Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Promo-ho I'm Not!

Self Promotion—Not My Strong Suit...

And apparently, neither is keeping up with my day to post to this blog! I was supposed to post on Thursday but life came up and well, here I am posting on Sunday. My apologies for missing my assigned day and for posting on the same day as another author. Oopsie!

But writing is a difficult job, perhaps because I don’t yet see it as a job. It’s something I’ve done in my spare time for thirteen years, but I don’t get a paycheck or performance evaluations, so it’s hard for me to judge the value of my work. I also find it uncomfortable talking about my writing. It took years to admit I wanted to be a writer and even longer to admit I wanted to write novels. And now that my first book is about to be published, I should be promoting it, but I’m not sure how to go about it.

By day, I’m a radiographer and a mammographer. I went to school to do what I do. I received training. I took registry exams and passed so, I feel qualified to do what I do. And at work, there are expectations. If I don’t meet them, I’m told what the problem is and what I have to do to fix it. I don’t get that with my writing. I’m more or less on my own. For now.

Since my first book doesn’t come out until May 28, there are no reviews. Yet. No royalty checks. Nothing to tell me if I did a good job or not. Only my editor and critique partners have told me I have a good story. And while I trust their judgment, I’m dying for some encouragement at this point in my career. So where do I get it?

As a previously unpublished writer, I found invaluable support and help by joining the RWA (Romance Writers of American) and my local chapter. I also found three fabulous critique partners through my local chapter. Critique partners gave me viable suggestions and encouraging feedback. I lost one critique partner when she moved away and the other critique partner became a multi-published novelist who still gives me moral support when needed.

I also attempted to enter a couple of contests early on, but I quickly learned that contests aren’t for me.

For some reason, my scores ranged from very good to horrible. Inevitably I’d end up with some bitter judge who obviously felt like a failure herself as a writer, and she’d work out her demons on my entry. With such contradicting scores and vast discrepancies in judging, I had no idea if I was on the right track or not. And with the judges’ inconsistencies and scores, I couldn’t figure out how to glean the useful bits of information from the criticism that cut me to the quick. So, I relied on my critique partners for my self-confidence and my own tenacity to move forward with my writing.

I continued going to chapter meetings and continued learning my craft while writing and submitting to agents and editors. And then one magical day, thirteen years after I started pursuing my dream, I got the call. Or the email as it happens. But now comes the hard part. Self-promotions. And I’m clueless.

Or maybe not. I obviously don’t have a problem talking. So social networking works for me. I signed up on Facebook and My Space. Though to be honest, since they changed the format on My Space, I never get on any more. I don’t understand it. I’m not real pleased with the way they keep changing Facebook either, but I at least I still understand it.

And I must admit, I feel a bit schizophrenic on Facebook. I have a Facebook page with my real name, a page with my pen name, and I have a Fan page. I didn’t plan on having a Lilly Gayle Page and a Fan page on Facebook. It just sort of happened. While trying to set up the Fan page, I set up a Lilly Gayle page and ended up with “friends.” So, I kept the regular Facebook page. It’s seems more interactive than the Fan page.

I also have a blog—-www.lillygayleromance.blogpot.com. And I’m a contributing author on this blog, when I remember what day to post!

Then there’s the webpage my wonderful brother created for me. www.lillygayle.com. Personally, I think he did a fabulous job.

I think all these are good promotional tools. I also think book trailers are a good idea, and while I don’t have one yet, dear, sweet bro is working on my trailer as I type. After all, the clock is ticking.

Book signings are another good promotional idea I plan to pursue. As soon as I figure out how it’s done.

I’m good at talking. I can handle that part. And I did order bookmarks the other day. They look nice. But it’s the business/financial part that scares the crap out of me. I don’t know the first thing about setting up a signing or even how to approach a book store about doing one. Quite frankly, I still feel like a kid playing dress up in her mommy’s high heels. But maybe one day, I'll sell enough books to actually feel like a real author.

Now, that would be nice.

5 comments:

  1. ha ha. Contests are the worst. I used to get perfect scores on two entries, then the third would be ripped to shreds. I once had a judge write that she didn't care for vampires.... Um, why would you even judge paranormal entries if you don't care for vampires? Then there was the one who commented my heroine wasn't very nice to the bad guy... Total waste. Sometimes you just need to tell yourself "I am a professional writer. It is my job." and own that thought. It works.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't feel bad, Lily. I usually can't think of anything nice to say about my stories. I'm the world's biggest pessimist about myself. So, I usually latch onto snippets of reviews. Then I feel like I'm not making an evaluation. It's far far easier to leave a note somewhere online than to look excited about my work when being stared down by a reader. LOL But somehow, people started calling me a Promo Ho??? Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm feelin' yer pain, sister! Waiting for your book to come out is the worst time in the world, no matter how many times you've been published (but it's worse when it's your first time). You know your work is good because somebody agreed to publish it, which is getting tougher all the time, but you really don't have any critical feedback from readers. And it's the readers who count.

    I'm waiting for mybook to come out and I don't even have a date for it -- I just finished the line edits! And even though this ain't my first time at the rodeo, my nerves are in shreds.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lilly, your blog entry prompted me to write and entry on my own blog. Excuse my self-promotion but you can read it at http://www.cheriscotch.livejournal.com

    Thanks for the inspiration and best of luck for OUT OF THE DARKNESS. It sounds sensational!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks ladies! And I will most definitely check out your blog, Cheri.

    ReplyDelete