A really good post.

Recently, I was talking with a good friend of mine about my publicity campaign for FIRST DATE. I mentioned that I was going to write a regular blog for today. After a pause, in which I could almost hear the wheels spinning in her head, she told me I should write a good blog, a really good blog. A blog that would draw readers and potential buyers to FIRST DATE.

Um, yeah.

Seriously folks? This friend is the bomb! She’s taken on the hat of virtual assistant (she printed me out a schedule so I wouldn’t forget where I was blogging during the week) in addition to the web-mistress garb she wears on a regular basis. Don’t laugh. The leather and that whip? Hot!

I can almost hear her telling me to stop going off on a tangent and get back to the blog, the really good blog. *tee hee*

So I’m going to write about pressure. (She’s going to kill me)

As a writer, you work your butt off to get published. It’s hard. In fact, it’s my personal opinion that most writers have a few screws loose because we love this. The constant rejection, the edits after edits after edits are all made worth it by a single “Wow! I loved it.”

However, the goal isn’t just the writing, or the publishing, it’s the selling. After you’ve found a publisher and it goes into production, you start wondering who is going to buy it. And, for me, here is where the pressure begins to mount. Some of us are natural-born salespeople. I am not.

I will be perfectly honest with you and say I was overwhelmed (blogs, reviews, interviews. Did I post that? Should I post that? Did I say too much? Too little? More revisions? Ack) but I was hanging in there until it came time to make the trailer.

By the way, hanging in there is subjective. My house is here somewhere under the clutter. And those bills? I’m not sure the vendors think that a looming deadline is a good excuse for not paying them.

*crack*

Did you hear that? I must be off on a tangent again.

Oh yes, the trailer. In attempting to make the trailer, I lost it. Bulging-eyeballs-ripping-hair-out lost it.

Voice in my head: “But you see, all your favorite books have trailers. It’s the thing to do, an excellent marketing tool, you want to sell your book don’t you? Well, don’t you? You better get on the ball!” And yes, the voice in my head talks in run-on sentences.

I couldn’t find the right music or the right pictures and quite frankly, I was getting frustrated. I couldn’t concentrate on the galley because I was so stressed about everything else I had to do. For me, the trailer was the straw that broke the publicity train. (Yeah, I know. I mixed it. I am not editing. So there.)

So what did I do? I gave myself permission to not have a trailer. Will I sell fewer books because of it? I don’t know. But this is my first publishing experience ever and I wanted to enjoy it. Letting myself off the hook regarding the trailer made all the difference in the world.

And you know what else I’m going to do? Tonight, I’m shutting off that inner voice that says I should be blogging or reading and commenting on them, and I’m watching a movie. Yeah, a movie. 17 Again. I haven’t watched a movie in over a month.

You might have all your ducks in a row and not have a problem with any part of the process. You might think the trailer part of it is a piece of cake and something else stumbles you. It might not even be promotion; it could be the editing process, submissions, queries.

I’d just remind you, whatever stage you’re in, don’t forget you. It’s true that pressure makes diamonds, but it also makes for a stressed-out person. (And, hello? I don’t know about you, but I’m not coal) It’s hard work, no doubt about it but if you’re not enjoying yourself, find out why and be sure to take some time out for you now and then.

16 comments:

J.A. Saare said...

The lovely Shelley Munro posted on one of my tour entries about time management and really nailed it on the head. She said (paraphrasing) "if you don't like something, don't do it".

I think those are some solid words to live by.

I'm a very friendly person that loves talking to people, but I am not a salesperson. I've seen some authors that praise themselves, offering this book review or that of how great their story is, but that is something I'll never be able to do. The loops/chats/blogs are difficult enough (unless you really love the people you're sharing with) without adding unnecessary stress or announcing yourself as the second coming of Nora Roberts.

For the record, I don't have any book trailers. I've seen some great ones, but I've seen others that...well, let's just say, I wasn't enticed to buy. I agonized over it as well (when I did the tour, I was encouraged to get one, as well as my own little "tag" line aka Feeding your Darkest Desires). Ultimately, I had enough going on as it was. I'm not sure if it hurt sales, but it did save me a helluva lot of sanity!

First Date is a great story, and I know that it will do well. *grin* But I'll share what I think is the general rule of thumb for aspiring authors...the sales won't come until you have more, and more, and more stuff for the reading public to view. Why? Because most of us discover a fan base by chance. I know a majority of my fave e-pub authors that I didn't know before I purchased their work (Joey Hill, Cherise Sinclair, Jessica Lee, etc) were ones I chose because of the blurb or the cover. One good read was all it took. Now their names are penciled in and I check for upcoming releases (and am on newsletters).

There are so many of us out there, it just takes time, patience, and faith that eventually, it WILL happen.

Great blog entry, Lynne.

Jaime

Kaily Hart said...

Lynne, I think you hit the mark; great post!! As an aspiring author I often think about the marketing and publicity side of things. I am the most removed person from a salesperson there is! How do you really get word out about your work? There is a lot of competition these days and the dollars to spend on books is probably less what it used to be. I think you have to build a fan base and the only way to do that is to build up a library of your work out there. Someone will choose one or happen upon one in some fashion, want your entire backlog and order everything that comes out from that point forward. The bottom line? I don't think you can expect to sell many of the first few published stories (unless you're a marketing genius, have a lot of marketing dollars that can really produce or have a huge contact database of people who will rush out and buy). And trailers? Honestly I have never bought anything as a result of a trailer and in fact those that I have seen often turn me off; it is usually not my idea of a hot hero/heroine. Personally, I think the trailers are something you do if you're really into that. I'm not sure there is any hard and fast evidence yet as to their effectiveness. So, marketing? I think with a first release you can only do so much. The best thing you can do? Keep working so that your next one will be better!! And the next, and the next, and the next....

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Great post! My desire for a trailer was always there, but the $ to have one made was not. Neither was the time to do it myself. Recently, though, I had a little time and did build a trailer for one of my books, mostly so I can play it on a DVD player at booksignings. I'm hoping it will help entice readers to check out the book right in front of them as I stand off to the side so they don't feel so 'on the spot'. Yes, the promo thing has gotten to me, too, so I do what I can, when I can, but mostly, I write.

Best of luck with FIRST DATE!

Catherine Bybee said...

Sometimes you just need to breathe. Sit back, enjoy the fact that you've overcome a huge obsticle and breathe.

There are lots of stressers in this biz. But the bottom line is if you're too stressed you will not be creative. Without the creativity your next work is gonna bite!

Lia Slater said...

This WAS a really good post, Lynne. I love your voice and your humor! I was nodding my head all the way through. I'm stumbling all the time. Can't be helped. Your friend sounds amazing, btw!

Pen said...

Lynne,
This really is a great post. I think that as artists, it's more important to enjoy the process. If you don't enjoy the process, you definitely need to be doing something else. Writing, music, and counseling are three things that intrigue me throughout - it's not just about reaching a goal. I actually get a thrill out of the process! I'm new to the marketing aspect of the game, but so far, it's kind of fun, too - to me. There are so many options and "helpers" for writers that didn't exist just a short time ago. I'm working on a trailer right now, but rest assured - if it starts working my nerves, it'll quickly be canned ;)

Lynne Roberts said...

Wow. I am overwhelmed. Thank you!

Jaime ~ I'm waiting on edits for my second release as I write. I'm working hard on getting a fan base and as many books as possible out there.

Kaily ~ It still is a little shocking to me that I am published. It's like Christmas morning after the presents are unwrapped and you really did get just what you wanted. Keep writing, it will happen. Thank you for your encouragment!

Stacy ~ Congratulations on making your trailer and what a good idea to play it at signings. You hit the nail on the head. Writing is the thing and I know when promo has stressed me out to the point I can't write, it's time to stop.

Lia~ My friend is amazing. : ) Thank you for your kind words. Sometimes I think most of us stumble around the promo world. Well, at least I'm stumbling along with you.

Catherine ~ You are so right. Stress kills creativity quicker than raid on an ant (I was going to say roach but eww) Your trailers, by the way, are awesome. : )

Pen~ I'm glad you're having fun promoting. That is so important.I like meeting new people but I am not good at saying, please buy my book. Another friend of mine is trying to drill it into my head that I'm doing people a favor because it's a good read and they'll be glad they read it (she is very promotion inclined) but it doesn't come easily (In fact, I had to make myself not delete that sentence. ; ) ) Good luck with your trailer!

Marie said...

Lynne,

This is a great post. I'm finding myself in the same spot you've been in, getting overwhelmed with the promo work to get my name and book out there. Like you I finally told myself that I could only do so much.

I blog, but only once a week, and it's right on my blog that I can only post once a week. It may not get me much of a following, but it's a start.

Cari Quinn said...

This was a very good post! You actually hit upon a couple things I've been wrestling with lately. Oh, and when I say "you" in the following paragraphs, I mean people in general, not you specifically, Lynne. ;)

I'm not a natural salesperson either, and I really don't think a "hard sell" does anyone any favors. Ultimately your work is what will get you attention. Jaime was absolutely right about that. Your backlist sells books, so get your work out there...but that said, never rush your wares to market before they're ripe, either. ;) When you're a NYT bestseller ten years from now, you want your backlist to reflect your talent. True, we all grow as writers and hopefully get better with time, but spending a bit longer on each submission (and having great CPs, if that works for you) will serve you well in the long run.

Showing your personality off in blog posts and excerpts and in thoughtful comments on other people's blogs - along with having a strong backlist - is ultimately what will set you apart.

Occasionally showing off your book or your awesome reviews is smart marketing. Shoving your release or your reviews or your contest wins in people's faces until the only thing they remember about you is NOT to buy your book isn't smart, IMO. ;)

*climbs off soapbox*

Crystal Posey said...

Very well done. Now go get a book, get in bed, and relax. *crack*

Lynne Roberts said...

Marie,

Thank you! I know a lot of people who blog only once a week, or don't blog at all. Like someone said, if you don't enjoy it, don't do it. Promo should be a little fun.

Thank you so much for your comments.

Lynne Roberts said...

Cari,

LOL. You can get up on that soapbox anytime you want! And I don't mind if the 'you' means me when you're referring to best selling New York published authors. : D

Thanks for commenting! : )

Margaret Tanner said...

Great post.
Every word you wrote was true, but you are right, the key to successful promotoion is do what you are comfortable with.
Cheers
Margaret

Jana Richards said...

Hi Lynne,
I'm late getting to your blog but I can totally relate to everything you said. Especially the part about trailers. I don't have any either. Maybe I never will because creating them is something I'm not really interested in doing. I've been feeling guilty about that but I think I'll take a page from your book and not stress about it any longer. Thanks Lynne!

Jana Richards

Lynne Roberts said...

Jana, As one who is habitually late, I say: Welcome!

I'm glad the post eased your mind about trailers. I've left them on the 'someday if I'm inspired' list.

Thanks for your comment.

Lynne Roberts said...

Jana, As one who is habitually late, I say: Welcome!

I'm glad the post eased your mind about trailers. I've left them on the 'someday if I'm inspired' list.

Thanks for your comment.