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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Lainey Bancroft

Promotion Or Procrastination?

For an e-published or small press author, promotion can often feel like an uphill battle. Some days it can even seem like a straight vertical climb on a slippery surface. Without massive distribution and a whopping promotional budget from a publisher with deep pockets—and let’s face it, who gets that these days?—the majority of new authors, both small press and New York published, are pretty much left to their own devices.

Where do you begin? With all or at least the majority of your distribution through online venues, it only makes sense to focus your efforts on finding readers who are online.

A good first step is a website. When you build a web presence, you can choose something as simple as a free blog through Blogger or Word Press, or register an actual domain and design a unique home on the web.

Now you have a lovely place in cyber space; how are you going to make people visit? Having a blog with up to date information helps, but it is a time investment. To gain blog guests, you should reciprocate, exchanging links and building a relationship with readers. The people who comment on my blog have become dear friends to me, and I look forward to checking their updates regularly.

Is a blog and website enough? I know with each new release my sales increase, and I see small spikes in older releases as well, but I decided it was time to network beyond my own corner. MySpace. Fourteen hundred friends, and a few of them I even know! You can send bulletins about great reviews or new releases, but it has the same catch as a blog. To build a rapport you must interact. Finding all those cute graphics to say “Thinking of You” and “Happy Easter” chips away at computer time. Plus, I’ve had some scary MySpace connections, (although it is fun to get messages from guys who want to put me on their hawt girlz list—junior, I could be your mother!)

Facebook is more adult, right? I’m connected with readers, other authors, family I haven’t seen in years and it’s a one page deal where I can respond to other people’s updates without clicking all over and having strange graphics and blaring music assault my senses. Great! Ooh, look at those sweet pictures of my cousin Pat’s new grandbaby... And another hour of writing is shot.

Toss in a couple of ning networks, a few forums for authors, a Yahoo chat loop—or lots of them—and some days I really have to ask myself, am I promoting or just procrastinating? Because I firmly believe the best promotion for my current books is putting out another book that is even better than the last!

How about you? Do you have a professional self-promotion style, or do you sometimes just fear you’re surfing the web and socializing?


Sandy James said...

Promo? Time suck!! But a necessary thing for a writer, especially small press/epub. I hit all the things you suggest, but I have to temper that or I'd never find time to write.

lainey bancroft said...

So true, Sandy. It is a necessary evil, but some days I do feel more like I'm socializing...preaching to the choir and all that...

Kathleen O said...

Good blog. These are valuable items for any up and coming writer to take note of..