Remember Why You Do “That Writing Thing”

my lucy alone in surfMy Lovely Bride … Alone in the Surf  © R.L. Herron

The Art of Promotion
If you self-publish, it’s really easy to get caught up in the “I gotta get out and promote my book” whirlwind. After all, there’s no one else who’s going to do that for you … but getting caught up to the point of ignoring everything else may be a mistake, particularly if you let it start to rule your life.

I know how easy it is to do. I’ve got the tense shoulders, aching back and throbbing headache to prove it. I’ve been spending so much time trying to figure out social media, and get the word out about my books (especially my award-winning novel REICHOLD STREET), I’ve done little else.

I’ve also got a wife who’s ready to throw things at me to get more of my attention … she’s upset with me and she’s absolutely right. I’m so caught up in all this promotepromotepromote nonsense that I haven’t paid much attention to her at all, and I haven’t written 500 words all week on my next book. I normally write more than that in a day.

I know what I have to do. Relax, and remind myself what’s important in my life. Like my bride of more than 42 years. I don’t have to do every promotional thing right away. Besides, I’m still not sure which things work. I’ve decide to slow down my pace, be myself, and discover the marketing activities I like (and therefore, will actually do).

It might also be time to remind readers (and myself) about promoting themselves and their writing:

I’m the first one to say you can learn a lot from marketing blogs, newsletters, webinars and such … but it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to do it all.

Remember What Promotion Is
When you come right down to it, promotion is just a conversation between you and other people. It’s speaking with them about something you love: your book. It’s not blasting hype out to everyone in cyberspace. Develop a way to talk with people and … more importantly … listen.

Create a virtual space where this conversation can occur. You don’t need to do everything the experts mention, but you do need a few basic tools:

Your site is “you” online, a place where you are always present, where you meet and greet people (even when you’re asleep). You can include pages “About You” and for your blog.

Email List
This is something I’ve neglected, but it makes sense. Talk about your book(s) and offer an incentive (I’m creating a white paper on building believable characters) to entice folks to sign up for your email list. Maintain the list through services like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber. It gives you a way to start conversations, and speak directly to those who have demonstrated an interest in your book.

Social Media
Also meet new friends and invite new readers through the outreach of social media, special interest sites and groups, and wherever else your people go (right now, I use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook). These connections grow as you reach out to more people, and they reach out to their friends on your behalf.

Remember You’re Human
Treat yourself like a human being … not a promotional machine chugging out blog posts and tweets 24/7. Don’t be a slave to the millions of “shouldas” in the world of book promotion. Take time away to refresh yourself and enjoy life.

It’s what got you started on this road in the first place and it’s what you love to do (at least it is for me). So don’t neglect it. I intend to write a lot more on my next novel tomorrow.

Right now, if you’ll be kind enough to excuse me, my wife looks like she needs a hug.

One last bit of shameless promotion … my “Master Storyteller” book trailer …


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6 Responses to “Remember Why You Do “That Writing Thing””

  1. Micah McDaniel Says:

    I think I’ll commit this to memory. It’ll serve me well one day not too terribly far down the road.


    • Ron Herron Says:

      Thanks for the compliment! If you self-publish it’s easy to get caught up in the “I gotta promote this, ’cause no one else is going to” whirlwind. Don’t let it happen … believe me, it’s not worth it. Your best promotion is to write a superb book … and then follow it with another. Keep writing, Micah!


  2. lauraleeauthor Says:

    I’m going to write a post one of these days on all the things I’ve tried in terms of promotion and what seemed to be effective and what wasn’t, because it seems like everyone repeats a lot of the same advice and if you try to go to every event, become a regular guest speaker, guest blogger, regular blogger, social media maven, etc, etc, you will run yourself ragged.


    • Ron Herron Says:

      Ain’t it the truth! It’s the whole reason for my post. I want to return to something approaching normal and let the whole “promotion” thing go for a while. I’m a writer. I should be writing something new, not trying to market previous stuff.

      But I’d love to see your suggestions.


  3. Ron Herron Says:

    3-year-olds have a way of monopolizing reality, that’s for sure. Enjoy. They grow up far too fast. Thanks for thinking this blog is worth following … and for your comments. 😉


  4. M.S. Fowle Says:

    Great tips! And some wonderful reminders of what’s truly important. I’m lucky to have a 3yrold who is loud enough to keep me from wandering too far from reality. Thank you, Ron! 🙂


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