Promotion. Look it up. “An activity that supports or provides active encouragement for the furtherance of a cause, venture, or aim.” Or more to the point – “the publicization of a product so as to increase sales or public awareness”. In this case, the product is a book. My latest novel, Attachment Patterns, is being released by Austin-Macauley Publishing at the end of this month, April 28th to be precise, and guess what? I have no idea how to promote it. Why? Because I don’t have any idea as to how to promote anything. I never have.
In the nineteen seventies and eighties I worked in the theatre: Off-Broadway and regional. When plays were produced the theatres promoted them. They created a subscription audience; they advertised in the newspaper, there were occasional features in the local Sunday arts section. More importantly, if the reviews and word of mouth on the play were pretty good, seats got filled. Through the eighties, nineties and early 2000s I wrote for the film business. Studios and production companies had entire international divisions dedicated to the promotion and marketing of their movies and I don’t remember the screenwriter ever being a part of the process. A publicist? Wasn’t that for movie stars? In 2015, my first novel, The Tragic Age, was released by St. Martins’ Press. They were an established publisher. Surely they knew what they were doing when it came to marketing and promotion. The early reviews were quite good and so I sat back and waited for the book tour, and the talk shows. They never happened. I was told that “the times they are a’changin’”. Promotion and marketing were apparently becoming more internet and social media focused. Translation? I was expected to do something to build an audience myself. Me? Were you kidding? At the time, I didn’t even have a Facebook account. My second novel, The Practical Navigator, was published by St. Martins in 2017 and leery of their seemingly nonexistent marketing machine, this time, I decided to use some of my advance to hire a publicist. Who did practically nothing. At one point I drove up to a Barnes and Noble in Orange County to do a book signing for 7 people. Another time I went to a book convention near LA where the entire place was filled with authors throwing their work at one another. Oh, and then there was the LA interview I did for a “youth media website”. Let me tell you, it’s a great experience when the juvenile delinquent doing the interview hasn’t read your book. It’s now 2023, here I am with another book coming out and guess what? I am still a complete on-line dunce. Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. might as well be UFOs in my universe. Terms like networking, bookmarking, media sharing, microblogging, and online forum sites might as well be words in a foreign language. Should I know about these things? Is it worth it to take the time to learn? Yes, probably. It does seem these days that having a “reading audience” is about the author’s on-line presence as much as it is their work. Thankfully I have a friend or two I can turn to for some help. Oh, and I’ve received a “Top Tips to Self-Promote” package from the publisher – how thoughtful. But in the meantime, just know I’ll keep sending out these silly blurbs with the hope you might read and SHARE!! them. And if you’re on my email list, you can expect to hear from me – maybe twice. Attachment Patterns – spread the word!
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