On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Promotion -- Hard Earned Dollars

First, I'm grumpy because I had little sleep, I'm struggling to tighten Heart Change, and I was in the story and the world and the flow when some internet marketing company called Booksomething phoned and interrupted me.

Now, promotion is a topic that ALWAYS comes up with authors and the fact is: WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T. Furthermore, unless your publisher backs you with a huge push, you can spend a great deal with little result.

But there's always someone out there ready to take an author's money. Why they target us, I don't know, because most of us are struggling. Maybe because there's no way to prove they didn't work.

This guy hadn't done his research on Heart Fate. He didn't know whether it was listed with amazon.com or bn.com when he asked and I told him he said in a monotone "that is good" obviously scripted, and that just set me off.

Naturally all I did was say I wasn't interested and hung up, but, like, I can't go to RT this year mostly because of the cost and this place wants to leach more money from me and will NEVER be able to produce figures that what I pay him/them is cost effective.

A website is essential. I was tired of being out there alone, so I hooked up with Access Romance which charges a monthly fee (though I don't take advantage of them like I should). I also pay a gateway fee to Novel Talk (due this week). My local romance conference is coming up, not to mention RWA National. Those I consider important business tools.

So this guy hasn't done his homework, doesn't even know how many books I've written (only referenced Heart Fate), where my books are listed online, is reading a script, and $!#$#$ called my HOME number during the day when he knows I am a writer. He is CLUELESS about MY BUSINESS and he wants me to give him money? If I'd been interrupted in a regular creative flow I'd'a reached through the phone and yanked out his tonsils.

Ok, I feel better. I've advertised here and there. I'm on chats. I'm doing signings. I have this blog that my agent convinced me to do and is finally showing up more and more as links on other sites (AND THE FEEDBACK FROM YOU ALL HAS BEEN EXCELLENT). My agent wants me to do a newsletter. I haven't organized a mailing list, so that is something to be considered but will mean a lot of up-front work at some point.

I advertise with people I trust. I advertise each book less than I did to begin with because I have little feedback as to how effective the advertising is. X site can say A ZILLION people visited our site! Great, how many SAW my book? Saw a pitch, a banner, what? No info. How many bought one of my books? No info.

I like both Access Romance and Novel Talk, but they have a lot more clients than when I started with them. Sometimes I feel lost in the crowd. One of the reasons I went with Access Romance was because its colors matched my own, were pleasing to me. Loved the logo. They now have a new look and new logo. Shrug.

So this is venting.

Advice of the Day: Caveat emptor. Choose the places you advertise with wisely. If you spent a dollar on every book promotion site (or ad company or magazine) out there you'd be broke. Let me know if anyone can give you hard figures about actual book purchases and such numbers are in the triple figures.

Thanks for listening.
May you have someone to vent to today, should you need it.



Blogger Tannun said...

Would it be wrong of me to say I'm glad he called?

Not that he upset you, not that he broke concentration.

But the 'background' info on advertising books, how you decided what to use, why the blog, the reason you may do a newsletter is good stuff.

The whys and wherefores of the writer grind is one of the reasons I love your blog.

So *phtt* to him, but *cheer* the blog!

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

Echo Tannun...

Your comments make want to say, "Hey, this works to make me want to purchase a new author."

Honestly, I bought Heart Mate because I was on the paranormal writers thread and saw you posting about it. Then when I fell in love with it, added you to my MUST buy.

I have a core list of authors that I buy, and occassionally, if someone is recommended I'll try them.

More often then not it's blogs and recommendations by my beloved authors who lead me to something new.

I can honestly say I've never bought an author because of one of those monthly newsletters that list numerous authors and their books.

I have a list of authors where every month or so I check their websites to see what is coming up and when, then I use my Barnes and Noble wish list to keep track of when to buy.

Long story short, from my point of view, websites and blogs are the way to go!!

3:33 PM  
Anonymous sue said...

OH... and BTW, that was just RUDE and obviously not someone wanting to do a good job to have not researched you...at least a bit to have shown some interest in YOU as a writer!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear your frustration, Robin. Self Promotion can be so consuming. Does it work? Who knows? It certainly can take a ton of money and a load of time that could be used for writing, and yet we do it just in case.

4:00 PM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor Robin D. Owens said...

Thanks, folks.

I've scaled back from spending money instead of time advertising.

I like to think that my work will speak for itself...


5:35 PM  

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