...
     
  10. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    Errr Kat, think you have me confused with HE :eek: ;)

    roberteggleton;

    Why, may I ask do you consider 55 too old???

    I am just a couple of years younger than that, I have, over the last couple of years formed strong friendships over the net and produced three books in the process. Not published mainstream yet, but heck I reckon witha fair wind and a bit of luck I have another 20 years and twenty books to do it.

    Just because you are older doesn't mean you need to rush things. Better take your time and enjoy the ride with all its ups and downs and grow in the process. You seem to be harping on about all the negative stuff. Where is the positive stuff about your work being published???


    Sheepie:

    What :eek: me sensible??? Have they been putting water in your red wine again....;)
     
  11. roberteggleton

    roberteggleton Banned

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    Child Maltreatment

    I'm very postitive at work. You wouldn't believe how well I empower victims, unless you've read my novel. After a couple of beers after work and on weekends, I vent. Sorry if it's a downer. Ignore me. Sometimes, since a large proportion of any profits I make will go to save babies, I feel compelled. I'm an original appointee to our state's child fatality review team -- it kinda messed me up -- all the details provided by the medical examiner. Puke! Still, there are thousands of kids that need our help because nobody else pays attention. You wouldn't want to know but it's duty.
     
  12. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

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    Here is an example of some self-promotion done nicely, with a little humor and not too much gee-I-got-published-and-everyone-loves-me ego. Why does this work? I'll offer some points: 1) Joe didn't start the thread himself (nor did one of his "friends/publicist/net alter-ego"); 2) Joe came to answer a question that a reader had and to thank Hobbit for the nice review; and, 3) Joe was nice and only a little bit self-promotionalish (tm), and that bit was more tongue in cheek anyway.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2006
  13. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    I like promotions like this little swf slide show, they give a little, entertain, let you enjoy a taste for the style, an idea of the plot: Scott Westerfield's So Yesterday

    I think sending people to view a fairly artistic slide show is a nice thing. It's not heavy reading, it's not heavy selling, it's appropriate for viewing online, and if it is all about presence on the net, this is the kind of thing that people might tell other people to look at on messageboards such as this.
     
  14. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    Hey Hobbit, finally, a use for blogs!

    I've been blogging all wrong and failing completely by not blogging where everyone else blogs and blogging in private. I wondered why my friends who swore off blogging started blogging. Blogging Hell! Have I missed the blogging boat?
     
  15. Spacejock

    Spacejock SF Author

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    I'm the author of the author promotion article mentioned a page or so back, and I just wanted to give a little background on what prompted me to write it.

    It wasn't written as an attack on self-promoters, more as a warning to freshly published authors about to embark on a protracted ad campaign for their new book. Even if they choose to go ahead with it, after reading the article they might do it a little less blatantly.

    I find it awfully hard to bite my tongue when people are discussing books in my genre, particularly since it's a small niche sub-sub-genre containing only a handful of books. For example, this week-old thread right here on SFFWorld is discussing the genre, and I'd love to leap in and say 'hey, what about ...'. But I won't. Partly because it'd be spamming, but mostly because of all the people you want to hear recommendations from, an author is the very last one. Totally biased, and it's a bad sign if they have to go out and push their own book instead of letting genuine fans do it for them. (That's the perception, and ignores the fact there won't BE any fans until someone's read it.)

    I did find a couple of my posts on here from 2001 which I'd consider spammish, but I was young and innocent then ;-) Should have read my own article.
     
  16. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    Is this meant to shock us? Make us feel we must buy your book? Sorry if that sounds cynical, but the fact you keep mentioning that so much of your royalties(no percentage mentioned) goes to some cause, (without any proof of the registered charity/oraganisation) feels like you are using the cause to sell your book. If that offends then I am sorry, but it not the way to promote either the charity or your book. And could in fact damage both, which I am sure you don't want to do. I am sure the mods/admins if approached correctly in the beginning would have considered an "advert" of some kind, but I doubt it now.

    There are better ways to do both than rambling on a thread here. And I am speaking from experience here, I have done a lot of fund raising in my time for a number of charities.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2006
  17. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    With regards to self-promotion, the best bit I have seen recently was at Eastercon. A large number of writers on panels, when asked about their book seemed to begin a long speech about the plot, ideas etc... Getting all excited about it and some even bouncing on their chairs.

    Hal Duncan, when asked about his book Vellum, took a sip of the pint of beer before him, grinned at the audience and said, "People die." Then he took another sip of beer and added. "Horribly."

    It was funny, clever, and made you interested in what the book was really about.

    I think the trick is to be yourself and remember that in the end the book you wrote is just a story, not really much in the grand scheme of things, just something for others hopefully to enjoy if they are inclined to read it.
     
  18. Spacejock

    Spacejock SF Author

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    And you're still talking about it, so it was an effective promo.

    I remember doing a panel on SF/Fantasy Humour a few years back where we nattered on about the subject for close to an hour, getting a number of laughs from the audience. Afterwards a woman came up to say she really enjoyed the panel, and thanks for not going on and on about our own books.

    Later I discovered she was (and still is) the senior editor at a major publishing house.

    You don't attend cons to hear authors run live commercials for their books.
     
  19. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    Hols, considering most first novels lose money, in terms of helping a charity it was an idea doomed from the start. Maybe the cart came before the horse?

    Simon, I'm always plugging Aussie writers in situations like you mentioned on pg 5, mainly because I think there's some good ones and that they're overlooked. If people are talking about the good ol days of sf, I'm always putting a Russian/Pole oar in too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2006
  20. roberteggleton

    roberteggleton Banned

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    "no percentage mentioned"

    Holbrook,

    The idea of linking to a cause was what motivated me to write my first novel. The protagonist is a composite character based on my work as a therapist. Often, I would come home from work exhausted, but the image of her victimized would compel my production.

    I agree with whoever said not to expect it to make much money and I don't.

    I was advised by a successful author to include the charitable cause statement when self-promoting. In hindsight, I should have been more selective and targeted by audience. I'll be more tailored in the future. For example, as pointed out, there's no reason to mention child abuse here, but I do want to reply to the above statement in the subject line. Then, that's it -- I promise.

    As a group, the most supportive on my self-promotion has been Bikers Against Child Abuse, followed by medicinal use of marijuana supporters. The least supportive was a small group of people and a SF writer on a chat room who actually, somehow, changed my comments to attribute false statements. ?? I stopped going there, not because of the bullying, but the redundancy -- It was too boring and time consuming.

    Depending on a schedule, from ten to fifty percent of anything I get from sales goes to Children's Home Society of West Virginia where I live. This is a different agency than where I work, and it has what is regarded as an excellent child abuse prevention program. Dennis Sutton is the Executive Director (xxx-xxx-xxxx). Specifically, the schedule is based on thousand dollar increments: 10% for anything under $2K, and up to 50% for anything $5K or more. In other words, if I get $10 for writing the novel, that agency gets $1.... If I get $5K (unlikely), that agency gets $2.5 K.

    I hope this info answers your question. Again, I apologize for mentioning the cause within my posts here. I should have restricted the charitable contribution statement to organizations in the field -- a lesson learned.

    (((EDIT: I took out Dennis Sutton's phone number as it makes me uncomfortable having a number like that just presented in a forum. Is that his number or the number of the agency? PM me that it's not a personal number and we can put it back...or that's it's a personal number and he wants it out there. Too many nut jobs around to just put that out there, I think.)))
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2006