Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Few Things I Haven't Tried

No, I haven't wrestled a potential buyer to the ground until they cry uncle and promise to buy my book!

Nor have I held a gun on someone and threatened to shoot them unless they ordered my latest release.

And I certainly haven't resorted to kidnapping and ransom.

But I have been plugging along at writing and promoting since 2002. Someone smart told me that long before you book becomes published, you need to get your name out in the public's eye. I maintained and promoted a website long before my manuscript became a novel. I also used a tag line in my email signature to advertise my coming release. I ordered business cards with my website and email and left them in various places.

Since then I've done everything humanly possible to encourage readers to try my work. I belong to every 'strangely named' group associated with writing, I blog, I tweet, I plurk, and sometimes I want to scream and yell. I've given away countless numbers of downloads, in hopes that recipient will be so impressed, they'll make a public appearance on Oprah and recommend my book. I've even sent Oprah a copy of my short humorous, but never heard back. I'm certain it got as far as the round file in her aid's office.

I've joined critique groups to enhance my skills, traveled to Nashville to share ideas with other authors, started an author's group locally, but got dissed by a mainstream author who never heard of Internet Publishing. Has she been in a cocoon?

The stigma associated with e-publishing has got to lift eventually. For whatever reason, there are throngs of people who believe that if you are published by an e-pub, it's only because they'll publish everything submitted. There are those who will, and they have given the legitimate houses a bad reputation. Readers need to appreciate that most of us have jumped through hoops and fought frustration to get where we are. I'm pretty darn proud of my accomplishments, whether or not you can find my books in a real store or not. Dang it! I'm a published author and I dare anyone to defy it.

I'm resorting to everything I can thing of at this point. My latest trick was putting MY bookmarks in Nora Robert's books in Walmart. I keep expecting a knock on the door from the book police, but so far so good. I hope Nora doesn't mind. I also left a few post cards featuring my book covers and a blurb in the pockets of clothing in various department stores. Doctor and Dental offices, banks, and waiting rooms where people gather is always a good place to deposit promotion items. People love pens! I have a ton with my name, website, and my tag line, Spice Up Your Life With Ginger!

So...I'm hosting this today, looking for new and LEGAL ways to promote and market my work. Cheap is always good, because money is an issue for all of us. So...readers....what can we do to snag your attention?


Victoria Dixon said...

Neat post, Ginger! I think I'll point some friends your way.

I've started a blog, ( website (, which also features my husband's book covers and will eventually display his impressive computer graphics) AND a Yahoo group for Authors of Asian Novels ( Oh, and I'm a rabid facebook reader. Some of this will get cut back when I stop researching and start writing again. :)
I've done all of this within the last six months.
I'm still looking for an agent. When I get one, then I'll make things interesting.

Victoria Dixon said...

Woops! I forgot to tell you what entices me to read a book. Despite everything my mother has always told me, I DO judge a book by its cover. The cover art tips me off to how serious the publisher was about the book and also what the book's about. After I see the cover, I'll read the book description and maybe a few author blurbs. A friend may also entice me to pick up a book. Of course, author names that I trust will also grab my attention. All of that said, if you left a bookmark with a stunning cover image and a great blurb in front of me, yeah, that might work. I'd at least check out Amazon reviews and see what others said.

glenys said...

Great post, Ginger - glad to see you're keeping your sense of humour! (You were joking about the kidnapping, gun point sales, etc., weren't you?) Sometimes this whole promo thing takes so much from writing time that I wonder about starting a PR company instead of being an author! Sorry I don't have any ideas to add to the wonderful things you're already doing - just remember, when it seems really hard, a reader will come along and say :"I loved your book! I couldn't put it down!" and it all feels better.
Doesn't it?

Melissa said...

Hey Ginger :)

As a reader as well as a writer, what sells me on a book isn't the cover, its what the book is about. If the excerpt doesn't hook me, forget about it - lost cause. Sure, I'll listen to the advice of friends whose opinion I trust, but, and this is a big but (not unlike my own) they really do have to have very similiar reading habits and never have steered me wrong. One bad recommendation and you'll find me standing in a bookstore reading half the book before committing - with an ebook you don't have that luxury. Instead you have to haunt Yahoo lists and hope that the author uses more than one excerpt to get a good feel for the novel they are promoting. That has always been a good sales pitch for me - keep things fresh, mix it up. Don't use the same promo bit all the time, people get sick and tired of the same teaster, if they are interested but not 100% sold on spending, push them over by sharing another decadent slice. Treat your work like M&Ms give out a small trail, when they have to have more point them to the buy button and offer an apology, after all, three different teasers is all you can give away for free...

AnneMarie Brear said...

The cover is the first thing that I notice, obviously because it's the first thing you see, but the blurb will tell me if it is a book I'll enjoy and then I'll flip through the book to see if it's written in first or thrid persopn past or present tense.

I don't think there is a magic formula for promoting your books. I wish there was!
Word of mouth is good and I've found doing author talks helpful.

Jen Black said...

I've mentioned you on my blog today, Ginger, so you might get a few new faces. Seems only fair since I'm going to read all your promo ideas...

Jen Black said...

First thing to attract is the genre. I usually hunt for the right genre first, then look for authors I know, then check out the covers for one that appeals to my particular taste. I don't mean I'm particular - perhaps I should have said my personal taste. It might be a colour, a scene, anything except - and I have to say this - I've put loads of possibly v good books back on the shelf because I won't carry half naked people out of a bookshop, especially not if they've got a death grip on each other. Just can't bring myself to do it. Turns me off instead of on. Quaint, huh?

Kayden McLeod said...

Miz Ging.... I LOVE YOUR POST! Wicked stuff, this. Keep up the excellent work! Hmmm, is now debating going to walmart and department

Skhye said...

LOL, Ginger. You're not alone! You should see the free food and goodies at the booksignings Melinda and I have. Throw in the door-prize gift basket, and it's madness. Dare I say I've been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome? LOLLLLLLL

Unknown said...

Good attitude! Keep it up.

Promo is so hard and time consuming (for me, anyway). I always want to find new ways to do it.



I understand that authors has to do promotions and try to get their books out to the public. The excerpt make me buy a books most of the time.


Historical Writer/Editor said...

Hello, now those are some interesting ideas! I'm not a natural when it comes to promoting. It's the hardest part for me as a writer. When my mom was writing, writers only had to focus on that aspect. Marketing used to be for others to deal with. I wish you the best with this. -Laura H.

Anonymous said...

Here's something you probably shouldn't try... putting your cards and bookmarks in libraries without permission.
I clean up every night and all those things go in the trash...people leave business cards in the lobby, on the shelves, by the computers... it's a mess.
Our lobby materials are pre-approved at the main office, and don't reflect what our own branch would choose or not choose to display. We have a list, and if it's not on our list, it goes straight to the trash.
Just a heads up for you or anyone with a personal business to promote.

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