Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Self Promotion Basics: The Very Basic


Sometimes in this high-tech social media frenzied world we live in the most obvious low-fi thing is what works best. At our debut
Authors Unbound Event in June there were a number of people that none of the four authors knew in attendance. Could it be that some of our press push was successful? That would be awesome. And it was. Except that when the event was over, none of us knew how to get in touch with any of the newbies. Our friends dutifully printed out their Evite tickets, they were all accounted for, but save for the couple of people who emailed our individual websites, those new potential fans are lost forever. Later, it dawned on me, we should have had a simple pen and paper sign-in sheet by the cookies to get some info for our newsletter and collect names for future email blasts. And even though this is a series entrenched in the digital world-our mission being to provide authors who epublish events to share their work and connect with fans-an old school writing utensil and piece of paper will most certainly be at the next reading in October.
 I also work in promotion. Television promotion is my forte, but I have a real hard time promoting my work. I don't want to be one of those people whose every communication is "me, me, me. You're sweet buy my book. Please. Me." It makes me feel slimy. 
When I digitally published Momfriends in November of 2010, I had 2000 postcards printed up. The more I got the cheaper they were. I sent stacks off to friends in various parts of the country to put out where they deemed fit. After that, the remaining 1500 postcards sat in a box in the corner of my bedroom. My husband often reminded me to distribute them, but I always conveniently forgot.  When our family took a trip early this summer to Tennessee, he insisted that I bring a bunch of postcards and leave them around to publicize the book.
I didn't leave them anywhere.
But on our last day at a coffee shop in East Nashville (what seemed like the Brooklyn of Tennessee) he insisted. I couldn't bring myself to ask to leave them. It made me nervous. Thankfully, my husband wasn't having it. He grabbed them and put a bunch on a table with other people’s postcards.
That was June 1. I dread saying this, because I know I am jinxing myself but Momfriends has been having a really great summer, over a year and half after it came out. It can't simply be because of the postcards, but I think there is some merit in those things. I'm trying to diminish that pile in my corner and just get them out there. My husband reminds me constantly that wherever I go, I should have a stack. I'm starting to get that. The cool thing about postcards is leaving them is fast and anonymous. Drop and go. It’s kind of thrilling in a high school prankish way.
So these days I am trying to promote myself where I can and not do anything I regret. 
Oh and, um, thank you, Tennessee (and Mike).

What high or low fi things do you do to get more publicity? Are you wary of self-promotion? Any tips for what works best?

Ariella Papa is the author of Momfriends. She blogs at ariellapapa.com.

17 comments:

  1. It isn't easy Ariella--I have stacks of postcards in the basement too:). I try to think about my two or three hooks--in the case of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, they would be food, Key West, and mystery. Here are some of things I'm trying--and hope they work!

    Twitter--learn to use hashtags and retweet others
    Facebook fan page--this is slow going but publishers love it
    Sending books to foodies
    Mini blog tour
    Exchange bookmarks and promo with other similar authors
    Pinterest--creating boards for each of my books

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    1. I love the foodie idea. Can you do anything with Key West tourism?
      You should also check out bitly.com. You can track your click thrus. It's been really helpful

      Thanks for the comment.

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  2. "Later, it dawned on me, we should have had a simple pen and paper sign-in sheet by the cookies to get some info for our newsletter and collect names for future email blasts."

    Funny that we get so wrapped up in the digital world that we forget about pen and paper! (I'm right there with you as I'm looking into QR codes today.)

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    1. Yep. I thought about calling this post plain as the nose on my face. Sometimes we don't see it.
      Okay, what are QR codes?
      Thanks for the comment

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  3. Ah, the 6 million dollar question! I'm not sure what works, promotion wise, but I've learned over the last year not to sweat it. If I don't feel comfortable doing something, then I don't do it. If it feels right, then it's a green light. I think the most important part of marketing is be yourself and to establish genuine relationships with other authors and your fans.

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  4. Oh, and congrats on the success of Momfriends!

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    1. Thank you! I totally agree, you kind of can't fake it.

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  5. Ariella, love this! I have stacks of bookmarks laying around!! It's so hard distributing them, but I really do think it makes a difference.

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    1. It really does. And if you did it, you should use it! Plus it really is a little less embarrassing then a lot of the other "outreach".
      Thanks for your comment

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  6. I've never done the bookmarks/postcards thing. Can I borrow your husband?

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    1. Only for distribution and emotional support :)

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  7. It's funny because I felt similarly about the postcards, which I did not get around to doing with my second novel and wish I had. I also had business cards printed with the cover on the front..that way when I met someone who was interested in my writing, or in just getting in touch, I handed it off to them. And I agree with Maria that the most important thing is to do the kind of thing you enjoy doing and skip the rest. Truly, I hate self-promotion...though I don't mind promoting other people's work...

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    1. I know what you mean. It seems more sincere when I am promoting someone else.
      You should definitely do postcards for the next book, the business cards are a great idea.
      Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Postcards are genius! I'm totally getting them for my new novel about how the movie industry broke my heart, BLEAK. (Now, was that high fi or low fi or just shameless?) Congrats on the new reading series. It looks fabulous.

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    1. Thank you for your comment.
      And good luck with your novel.
      There certainly is a fine line.

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  9. Congrats--on the book and the fabulous husband. I'm finding the promotion thing so hard, and I used to be in the business. I agree with the comments about doing what feels right for you, and I love the idea of postcards. In fact…

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    1. You should go out and get them.
      Congrats on your book. I hope you are enjoying this time.
      And thanks for the comment. I do feel lucky about both!

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