Friday, May 28, 2010

To promote or not to promote ...

On day two of This Writer's Life, I waste several hours mulling over the value of book promotion. I don't have the income to support attending conferences. I don't like Facebook and I don't understand Twitter.

There are cheap ways to promote oneself, I suppose. But I'd have to figure out what and how and where. The hours would fly by and I wouldn't get any writing done--the reason for all the promotion in the first place.

I'm not saying book promotion is not worth doing, but how much should a newly published writer devote to it if they have another book to write, kids to feed and money to earn? Some writers can work on planes or cram their writing in small spaces of time. I can't. I have a deep suspicion that the writers who can are very experienced and therefore better skilled. Much like a car mechanic can perform an oil change faster than I can. Experience grows skill.

As a writer once told me, your first book is your loss leader. It's out there, hopefully doing you proud, but it isn't the main event. The next book is. And then the next. The new author's reputation is built on good writing--not on how many bookmarks are handed out at Book Expo.

But don't take my word for it. Visit Donald Maass's site and download a free copy of his book The Career Novelist.

If you like to go to conferences and you have the time and money, enjoy! But if not, don't sweat it. For the new author the value of that investment is debatable in my opinion.

"Publishing is a very mysterious business. It is hard to predict what kind of sale or reception a book will have, and advertising seems to do very little good." Thomas Wolfe

Some writers come out of the gate like thoroughbreds and never look back. Others, not so much. For the newly published writer who is navigating book promotion, writing, money woes, and what happens next, this blog is for you.

I have no advice. We're in the same boat.

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