#WW Wisdom Wednesday – Why Publicity Counts
Let’s go back a few years, shall we? Back when we first discovered our passion for writing. For some of us, we were but wee brains, barely understanding the compulsion to create stories and fashion narratives. Others have explored their storytelling talents as adults and found the joy of writing with an all-consuming passion that was unexpected.
Regardless of how you started writing, I’m going to make a wild guess that none of us – not a one – considered all the public relations work that would be required to make our dream a reality. How many of us envisioned ourselves slaving away on Twitter? Dreaming up engaging posts for Facebook? Developing tone-appropriate posts for blogs – both our own and others? Filling out the endless author questionnaires and interview questions that at times make us question our talent, rather than proud of our accomplishments?
Being an author is not for wimps. After the writing and self-editing are complete, we begin the cover design, editing and proofreading, and finally, we reach the blessed publishing day…surely the battle is won. We’ve come this far. Finally, we can sit back and revel in the fruits of our labors.
Not so fast, my friend. Now the hard work truly begins: marketing your novel. For those of us for whom the word “marketing” sends shivers down your spine, you aren’t alone. Many of us steer clear of anything involving selling, and terms like “PR” and “building platform” send our introverted souls into hiding. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Creating your own author brand and marketing your books can actually be <gulp> fun. Think I’m a lunatic? Read on, fair writer, read on.
- Shifting mindsets – Marketing can seem like a terrifying prospect, until you put it in its place. Why do you write? For your own edification? It’s perfectly okay to say yes to that! But we publish our writing because we want to reach others. We desire that soul-deep communication with the imagination that only a good book can truly satisfy. Which means… marketing your brand is simply another way to communicate with your audience. You’ve enraptured them with your books, and now they have a method to let you know that. In turn, you have a way to show them your appreciation and let them know when your next novel is available for their pleasure.
- Shifting priorities – In the same vein, engaging in social media will need to become a priority in your professional life. If you have dreams of making your writing a primary or secondary career, consider this part of the package. The good news: it’s never been easier to jump into the social media pool. There’s plenty of help out there to manage it all, including applications like Hootsuite, Buffer, and JustUnfollow. And there are also services you can hire, like Badass Marketing, who will take over the dirty work so you can shine – and have more time to write (shameless personal plug, that one).
- Shifting focus – The world of publishing and author PR has changed greatly, but one thing you can be sure of: it will only continue to evolve. As it does, so must we adjust and ride its new waves. The pressure to be the lone wolf working on the next Pulitzer-Prize-worthy novel is gone. In its place is a wide world of interconnection and interaction. While there are challenges, the benefits far outweigh them. Never before has it been so easy not only to be a published author, but also to be able to earn an excellent living by doing so and cut your own path.
Book publicity and author branding can be intimidating, but as you step your toe into the waters, you may find it to be quite comfortable – maybe even pleasantly warm. Join in the fun, and let me know what you discover. There’s plenty of us out there to answer any questions you may have.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on building your own author platform. What has been your experience?
About Ally Bishop
That’s what I tell people all the time. And it’s true.
I get story. I always have. I started writing when I was 8, on a Smith Corona (the electronic kind — I’m not THAT old). I wrote stories in every spiral notebook I had. Eventually, I graduated to a Mac (yes, I’m one of THOSE people). I imagined new worlds, emotional conflicts, and HEAs while I waited at stoplights or wandered the grocery store. But here’s the thing: I didn’t just dream it up and write it down — I critiqued what I read. I knew when ideas were good, and when they stunk. I ran writing groups, judged creative contests, and eventually, got two graduate degrees in writing. That’s right: I love it that much.
What makes me a good editor is, ironically, what makes me good as a publicist, too. Because when I read a good story, one that others will love and want to read, I know it. And then I can’t shut up about it. I want to scream it from the rooftops, because it’s amazing, and everyone — EVERYONE — needs some awesome in their life. So when I commit to your work, it’s because I know it will rock readers’ worlds, and that awesome deserves an audience.