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PROMO! Does it work?

Ack! I’ve not done a blog in a while and I almost forgot. Well, I did forget, but I didn’t forget for long. But still, I LOVE having guests visit the blog. My credit card is hurting from all the books I’ve been snapping up by our guests. Good for them. Not so much for my hubbie 🙂

So on my mind today is promo. Mainly because I have to start thinking about it. My book comes out in less than two months, so it’s got me wondering “What makes you pick up a book?”

We’re writers and even if you aren’t pubbed, at some point you’ve got to wonder about marketing yourself and where you put your money and where you don’t.  So as someone facing this, I’ve been sorting through the possiblities of what would be best for me. And maybe you should wonder the same about yourself. Never too early to think about how you will market yourself and your writing.

 First off is thinking about your writing name. Are you going to go with your real name? Or take a writing name? I chose a writing name only because my kids are small and I wanted a seperation between writer and PTA mom.  But if you know you will write under a pen name, start using it early. That way you don’t lose any name recognition when you sell.

Brand? Do you have one of those? Something visual that goes with you? Or a motto? I elected (with the help of my website designer) to go with “Romance Through the Seasons” and use a tree as a visual. Haven’t really used it much, but still, I do have it on my website and new bookmarks.

Website? Do you have one? Do you need one? Once your pubbed, I say yes. Before then, I think a blog is stronger. But that’s my opinion. I think that blogs are a pretty good marketing tool as long as you can get traffic there. I think readers like to interact with you, and a blog allows for this.

Now, it comes down to promotional items. Here’s where I feel a little stuck. You can really pour some money into this….very quickly. I thought a good bit about it and just went the bookmark route. I’m planning on jazzing them up with a silk cord and few beads (so they look more valuable and don’t get automatically trashed). I’ll drop them by some local libraries. Send them to a few booksellers and use them as a card for people who ask about my writing. Otherwise, that’s all the money I’m really willing to spend.

So, let me ask you. What makes you buy the book? Does promo matter? Is it the cover? The blurb? The genre? The placement in the store?

Please share your ideas on promo, and maybe you’ll win a $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card.

11 Responses

  1. As a reader – I think promo does work. I have a box full of stuff I’ve gotten from authors (most of which are book marks) that I keep. I love getting some little something at book signings, it’s a nice touch.

    I am like you, all these guests have really taxed my wallet and i’ve gotten some really good books. I can’t wait to read yours.

    I think blog tours are a very effective way to get your name out there. I know several authors who have done that to promote their new books (Michele Hauf, Francis Stockton, Kate Douglas to name a few).

    Good luck with your book release.

  2. Hi, Liz! I have to agree with Heather–I think a blog tour (even a brief one) can really help get your name/book out there. I regularly add titles to my TBB based on “meeting” authors during visits and/or chats.

    If you don’t have a site, I think at least a very simple one would help. Nothing fancy, but at least current and regularly updated with your latest/upcoming books, a valid way of contacting you, and a list of places (real or virtual) that you’ll be in the near future. That way potential readers will know where to find you!

    And I think bookmarks are a tried and true promo item–I use and reuse bookmarks, and will slip them into books I lend or give to friends. I wouldn’t necessarily spend too much on promo items, unless there’s one thing that really ties into the theme of a book. In that case, it might be fun to host a contest that leads up to winning that as the grand prize. You could tie it into a bunch of other blog visits or a scavenger hunt or something else.

    As for what makes me buy a book, it’s usually having heard about the book from a friend or having “met” the author during a blog visit or chat. Once I’ve read one title and liked it, I tend to glom the rest of what an author’s written and will look for her stuff in the future. If I happen to be browsing at a real bookstore, I might pick up a book based on the cover, but if the blurb and flipping through it don’t pan out, it goes back on the shelf. And I tend to buy from my TBB rather than browse, especially on-line.

    It can’t hurt to hit local stores and see if you can sign their copies and turn them face out 🙂

    Best wishes, Liz! Looking forward to Vegas Two Step!

  3. Blog tours have introduced me to many new authors. I like to read the excerpts and blurbs to help me decide if I want to read the book. Sometimes I go to the author’s website to find out more. I don’t really pay attention to covers. Some of the best books I’ve read are multi-genre.

  4. I love receiving promo items from authors like bookmarks, pens and coverflats. The blurb is very important in my decision to purchase a book.

  5. Thanks, gals. Pretty interesting. I’m scheduled to do a couple of blogs in June. Maybe I should look for more? This whole sell yourself thing is hard for me. Your mom teaches you to be nice and not pushy; business teaches you the opposite. Guess I need to find middle ground.

    Now, how to find blogs that will let me in. 🙂

  6. I’m the odd one out on bookmarks. I just don’t use them or collect them. But I know many who do.

    Blog tour is a good idea. If you post an except, don’t go too long. Keep it short…an appetizer, not an entrée .

    Visit bookstores within driving distance. Sign their stock copies. Meet the store manager. Chat them up.

    Good luck. I know that I’m looking forward to your book.

  7. I read a lot of blogs, so that kind of promo definitely gets me to buy a lot of the books I buy. Hmm….Websites definitely help. When I find a book I’m interested in, I always go to the author’s wesite to check out her/his other books. Blogs are nice. You can keep your readers updated on your progress. Cover doesn’t have a lot of bearing, but the blurb does. I love bookmarks! But, you know, that may have something to do with the fact that I collect them 🙂
    Oh, and I think virtual blog tourls really get the word out.

  8. Thanks, I’m thinking I need to make sure I get on other blogs and have more online presence than sending bookmarks all over creation.

    Jeez, this is the hard stuff, but I appreciate your all sharing what works for you. It’s given me lots to think over.

    I’ll post the winner tomorrow. I’ll get my ten year old to pull it out of a hat just to be fair 🙂

  9. Yes, I think promo really works. I get a lot of book information from blogs and websites. I also collect bookmarks so these are great. When it comes to the actual book, I usually won’t buy a book for it’s name or cover. I read the blurb on the back to see if I think I will like it. I realize that most authors don’t get to keep their title and maybe don’t even get that much input on the cover so I try really hard not to judge a book that way. I’ve actually liked a lot of books that had lousy titles and cheesy covers. Hope this helps.

  10. I’m not big on bookmarks either. Usually when I get them, it’s at conference when I’m given a ton.

    Biggest sure way to get me to buy your book, be my friend. 🙂 You think I’m joking, but since I’ve joined Twitter and Romance Divas, the amount of books I buy has shoot up. I love buying my friends books! I can’t wait for the day someone asks me for a suggestion in a store and I pick up a friend’s book and can say, “This is a good friend of mine and she’s totally awesome”

  11. I think promo helps a lot. I have had a lot of people ask me about my website. Of course, I don’t have it anymore, so I use Facebook. Facebook helps a lot! That makes 2300 people who have seen my name and my book, and it’s still growing. Then, blogging helps too because that is a chance for the reader and other writers to get to know the author. Business cards also come in handy. I take them with me everywhere I go.

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