Writing the book is the easy part. It’s what comes after publishing that has always frightened me. It’s not enough to write a good book. Someone has to find you among the 6,000,000 other offerings and choose to buy your novel as opposed to another. You’ve heard me say before that the whole self-promotion thing is painful. Every time I try to do any of it, I begin to act a lot like my dog Daisy does when she hears thunder – there’s a whole lot of panic in the eyes, some spastic twitching, and the primal urge to run into the bathroom and hide in the corner until whatever it is goes away.
I’ve decided that I have to make the effort to promote myself, so I’ve committed to researching and reading about just how one is supposed to do this. There are a ton of folks selling books and services to the cowardly (like me). I’m kind of cheap, so I’m currently working through all the free advice offered. One of the best blog items I’ve read so far is: HOW TO PROMOTE YOURSELF AND YOUR BOOKS ON SOCIAL MEDIA WITHOUT FEELING LIKE A SOUL-SELLING, SLEAZE-SUCKING SLIME-GLOB by Chuck Wendig.
Mr. Wendig approached the problem humorously and has some realistic suggestions that made sense. There are a lot of other folks who specialize in social media marketing and a surprising number of them offer freebie information on their sites. I’ve downloaded quite a bit of it and made notes on some of the things I’m willing to try. I’ll be using my Lynne Scott Facebook page more than I have in the past. All 27 of my friends who have liked the page will probably be highly annoyed by the increase in usage.
My first step this week was the toughest. I asked for help.
Why is asking for help so hard? It’s not something I normally do even though I have great friends with big hearts. But this week I screwed up my courage and asked four people who regularly buy and read my books to read Vapor Point and write a review of it for me. You know that time in junior high when it was girl’s choice and you had to ask the guy you liked to go to the dance with you? You know the drill – you put it off, made a couple of abortive passes in the hallway that culminated in “Hi…” followed by a blush and run as you got all sweaty and queasy. Yeah… this felt just like that. I think I wrote four different messages before I just blurted out the question. All four were quick to agree and they actually seemed enthused about it. Maybe putting it off until after happy hour was the right thing to do after all.
The other thing I did this week for the first time was ask a Facebook friend who had just finished reading Saving Emily to say so in a Facebook post. She did more than that. She posted a short, sweet, and very cool, 5 star review on Barnes and Noble – “Saving Emily grabs you from the start! A little passion, some mystery and a strong female character. I loved it.” and followed it up on her Facebook page with: “If you’re looking for a great summer read… I recommend Saving Emily by Lynne Scott. Loved, loved, loved it!” Three of her friends posted that they were buying the book and a fourth added it to her Kindle Wish List. Her fifteen seconds of kindness has introduced me to four new readers who might never have heard of me otherwise. How cool is that?
Is asking people to review my books or mention me on their Facebook page hard for me to do? Yes. I feel like I’m imposing my business on our personal time and space. And yet, I ask people to share a recipe or a restaurant recommendation, so why shouldn’t I ask them to say something nice if they liked my book?
Is it a necessary part of low-budget marketing? Yes. People think that because I have 11 books out there that I must be making money. No book sales – no money. If you don’t get seen – you don’t sell books. That would be where I’m at.
Do I feel any less a soul-selling, sleaze-sucking slime-glob? I’m not sure how I feel. Kinda queasy, sweaty, and scared. But whether it’s a good or bad thing, I don’t know yet.
I have incredibly nice friends so the first steps have been much less painful than expected. Thanks to them, I’m ready to try a few more things. Slowly… very, very slowly.