Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Me, Myself & I

With the publication date for my first novel drawing closer, I've been preparing to go into promotions mode, mostly by reading as much as I can on the subject and making notes. I have to be honest here: the idea of going out and promoting myself or my product used to freak me out massively. When I first began this blog it was with trepidation and trembling at the mere idea of putting myself 'out there'. It was so bad that I didn't make the blog public for several weeks while I tried to find the nerve to engage the world wide web. Suppose it was a disaster? Suppose nobody came? Suppose people did come but turned out to be awful purveyors of negativity like I've seen in other places?

Wordtryst is almost a year old and it has been nothing but good. Never, not once, has any visitor been anything but positive and supportive. I now have a sense of community that I didn't have before. The interaction with other bloggers has brightened my days and lifted my spirits. It has entertained and informed me way, way beyond my expectations. I credit this positive experience with the startling realization that I no longer dread the promotion process; on the contrary, I look forward to it. People have been kind. Surely they will continue to be thus, and if I should encounter the dark side it'll be with the knowledge that negativity is the exception rather than the norm.

I found a really helpful page on writer Sheila M. Goss's website that I decided to print out. It's based on a workshop she offers, I gather: Promoting Your Finished Book on a Budget. The budget part caught my attention; 'on a budget' is actually a euphemism for 'with little or no money' where I'm concerned, as it must be for most beginning authors out there. Ms. Goss discusses the following points:

Press releases
Word of mouth
Cross promoting
Book signings
Promotional items (bookmarks, flyers, postcards, business cards...)

She also includes a number of useful links on the page, many related to promoting multicultural/African American books, which is great for me, but others, such as those for sourcing free websites, can be useful to writers of any genre.

Published and about-to-be-published writers who've done their homework will be familiar with all or most of the topics covered. What I like about this page is that it brings all of the bits and pieces I've garnered elsewhere together in one place. Some of the link are to places I'm familiar with, but others aren't, so I've been able to expand my resource base. The page also contains the article How to Do a Website on a Budget, another on blogging, links to examples of author blogs and more.

Sheila M. Goss is the Essence Magazine bestselling author of My Invisible Husband, Roses are Thorns, Violets are True, Paige's Web, and Double Platinum. Her articles and short stories have appeared in national magazines.


Debi said...

Hi Liane - add me to your positive blogging community! So glad we've found each other and wish you loads of luck with the exciting times ahead.

JJ said...

Hi Liane

I am so glad you've found this all a help. I know that I wouldn't still be trying to write if it weren't for this community - it's a great help for support and help.


kim said...

Almost a year? Where does the time go?

I'm so glad you blog, you are one of my favorites.

It's been really fun keeping up with the process of your first book. Hunk of the month is a nice feature too. You know I love your writing style, you picked the right profession.

Lane said...

A year already?
Following your story has been an absolute pleasure and I completely agree - there is so much support and goodwill in this blogging community.

Thanks for the links. Will check them out:-)

Debs said...

I've been blogging about six months and agree with you completely about how positive and encouraging everyone is.

I can't wait for the publication of your book and am looking forward to reading it.

KAREN said...

I would be freaked out at the idea of promoting my book! On the other hand, it seems to be expected these days. Now, I just need to get published first...

wordtryst said...

Debi! Welcome! Thank you for the good wishes.

(Debi Alper if the author of Trading Tatiana, which I reviewed on the blog in July 2007. It was a terrific read! I just stumbled on to her blog via Caroline Smailes'. Exciting!)

JJ, the support has been tremendous.

Kim, I can't believe it myself. I started blogging in June last and made the blog public in July. Glad you enjoy it - it's feedback like yours that keeps me going. I enjoy reading yours too. :) As for the hunks, I think we're overdue for another. Gonna work on that! It's been wonderful having this outlet to chart the process.

Lane, Debs, it's been a pleasure indeed.

Karen, yes, it's expected, so you gird your loins and just do it. (I'm talking big here, from the safety of my computer. Don't know what it'll be like if/when I have to actually physically go 'out there' and promote.) Btw, you will get published. Here's what Heather Sellers, author of Page After Page, has to say about that:

If you follow your heart, write only the pieces you alone can write, if you keep your mind open to learning, if you conquer lousy mental habits and self-defeating thinking, revise your work, join writing communities, and submit pieces to appropriate markets, you will get published. Let me say this again. You will get published.