50 ways to promo

I have to say that the idea of promoting VENUS ENVY is kind of nothing short of terrifying to me.

I’m afraid of not having enough money to spend (or spending too much on unnecessary things), not doing the right things, not being outgoing enough or clever enough. I admire what other people do, at the same time cringing because I really don’t want to do what they do. I just want to admire how they do it.

Last night was my friend Jane Porter’s launch party for her new book FLIRTING WITH FORTY. (Can’t wait to read my copy, since her last chick lit, THE FROG PRINCE, was fantastic!). Jane’s launch parties are a blast…starting with a brief reading from her book, then a question and answer session, a signing, and then a trip to a fun restaurant owned by her friends in Bellevue, Ooba Tooba, filled with fun and drinks and friends and fab food…and math professors playing Hawaiian music. Total blast!

Do NOT want to do this for myself.

Why? I’m not a party-thrower. Never have been. Never will be. I’m happy to attend someone else’s party, but have no desire to throw my own. And really, in the grand scheme of things, while there ARE authors who do throw fantastic launch parties, it is really rare. So, I’m not the lone party pooper in the launch party game.

So, after spending quite a while talking last night to another good friend, Susanna Carr (Love the launch parties if only for the fact that I get to meet up with other writers I don’t get to see very often!), we were talking about our lack of enthusiasm for promo and publicity. It was interesting to get another author’s perspective.

I know authors who do TONS to promote their books, and I know authors who seem to do nothing… and are still successful.

Driving home last night my Darling Daughter said to me, “Geez, Mom. You were leaping up and down every two seconds to go say hi to someone new. How do you know all these people?”

I thought about it a minute, and then laughed remembering my friends at the RWA National Conference last year commenting, “Who knew Shannon was such a social butterfly?” because I was constantly stopping to say hello to someone. And, really, I am not the social butterfly type. I am perfectly happy staying at home. I don’t really care for going out dancing or going to bars. I’m a homebody who is completely happy in this element.

But I can hold my own in social situations if need be. I can PRETEND to be at ease, even when I’m really not or would prefer to be back at home by myself.

I come by this naturally, I think. My dad is a social butterfly (in a really masculine sort of way, though). I remember almost every camping trip/family outing being punctuated by the rest of the family wandering ahead, only to stop and ask, “Where’s Dad?” Only to discover he was still about a half mile behind us talking to whatever new friend he had just made.  He talked to anybody and everybody. And still does. I think I’m like him in that manner…only just when it comes to my writing life. In real life, just tend to keep to myself.

I realized, on thinking about it this morning, though, that I DO have my own way of promoing my book. And it’s a damn good way, if I do say so myself.

I do it by being accessible. By being friendly. By remembering someone’s name I met once at a chapter meeting because I went up to them to say hello and to welcome them to the chapter. By dashing off a quick and friendly e-mail note to another author or aspiring author or reader I “meet” online.

Then, I try to make sure I connect with them in person if I see them. I keep a list, even, sometimes of people I want to meet.

Today, it occurred to me that THAT is my promo. This is where I will excel in promoting VENUS ENVY…word of mouth. Being accessible and friendly so people remember me and want to go buy my book.

Of some of the people I’ve met and made sure to say hello to last night, I’ve made connections with someone who frequently sends me promotional ideas (she does some promotions and research for authors) when she finds something new and exciting. One person reviews books and offered to review and write a promotional quote for VENUS. One is a writer whose first book is coming out the same month as VENUS and she wants to set up a booksigning with me.

I’m getting myself out there. But in my own way.

Will I sell more books than the author who launches her books, does radio spots, sends out press kits, signs books at every bookstore in the greater Pacific Northwest, and/or has the cutest promo items ever? I don’t know, but time will tell.

But, I think the value of creating a network of great friends has just as much potential as putting a stack of bookmarks on a table for a bunch of strangers to pick up. 

Oh, and on one last note, my first nonfiction article came out today! Check it out HERE.

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