What were the difficulties you faced in promoting your books?
Balancing enough promotion to let readers know of the books and being careful not to constantly mention my own writing. We Scots (and Brits) are often discouraged from ‘blowing our own trumpet’ too much, yet e-books have to be promoted or they disappear from view, especially amongst the thousands of books on Amazon.
What are the main methods and ways you follow to spread the word about your books?
Social media such as Facebook, twitter, blogs, and writers’ and publishers’ yahoo forums. Also occasional sites like Humanmade. With my first novel, I was lucky enough to get some mentions in local newspapers and the UK Writers’ News which has a section for members’ news. It sometimes helps if I have a short story published in a magazine as it gets my name to a different audience. I’m also a member of several writing associations.
One thing I love to do when a book is released is to have an online party launch, usually on my blog but also involving FB. I invite all online contacts and make it fun and interactive. So far, I haven’t done any proper blog hops as I prefer to spread promotion out a little.
Do you have a certain routine you follow (for example, daily things to do for that purpose)?
I try to post on FB and twitter once or twice a day, but some of that is general chat and not specifically about my books – to generate friendships rather than always be promoting. I try to update my main blog once or twice a week with general news, market information or interviews/posts from other authors. I also keep my website up to date with all writing news and success. My book covers are always on the side of blogs and website.
How much of your time do you spend to promote your books and how much time for writing? and do you think that the efforts you spend in spreading the word about your books takes you from your passion for writing?
In general, I struggle with doing enough promotion for the reasons above, as it doesn’t come naturally! I aim to have a presence on blogs and social media to keep my name out there, but don’t aggressively promote – trying to be more organised and consistent than I am at the moment. I enjoy the social media side from the point of all the online friends I’ve made but I still don’t really enjoy promotion. I think it has to be rationed as it does indeed take away both passion and time for writing. But I would miss the online contact now without it, although I still think word of mouth and personal appearances/talks are a good way to promote books.
To what extent you feel you were successful?
It varies very much, sometimes according to how much I specifically mention my books. Again, I do think that mentions from other people are more successful than constantly promoting ourselves. One thing that did improve sales was getting another book out – each seems to help the other as perhaps readers seek out another book by the same author if they’ve enjoyed the first. I make it more difficult for myself by writing both adult and children’s – I use a slightly different version of my first name for the two genres: Romy for adult romance and Ros for children’s!
To what extent do you use social networking sites? and can you consider it primary in promotion?
I think I may have answered this already! Because my books are published in ebook form first, social networking is probably the most important promotion tool. This includes being on other writers’ blogs and occasional promotion sites. Facebook and twitter are excellent for keeping an online presence and making friends or contacts. I’ve also started using Pinterest but probably need to use it more effectively. Many people find Goodreads a very useful site but although I’m on there, I don’t use it effectively enough.
What are your recommendations for people who share the same talent with you?
I first of all recommend a website or blog, or both. A website is essential for showing an overview of all that you do as a writer which is useful if a new publisher or editor wants to check you out. A blog, on the other hand, allows a frequent updating of news, chat, and general information and is a great way of making online friends and contacts. I began my blog while I was a freelance writer, before being a published novelist, and I try to include some information or links that might be of interest to other writers.
I would advise setting up an Author Page on Amazon (UK and US) through author central as this allows you to bring all your books together on one page. You can also post a photo, video and blog links.
Social media in the form of FB and twitter is useful for all writers, but only if it still allows enough time for writing. One of my friends is a very successful, traditionally published crime writer and does very little social media as she takes time to do lots of personal book signings, library talks and visits to groups instead. Perhaps this is the main difference between print publication and ebooks for authors.
Any final words regarding promotion for writers?
I think it’s important to be yourself when promoting books, as people want to get to know a real person and not just a name at the end of a promotion. It’s even better if you can offer something to other writers, in the form of interviewing them, mentioning their books, or sharing market information and links. Writers are readers too and we can help each other in a very competitive market. My eyes glaze over when I see a constant stream of personal promotion from an author on twitter and I tend to end up ignoring it. As I said, it’s difficult getting that balance right!
humanmade.net would like to thank Rosemary Gemmell for taking the time to share with us these valuable information, insights and experience in promoting her writings.