Being without a Clark Kent day job has its advantages. I can get more writing done, which is good. I can get more household errands taken care of. I get the occasional nap. And I get to catch up on all the market news and articles on freelancing and promotion that I have never really had much time to read.
But it’s also put me at an odd crossroads in my life, particularly in terms of my writing life. See, writing isn’t a job; it’s a career — any serious writer will tell you that. And that’s because it’s a part of who you are. It defines you. It’s all that your soul wants to tell the world, the way you want to make a mark on this planet, to remind it of you even long after you’re gone. Writing connects us not only to the human experience, but to the experiences greater than any one of us. And that’s a big, powerful thing right there.
But to achieve that, we need to be read. We need people to know our voice exists, that’s it’s there if people want to listen. And I discovered over the last few weeks that my efforts in telling the world I have that voice have only recently begun to pay off in any way. Now, that’s a combination of many things; my shortcomings as an advocate re: my own work, and the fact that the promotional machine is slow to wake, warm up, and work well.
Soooo, I’ve been taking notes, making plans for giveaways and other promotional funstuff, and pondering what to write in this particular blog post. I recognize there are a number of incredibly supportive, smart, fun, creative people out there reading and enjoying my books, and I’m very grateful for that. Occasionally, I’ll see one of these people post that they’d like to do more to support and promote authors they like — also something for which authors like me are extremely grateful.
When the concept of “Street Teams” first came out, I thought it was a great idea, but I was, believe it or not, too shy to attempt it. I couldn’t quite believe that there were enough people out there reading my work that it would be effective. But as I mentioned above, promotion is a slowly rolling machine whose momentum increases by degrees and from adding to its weight along the way. And I think I’m ready to tackle something like that.
How about you?
Have you been to Bloomwood County, New Jersey’s fine old northwestern lakeside towns like Lakehaven, Wexton, and Thrall? Have you heard tell of historical and significant landmarks like Bridgewood Asylum? Visited old mom-&-pop bookstores, or enjoyed the beauty of nature along the wooded hiking trails? Had a beer at the local Olde Mill Tavern? Those places are nothing without…well, tourism, so to speak.
What I’m getting at is, do you like my books, my novellas and short fiction, enough to help me get the word out there about them? If so, I’ve compiled a list of things folks can do to help me (and any of their favorite writers) promote our work to a wider audience — to bring in the tourism. Please don’t feel obligated to do any of these. They are just suggestions, to be taken by those who may have read something they enjoyed very much and feel strongly enough about, and (within legal/tasteful parameters, ha ha) may want to participate in promoting or expound upon in their own way. And for the effort, there will be prizes coming your way. I’m working on that, too.
– Word of Mouth (Or Fingers): If you’re so inclined, start a message board thread about your author’s books or stories or respond to one, or post reviews on your blog or elsewhere. Talk up the book to friends and acquaintances, even family members, who you think may enjoy the book. Retweet writer posts, reblog, like on FB, +1 on Google+. Let the people in your lives know about the authors you like.
– The Blues Clues Approach: Leave free swag — book marks, bumper stickers, business cards, etc. To be most effective and run the least risk of the swag being unceremoniously discarded, leave free stuff where people are looking to find it — bulletin boards, flier tables at events, with the proper folks at libraries and bookstores. And keep some for yourself. Put that bumper sticker on your car. Wear a t-shirt promoting your favorite author. Use the pens, the bookmarks, and the travel mugs when you’re out and about.
– Make Requests: Request your favorite author’s books in bookstores. When events ask for ideas for author guests or panelists, suggest your favorite author.
– Make Appearances: Come to the signings, readings, and public speaking engagements that your favorite writer does, and bring a friend. Tweet or post about going, and after, about how it went.
I’ll be adding more to this list as I think of them, or if folks give me ideas. If you can think of any more ideas, I’d love to hear them.
Thank you for reading my work and for being so supportive. It really means a lot to me that my work is clicking with people, moving them, even scaring them. So thank you.