Self Promotion—Not My Strong Suit.
Writing is a difficult job, perhaps because I don’t yet see it as a job. It’s something I’ve done in my spare time for thirteen years, but I don’t get a paycheck or performance evaluations, so it’s hard for me to judge the value of my work. I also find it uncomfortable talking about my writing. It took years to admit I wanted to be a writer and even longer to admit I wanted to write novels. And now that my first book is about to be published, I should be promoting it, but I’m not sure how to go about it.
By day, I’m a radiographer and a mammographer. I went to school to do what I do. I received training. I took registry exams and passed so, I feel qualified to do what I do. And at work, there are expectations. If I don’t meet them, I’m told what the problem is and what I have to do to fix it. I don’t get that with my writing. I’m more or less on my own. For now.
Since my first book doesn’t come out until May 28, there are no reviews. Yet. No royalty checks. Nothing to tell me if I did a good job or not. Only my editor and critique partners have told me I have a good story. And while I trust their judgment, I’m dying for some encouragement at this point in my career. So where do I get it?
As a previously unpublished writer, I found invaluable support and help by joining the RWA (Romance Writers of American) and my local chapter. I also found three fabulous critique partners through my local chapter. Critique partners gave me viable suggestions and encouraging feedback. I lost one critique partner when she moved away and the other critique partner became a multi-published novelist who still gives me moral support when needed.
I also attempted to enter a couple of contests early on, but I quickly learned that contests aren’t for me.
For some reason, my scores ranged from very good to horrible. Inevitably I’d end up with some bitter judge who obviously felt like a failure herself as a writer, and she’d work out her demons on my entry. With such contradicting scores and vast discrepancies in judging, I had no idea if I was on the right track or not. And with the judges’ inconsistencies and scores, I couldn’t figure out how to glean the useful bits of information from the criticism that cut me to the quick. So, I relied on my critique partners for my self-confidence and my own tenacity to move forward with my writing.
I continued going to chapter meetings and continued learning my craft while writing and submitting to agents and editors. And then one magical day, thirteen years after I started pursuing my dream, I got the call. Or the email as it happens. But now comes the hard part. Self-promotions. And I’m clueless.
Or maybe not. I obviously don’t have a problem talking. So social networking works for me. I signed up on Facebook and My Space. Though to be honest, since they changed the format on My Space, I never get on any more. I don’t understand it. I’m not real pleased with the way they keep changing Facebook either, but I at least I still understand it.
And I must admit, I feel a bit schizophrenic on Facebook. I have a Facebook page with my real name, a page with my pen name, and I have a Fan page. I didn’t plan on having a Lilly Gayle Page and a Fan page on Facebook. It just sort of happened. While trying to set up the Fan page, I set up a Lilly Gayle page and ended up with “friends.” So, I kept the regular Facebook page. It’s seems more interactive than the Fan page.
I also have a blog—-www.lillygayleromance.blogpot.com. And I’m a contributing author on www.twrpblackrose.blogspot.com, a blog for authors who write paranormal romances for The Wild Rose Press.
Then there’s the webpage my wonderful brother created for me. www.lillygayle.com. Personally, I think he did a fabulous job.
I think all these are good promotional tools. I also think book trailers are a good idea, and while I don’t have one yet, dear, sweet bro is working on my trailer as I type. After all, the clock is ticking.
Book signings are another good promotional idea I plan to pursue. As soon as I figure out how it’s done.
I’m good at talking. I can handle that part. And I did order bookmarks the other day. They look nice. But it’s the business/financial part that scares the crap out of me. I don’t know the first thing about setting up a signing or even how to approach a book store about doing one. Quite frankly, I still feel like a kid playing dress up in her mommy’s high heels. But maybe one day, I'll sell enough books to actually feel like a real author.
Now, that would be nice.