<Looks around!> Wow! <Fangirl squee!> <Thud!>
What am I doing here, on this blog, with people that I admire for their strong characters, their ability to give me a vacation from life, for making me think?
Got me. I’m not famous. Not as a writer, anyhow. Now, if you are into dogs or plants, but this blog has nothing to do with any of that.
So here I am, surrounded by those I admire. And stalk. I go to their signings, I follow their pages and blogs and tweets. I want to know more about them. How do they get their ideas? Where do they work? What famous person did they model their characters after?
I want to be the one that finds out what happens in the next book before anyone else.
Boy, that IS stalkerish.
I could stalk, though, if I didn’t know about all these great authors. Where does anyone find out about these amazing books? Publishers aren’t doing a lot of promo anymore. The internet is swamped with blogs about everything from making a good cup of tea to how to tie a fly. Which sounds kind of kinky, but isn’t. The library may carry the book, but where is it hidden? The brick and mortar stores are becoming coffee shops with a few books and a lot of games.
The Internet is filled with more eBooks than the Library at Alexandria, and coming from a stalker fan, most wouldn’t worth the paper they weren’t printed on.
So, how does anyone get known without being known in the first place? In the late 1990’s I became involved in a new scheme for marketing. They’d send me something interesting, and I’d try it and tell people about it. The company would have me write reviews for each encounter, and I’d get more points for better promotions. It was the beginning of formalized Word of Mouth advertising. I’ll tell you, I received some amazing things, as well as some that were awful. I was totally honest about each item, and ended up at the top of the Bzzagent hive.
In the interim, social media took off, and I was drawn into ‘street teams’ for writers I’d learned about from well-known authors. Those authors would actually write back to us, sharing bits of their new works, or offer small prizes for bringing new readers into the fold. I wrote reviews, I talked to my friends, and I mentioned them on my social media sites.
Suddenly, the authors were overnight sensations. The books may have been out for a while, but suddenly their names were out there. More street teams popped up, driven by street cults. I was suddenly a Grimlet, a Moxie, a Tart, and a Beast Claw. I did what I adore: share what I love with my friends, who are like-minded. Who knew that English Springer Spaniel breeders love Urban Fantasy?
The teams hand out bookmarks, vote with intense fervor for favorite boyfriends, most kickass hero, and most bitable cheeks. No, I didn’t make that up, I just didn’t vote. The teams looked for blogs with the contests and told the other members to vote, and publicize.
They wrote, they reviewed; they pushed their favorite writer’s into the spotlight.
That’s step one.
Second, blog tours. I hear you: how many times can you answer the same question, over and over and over again? How many books do you want people to read?
The blog questions might be the same, but it doesn’t mean you have to answer them the same way. Your characters are pretty popular—let them talk for you.
Prewrite blogs when you have the time. What did you do on vacation? What do you eat? More importantly, what do YOU READ? Keep them for when you’re under deadline and still have PR to do.
One warning; be careful who you recommend. I don’t own a specific writing blog, but I do recommend books on my Facebook pages and people do read them. A lot of people read my page. I suggested someone’s book I hadn’t read because she asked. Boy, I wish I hadn’t. Two of my friends wrote to me saying they didn’t understand how I could have enjoyed her book, it was poorly written and the editing was awful. I had to come clean, say it wasn’t a friend, I did it as a favor and will never post again if I didn’t truly enjoy the book. I won’t review a book unless it’s five stars. I won’t finish a book unless it’s worth five stars. And now my secret is out, all sorts of friends of mine are going to know why I never wrote a review.
Okay, so you don’t have time for blogging and setting up street teams. More WOM (word of mouth). Ask. Faith Hunter pushed me into doing something I was already doing for her. I forced her to start a street team, and when I didn’t like the scheduling of her blogs, I found someone on her team that knew how to do it. Thank goodness. She’s another Beast Claw, who coincidently happens to live nearby. She’s meticulous. I’m insane. A marriage made over paper. Let’s Talk Promotions started.
I guess that’s why I’m here, surrounded by people that I truly admire. Well, that, and to mention ‘George Knows’ is coming out in paperback at the end of May from MuseItUp. My publisher is tiny, my name non-existent, and George is an egotistical basset hound familiar. Not exactly best-seller material.
Yet he came out number 5 under children’s books dogs, and number 33 for all children’s books on Amazon. The people who bought him also bought Darynda Jones, Faith Hunter, and Ilona Andrews. Guess who helped pimp my book?
I’m intrigued by where this is going. I want to know if George will do better or worse in paperback. I want to know how far I can get the word out. I want to know how many more coffee-dogwashes I can do signings at. After all, Tillie’s Tale is coming out next.
I did mention I’m the crazy half of Let’s Talk?
I’ve worked in a hazardous waste lab, where under the sign for the Right To Know law, was added: if you can figure it out. I’ve been a metals tech, a bakery clerk, a professional gardener, and taught human anatomy and ran two university greenhouses. Along the way I picked up my Master’s Degree in Biology, specializing in the population genetics of a phallic flowered endangered plant. I am also a top breeder, handler, trainer of English springer spaniels, with three generations in the equivalent of the National Club’s (ESSFTA) hall of fame. Every time I think I know dogs, another dog comes along and proves my beliefs are totally wrong. The Muddy Paws Pack lets me think I’m the alpha while walking right over me. If it wasn’t for my Tall Dude, I don’t know where I’d be. Someone needs to be kennel help.
Now I’m a partner with Let’s Talk Promotions (http://www.ltpromos.com). I’m also bullied by an egotistical magical basset who thinks my springers are dumb. He insists that since I sort of understand dogs, he’d make do and use my fingers to tell his stories. The first was George Knows, the second will be Tillie’s Tale, both are paranormal midgrade mysteries, likened to Nancy Drools. My first short story, Zombies, A Love Story, was published by Pill Hill as part of their anthology, Rotting Tales. The peer reviewed American Journal of Botany published my article Morphological and Genetic Variability In Plantago cordata, a Threatened Aquatic Plant, as well as contributing to other articles in other botanical references, textbooks and Dog Fancy.