By Patricia Gulley
My traditional mystery, Downsized To Death, came out April 1, and I am now in the midst of the hard part—promoting and marketing it. Not being published with a large New York publisher or even a small, fairly well know publisher, I have to do my own publicity and marketing. I started as soon as I knew my publication date, but was put off in many respects because there were no advance copies to send to reviewers. And then I found out that most reviewers would not do a review without a paper copy and wouldn’t do a review unless they received an ARC three months prior to publication. That was followed by the last let-down of not willing to review books that weren’t on the approved MWA list.
What’s a Girl To Do?
Well, I’m scouring the list of reviewers on Amazon that claim to be independent reviewers and/or do it for reading sites. Not much luck so far, you have to submit a request to most sites and wait for a reviewer to ask for your book. Others tell you to send a book and one of their reviewers will get to it. I’m sure that means, ‘hope someone wants to read it’. Other sites will simply list your name, book title and website.
Next is mentioning it on every list you belong to (which requires joining several more organizations and lists—and obviously reading them) to leave a BSP.
After that, comes the out-of-pocket expense of finding places to buy advertising. Yes, there are several of those and of course there are postcards and bookmarks and mailing them or finding places to distribute them. Bookstores are iffy, but libraries work and conventions and some conferences have goodie tables. That means planning to go to several cons, or finding people going to cons you can’t attend and getting them to take your bookmarks for you. That’s a nice little ‘bartering’ service I feel we should all volunteer to do. And, of course, there is trying to get interviewed on other blogs.
Then, because of my publisher’s way of doing things, comes the long wait to see my book on Amazon where there are several things to do that are very useful. Get an author’s page, get readers reviews from a few friends and get tags. Tagging is another ‘bartering’ service author friends should participate in.
I’m sure there are a few hundred more things I’m supposed to be doing, but I’m a little brain dead at the moment, so all suggestions are welcome.
Oh, and about that ‘best writing advice I’d ever received’? Well, it was simply “Ignore all Advice” given by a creative writing teacher, who said that after you’d taken as many classes as possible and sat down to write, let it all pour out, ignoring everything you’ve learned until the rewrite. Convoluted, I know, but since I believe in the ‘vomit’ approach—getting it all out and never rewrite until it is done—it seemed like good advice to me.
All comments welcome.