Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday Think Tank: It's all about Community

Before you start, they comments function isn't working. I'm trying to get  it fixed, but in the mean-time, you can leave comments on FaceBook either at AmyLaneAnonymous or at AmyLane by clicking on those words. :) Sorry about the difficulty!

Good morning my beautiful babies, and welcome to Thurday's Think Tank. For the next little while we are going to concentrate on an issue I've stumbled over and seen other authors freeze, flee, or begin to flail about in confusion when confronted with the boogey-monster of promotion.
In fact, my friend Linda, who is a newly minted Officially Published through a verra important Publishing House Author, expressed bafflement over the whole do I/don't I promotion dealio. Was it, she wondered, the same as when you self-publish? What if anything changes when under the auspices of a publishing house? I could completely understand why, because there seems to be this pervasive myth that each newly published author stumbles over. For some reason, many of us (yes, please do include me here) mistakenly believe that once we get picked up by a reputable publishing house, our days of beating our hearts against the jagged rocks of promotion will become a thing of the past.

Linda, sweets, I am not great at promoting. But I know some folks who are, and who are sweethearts about sharing their knowledge with the new kids on the block. So pull up a seat here in my little cave… no, don’t worry about getting a beverage. We’ll send the cabana boys out for something once the show gets started.

Righty-O then. Without further ado, let me introduce our first “subject matter expert”. You know her I’m sure, and if you don’t then get thee to the nearest bookseller and buy anything with her name on it. There’s not a single bad apple in Amy Lane’s book-barrel, honest.


The sound of thousands of joyfully screaming minions is heard as Amy creeps quietly into the writing
Amy Lane and feline friend.
cave, knitting in hand. She flashes a sweet, wicked and somehow shy smile. The cabana boys fight over the honor of getting her beverage, but her loyal and awesome MATE quells them all with a single look. He has brought her favorite things, and a big swatter in case there are any stray cave-spiders that might threaten his smishable Twu-Wuv… Amy settles into her spot, setting aside her kitten and beginning to knit as she speaks.


Okay-- so Cherie asked me for tips I'd give beginners if they're trying to promo a book, and while I've got a list that I sort of rock out whenever someone asks me, I thought I'd start with the most obvious thing, and the thing that's helped me the absolute most when it comes to promotion:

Be a part of your community.

Now, it's easy in this community-- we tend to write what we read, and the m/m romance community is small enough that most of the writers know their most ardent fans. But even if you're writing m/f or PNR or whatever, be a part of your community. Be a positive part-- if you go on forums, be known as an advocate, not a troll. Be a voice of enthusiasm, or of thoughtfulness, but be a part of your network. I've been
Amy Lane and Ariel Tachna at GayRomLit 2012
approached by random writer, asking to post on my blog. Now I have let people post on my blog--but only if they've read it before and know me, and know my family and know what I was going for. I'm not going to let random person intrude on my personal space--this person didn't know me, not even my public persona, so the answer was no. But the person I did allow to guest post (and I messed it up--sorry Daisy!) knew me from Twitter, and was really respectful about the approach. It all comes to being respectful, and being known. If your comments or your support or your enthusiasm or your respect has made you a positive part of your community in the first place, when it's time to ask people for their help getting the word out, they are much more likely to give you a hand aboard the promo train.

That being said, here's a handy list I made for fellow authors on the verge of a first release:
Author Devon Rhodes and  the famous Chris of Stumbling Over Chaos. Yes, yes, Chris is exactly the kind of contact that will be invaluable in promoting, but as Devon knows, the best part is that Chris is wry and witty and just plain fun to spend an evening with... she's got a zillion fascinating stories. If you find yourself next to her at GRL, for goodness sake, just chat. You'll be glad you got to know her.
A. Tap any book bloggers you know (remember that community part!) and ask if you can do a guest host

B. If you belong to any FB or forum groups, ask permission and follow user guidelines to post that the book is out.

C. When you do that, there may be some people who offer to review your book. Take them up on it.

D. Post on your own social media sites-- Twitter, FB, etc.

E. Have a blog or a regularly updated website with all of your contact and buy information there for easy use.

F. When the book comes out on and, get yourself an author page. Make sure your Twitter and/or blog and/or website feed are tapped into your author page.

G. Ask your publisher if they have a web page or something-- most of the publishers I know have a publicity
...and always carry your emergency knitting.
person who wants to help you, and at least three media outlets through which to do it. Twitter chats, FB chats, blog chats-- all a possibility. Be prepared to be very busy writing things that are not fiction-- guest blog posts, chat posts, little mini press releases-- have them all ready.

H. Be prepared to answer any responses made to Twitter, FB, guest blogs and media posts-- don't just post and run, follow up and chat.
Amy loves Mary Calmes books.

I. Talk to other authors about their books. You don't need to mention your own unless it comes up, but your enthusiasm for their work will come around and translate into enthusiasm for yours.

J. Enjoy. It took me a long time before I realized that promoting my book was actually work. For a while, it just felt like celebrating with my friends.

Places to find Amy Lane: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

What's your take?