Thursday, April 2, 2015

no book, nothing to promote by Terry Burns

I hear that a lot.

"I can't do a website, I don't have a book to promote."
"I can't go talk to groups, I don't have a book to promote?"
"I can't be interviewed, I don't have a book to promote."
And on and on . . .

Actually if we wait until we have a book to promote before we start trying to build some name identification and get some visibility, we are way behind the curve. By the time we manage to get our name out there the peak selling season for our new release may be over.

Not to mention the fact that "platform" is now very important to publishers of all sizes when deciding what to acquire. It used to be that platform was only important in non-fiction books and it still is a primary factor there, but these days it is important in fiction as well. I've gotten responses on a lot of submissions that said it was a good book and well written, but the author has no platform.

Did you get that? BEFORE they even take on the book they are wanting to see an author with some sort of following or some sort of name identification.

The famed showman P.T Barnum said "I don't care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right." There have been convicted felons elected to office strictly because the name sounded familiar to people. For people browsing bookstores name familarity is one of the largest purchasing factors. Name recognition is huge.

How do we get it? Social media? Attending conferences and events? Developing topics and seeking places to speak? Family? Churches and organizations we attend? Having a website and a blog? Yes! All of the above and anything else that will get out name out there.

I think it is a waste of time trying to figure out what is good publicity and what isn't working for us. Like P.T Barnum said, the key is to get all the visibility we can get. We never know WHAT put our name on a readers mind when our book is out there and they finally see it, just that they recognized the name and picked it up. Nobody can buy a book without first being attracted by the name or the cover and picking it up.

And one of the easiest ways to get our name out there is to visit other people's blogs AND LEAVE A COMMENT, preferably something that will cause someone to take note of you. Same thing on social media. We shouldn't just follow people but should make comments on posts that interest us.

Sure, this can use up valuable writing time, but it's an advance payment on your book by getting name recognition now. When is the right time to start doing this? At least ten years ago, but if we haven't started until now . . . now will have to do.


Author Carey Ann Kramer said...

Great article! I seem to excel on booking things without having book in hand. I like to connect with people and hope I can still book myself when I do have book in hand! :) It's definitely hard to get started. I think if I can just focus on moving forward and being persistent I will get to where I am going. I still have not locked in someone to wear my Bunnycakes:The Bunny with Big Dreams mascot costume for Saturday. Hopefully small frustrations, will pan out big rewards. Maybe they will remember me!

Jim Hart said...

Great advice. Unfortunately I also see too many proposals that contain nothing for a marketing plan or solid details on the writer's platform. And when brought to their attention too often the response is "I'll wait until my book is published to start promoting it." And in the meantime publishers are telling us that often they go right to the author bio when reviewing a new proposal.

Rick Barry said...

Good points, Terry. You reminded me of the conference where a lady stepped into the session by Jim Rubart and then blurted, "Oh, Marketing? I have nothing to market yet." She backed out and closed the door. Jim seized that moment to point out she had done the exact wrong thing, because when she finally does have something to market, she won't know what to do.

Linda Glaz said...

So important to get on this right away. I'm turning away some awesome projects because the author isn't even on FB

Alison Bryant said...

Thanks so much for this, Terry. As far as the blogging/website part of the platform, I've found this episode of the Novel Marketing podcast to be helpful:
I've been experimenting with the strategies they suggest.

Wendy L. Macdonald said...

Thank you, Terry, for reminding us how important it is to be social on social media. I've met some wonderful people through various sites where I've both received and given encouragement. God cares about people--and that's the best example for us to follow.

Easter blessings ~ Wendy ❀

Terri Tiffany said...

I really believe most if my sales from my first book came from those people who knew me from social media and the relationships I've been building over the years.

Deborah Dee Harper said...

Awesome, thought-provoking post, Terry. Thanks :-)


Lilly Sanders Ubbens said...

This is such helpful advice!