One of the first things you learn about publishing a book is how much work the post-writing phase is. I’m referring to the dreaded marketing and promotion phase. For those of us relatively new to this aspect of the business, it’s a daunting road with its own language and sign posts. Social media, branding, platforms, linking, blog tours, websites–yikes!
However, after I decided to publish the first book, the die was cast. I’d chosen this path and now I had to follow through no matter how daunting. My first forays into the marketing and promotion forest proved how alarmingly out of my depth I was. The resources I found were unanimous about two things: the promo should start when you begin writing, and whatever tools you develop, be they blogs, tweets or Facebook, should be fed a regular diet of quality fodder. I hadn’t even started down the road and I’d already failed two “should do” tests.
At that point, the first book hadn’t yet hit the market, so I reasoned that perhaps it wasn’t too late. I could do this–plenty of others had, right? Wrong. I failed miserably. Cases in point (yes, that’s plural): I tried but failed to get a blog running on Tumblr; I tried but failed to create a Gravatar for my main character; I tried but failed to upload my work onto Wattpad. I was lost in the quagmire. Have I mentioned that I’m hopeless with technology?
But you know what I learned? I learned how very generous and supportive the writing community is. I reached out (crawled while pleading and begging was more like it) and friends grabbed hold and pulled me out of the muck. With their help, I managed to connect with a creative web designer who secured my domain name and designed an elegant website. In time, I created a Facebook page; I created a Twitter profile and learned about hashtags; I joined Goodreads and figured out how to get my book listed; and then I spent some time with WordPress and created this blog to add to my website.
It`s now six months later. The first book is under my belt and I have another one in the chute,which means that dreaded marketing and promotion road lies in wait. Again. I know it won’t be a picnic, but this time around, when I sink in the muck, discouraged and overwhelmed, I won’t wait so long to reach out.
What do you do when your marketing and promo efforts dump you in the quagmire?