Promotional Thoughts (But Mostly Questions)

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 • 6 Comments on Promotional Thoughts (But Mostly Questions)


As the release date for Dream Lover approaches, I’m contemplating the benefits of different types of promotion and I thought I’d throw a few questions out there for you (all four of you—clearly I’m not good at promoting even my own blog). 

As a reader, what type of promotion makes the biggest impact on you? (Which can be interpreted as: it makes you buy the book, it makes you remember the author or name of the book or it makes you share info about the book either through word of mouth or social networking.)

—A blog dedicated to the book with excerpts and interviews, a la Fairy Tale Lust

—Blog posts about the book with excerpts on a personal blog (like this one) that don’t overwhelm you with all book all the time promotion

—A Tumblr featuring subjects related to the book, with excerpts from the book interspersed like the Corsets and Clockworks Tumblr I’ve set up for my fall release (And does something like that only work with a theme that can be visually fetishized?)

—A Virtual Book Tour on different blogs (Follow up question: Do you like a one month tour or something shorter? A week? Ten days?)

—A dedicated Twitter feed or Facebook fan page (I don’t personally like these as I already have enough things to read, but maybe others find them helpful?)

—A Book Giveaway (Buy the book that’s being released, get another book by the same author.)

—Book signings/readings where you get a chance to hear the author and get a signed copy of the book

—Getting a free book in exchange for a review on Amazon or your own blog

—Bookmarks, buttons, postcards, other promotional items

—Something else?

And for the writers out there…

—Which of the above do you most like doing and/or find the most productive? (Not necessarily the same thing, I’m assuming.)

Thanks for your feedback!

Posted by Kristina in Books and Reading
  • Jo says:

    Aw, jeeze, I don’t really know. I’m not a good consumer, books in general are tragically a bit of a luxury for me, erotica even more so. I wish it was different.

    I’d always be happy to get a freebie in exchange for a review, though.

    Excepts are good too, and input from the writers.

    I think readings are a lovely idea (cupcakes essential), but I don’t know how cost-efficient they are. I think single blogposts are good too… with a book tour, maybe you turn off after a bit?

  • Nikki Magennis says:

    Excerpts, yes, definitely. Reviews, on goodreads now, mostly, so I can see who’s doing the reviewing.

    A blog tour might be cool, if it’s done inventively, but I’m probably not going to go out of my way to follow it, to be honest. Twitter/facebook stuff I’d probably ignore. A separate blog might be cool, with interviews and snips and such like. If your blog pointed to it every now and agin, that might help.

    But yeah, like Jo, I’m not exactly a dedicated buyer of new books, I’m afraid. Charity shops and libraries, writers can’t afford new books!

  • Excerpts are definitely something I look for when I’m deciding which books to prioritize for purchase—and I’ll go wherever the excerpts are to view them.

  • A new book will get one giveaway from me to one of the people who leave a comment, even though that feels like a waste of money because the winner will be one of a very few people, most if not all, writers.  I always feel guilty entering those contests because I’m a writer and I think it makes more sense for the book to be won by someone who isn’t a writer.

    Give aways of other books by the author is less painful but the result is the same.

    .  If I’m in the book, I’ll follow the blog tour faithfully, commenting on each blog.  If I’m not in the book, I will try to follow a blog tour but . . . I likely wouldn’t be faithful. 

    I wouldn’t give away the book in exchange for a review on a blog.  The review would have to be an Amazon review. 

    Contests to win the book are frustrating because so few people follow my blog (even though it got a shout out from Shanna Germain on her new ERWA series, which I hoped would attract a few more commenters.)  I think a blog dedicated to the book is more trouble than it’s worth but I’ve never tried it.

    I’d definitely do a reading if anyone in Canada would be at all interested in attending an erotica author’s book reading and a book store or sex shop would be willing to host it, but that isn’t the case.

    If I could afford it, I’d host (or get someone else to host) a book launch. 

    To celebrate the launch of our new website, we gave away a book from each of the four authors sharing the site, and we got an excellent response, mainly because our web master is a member of blog critics and her blog is well read.

    As Felix and I have only ever had our novels published by UK publishers, acquiring copies of the book, beyond the usual ten freebies, is prohibitively expensive because the publishers only give free shipping to authors within the UK.  It is no more expensive for us to simply purchase the book from Amazon or Indigo than to order more books from the publisher.  In retrospect I feel we gave away too many of our books to friends and family (it being a crime novel and not erotica, it was eligible for family reading.)  We have two copies left, besides the one we keep for ourselves.

    Acquiring an interview is probably by far the best way to publish the book.  Again, our webmaster arranged an interview that appeared on blog critics and was picked up by a Seattle newspaper on its e-site.

    I’m particularly annoyed with my community newspaper as I spoke to the editor and he assured me I’d be contacted by a reporter for an interview, but it didn’t happen.  If the book isn’t about ‘local walking trails’ or ‘the history of our town’ it doesn’t, apparently, warrant a review.

    I know authors who tour the province and sometimes the country with copies of their books but again, the cost is prohibitive and this is one big-ass country.  And again, there’s the problem of acquiring copies at what is essentially full cost.  So we’d get a few pennies in royalties for each copy we sell.

    An excerpt from the book on my blog, and now website, is a good way to go, I think.  But I’d be happier to do so if I had a greater following.  I think an ERWA review is a important.

    I’ve had a little luck contacting the big chains by email (Canadian erotica!) but no luck at all letting newspapers and the CBC know that when they want a quote from an erotica author they don’t have to get it from an American or a Brit, they can get it from a Canadian erotica author.  But I keep trying, because, particularly on this last point, I think it’s a crying shame that Canadian media continues to seek opinions from erotica authors from other countries.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I just ran smack into the problem of readings/signings for another anthology.  I’ve got three friends who write various shades of romance from contemporary to paranormal to romantic erotica who happen to have books coming out the same month, and they were kind enough to invite me to join them for a group book signing at our local Barnes and Noble.

    Long story short:  The manager who initially agreed to this left and the new manager took one look at the orders for the antho I was in, termed it (direct quote) a ‘sexbook’ and refused to order it or allow it at a signing, citing fears of ‘offending customers’.  Such is life in the Bible Belt.

    I think readings/signings are great…if you’re in a slightly more enlightened area of the country than I am!

    I’m ‘eh’ on promotional materials.  I think they go over better in an area where a lot of readers can be readily reached, like conferences and the like.  Given the expense, it works better, IMO, when authors have direct control over how the materials are distributed. 

    For example, the same bunch of friends have, in the past, gotten the management of a couple of local bookstores to allow them to put promotional bookmarks and the like in each other’s new releases.  So, if Author A has a book come out in January, and Author B has one coming out in March, Author B will go through her books on the shelf and place bookmarks/postcards for Author A in her book.  That’s assuming both write the same subgenre, though, or at least something close.  And my 3 friends are going to pass out postcards for the last 2 anthos I was in at their signing, whether or not they manage to find a place where I’d be welcome. 

    So in situations like that, where authors can ensure that a bookstore can’t just sweep aside their expensive promotional materials, I’d say great!  However, just putting items out at a bookstore is a good way to ensure a lot of them will be swept aside or even pitched without being distributed.

    I like the idea of the virtual book tour, myself.  It means a little work as a contributing author, but well worth it.  Sounds something like a webring, and most of the authors I know who contribute to blogs are usually thrilled to have something to post that they don’t have to write! 

    Reviewers are a Good Thing, if it’s listed on a bookseller site.  IMO, the ‘buy’ factor is greater if readers see the review and have a way to purchase the book immediately.  Personally, I will see a title on a review site, think, ‘Gee, that sounds good’…and proceed to go book shopping or go to the library, only to realize that I’ve forgotten to write down the title or author and I’m reduced to wandering the aisles (virtual or otherwise) thinking, ‘Now, that was that book again…?’


  • Elizabeth says:

    Had one other thought on this topic that floated up from the back-brain.  A few months ago, I stumbled across a mention of how one author had promoted her self-published book and eventually gotten it picked up by a larger press.  Apparently, she did this by dint of amassing an amazing list of book clubs in surrounding cities (and she was in the Northeast, so she had some very big ones to choose from), contacting each of them, and asking them if they’d consider reading and reviewing her book.

    Apparently, she handled it quite professionally, and most of the book clubs were quite amenable.  Granted, the circle of candidates would be a little smaller for erotica, but I remembered your virtual book club, and I saw another mentioned for Kindle users last night.  Made me wonder if something similar might not be a good book sales boost, too.  Could get both reviews and sales!

    Granted, it’s a lot of legwork, but if you have an anthology, perhaps the authors in the collection could each do that in their area, or help out by finding/approaching other virtual book clubs?  Even if each author was able to connect with just one club, that’s at least an extra 6-10 sales apiece, maybe more. 

    I know that’s not even remotely what you were suggesting, but just wanted to share and see if it would help.

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