Posts Tagged ‘Being a pro

05
Nov
10

Polite self-promotion

First off (and fitting, considering the meat of this post), my second novel, The Spirit Rebellion is now officially launched. Hooray! I have a post up on my blog with some reviews and gory details about how the book came into being (spoiler: it almost didn’t), so check it out if you like that sort of thing! Book 3, The Spirit Eater, launches December 1, so if you’re waiting on the series, you won’t be waiting long. Orbit is generous like that :D. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can see all my books and read sample chapters here).

So, the Spirit Thief has been officially out for a little over a month now. Truth be told, it’s been a hard 30 days for me. I do realize how ungrateful I sound when say that, and please know the difficulty had nothing to do with the wonderful readers who’ve bought my book or the wonderful people who helped me get it out there. As always, my problems start and end only with me.

The month has been difficult because I’ve been struggling to overcome a fear I didn’t know I had: a fear of self promotion. If you had asked me (and several people did) a few months ago “are you looking forward to promoting your book?” I would have (and did) answered an enthusiastic “of course!”  After all, I wrote the damn thing. Of course I think it is wonderful and amazing and worthy of reading, else I wouldn’t have missed playing all that Warcraft to write it (and rewrite it and query it and rewrite it again). Why wouldn’t I want to shout to the world how awesome I think my book is? After all, I’ve never exactly been a shy, retiring flower.

And yet, for a forward, confident person, I’ve suddenly become tongue tied on the subject of my own work. For example, when The Spirit Thief launched, I went to the bookstore to see my book on the shelf. It wasn’t there, so I asked the stock guy and, after checking the computers, he said it was in the back. He offered to go get me one, but I declined (I didn’t want to take one away from my home store where I’d told people it was going to be) and then… I left. I left without saying anything, and the whole time I’m screaming at myself,  “Rachel, tell them you’re the author, ask to see the manager, see if you can set up a signing, PROMOTE YOUR BOOK.”  But I just couldn’t, and I didn’t know why.

This rocked my world on a pretty fundamental level. I’d just failed at the most basic new author task, and I couldn’t tell you why. But then, after lots of emo-face thinking, I figured it out. In some ways, I’m a very southern girl. I was raised to think that bragging was the height of all rudeness (and, hence, evil). That a truly worthy deed will gain notice on its own. Self promotion is, in a sense, a little like bragging. You’re telling people about your accomplishments. And there lay the problem. If I’d told that book seller “hey, I’m the author, want to get together and do something promotional?”  I don’t think I would have been out of line, but I would have been calling attention to the fact that I’ve written a bo0k and asking for special treatment because of that, which set off all kinds of deeply rooted warning bells.

So I find myself in a dilemma. If I promote my book, I feel like I’m being rude. If I don’t promote my book, I increase my chances of sinking into oblivion and ruining my career. That can not happen, and so it’s time to get over myself. Gotta put on my big girl panties and put myself out there. But, you know, politely.

So here’s my question for you: what kind of book promotions caught your eye? What did you most enjoy? Web ads? Blog posts? Contests? Let me know in the comments (if you don’t mind, that is).

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27
Jan
10

You must answer me these questions three…

Hello! I’m Jeannie, another of the newbies and today I’m going to talk about something every writer (especially first timers) should be willing to do — asking questions.

Why did I choose this topic? Well, mainly because I recently found myself in a situation that required me to direct a lot of questions to my agent. In December, my editor at Bantam jumped to another publishing house. She and I had worked very closely on my book through two major rewrites, and I’d gotten very comfortable with our relationship. Naturally her departure left me wondering just what the heck I was supposed to do about my pending release, not to mention the second book.

I peppered my agent with questions. “What does this mean?” “Is my release date going to be pushed back?” “Is my contract in jeopardy?” “Who’s my new editor?” “Do I even have a new editor?”

My agent was wonderful and answered all my questions. “This means you’ll have a new editor to complete the release of the first book and to work on the second book.” “No, the release date won’t be pushed back.” “No, your contract is fine.” “Here’s the name of your new editor, and yes, you do have one.”

The main point I needed to understand was that a changing of the guard is not unusual in publishing. People come and go. It’s part of the business and we, as writers, have to learn to be flexible and roll with the punches. One of the best ways to do this is by not being afraid to speak up, ask questions, and voice our opinions especially when it involves our careers.

This couldn’t be more vital to a first-time author. No one expects you to know everything going in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of other authors, your agent, and especially your editor. They are there to support you and guide you.

Above all, remember it’s your career, and you have a right to know where it’s heading.