Promoting? But I want to write!

At the beginning of 2012, I wrote a post about ‘Building an Author Platform’. With ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ newly out, the whole marketing/promoting/author platform stuff is at the forefront of my mind.

Even if you’ve cast only a cursory glance over my posts in recent months, you’ll know I’ve been stuck on chapter thirteen of my current novel. In June, I fell over and tore ligaments in my foot. This was followed by a very busy time, and together, these things resulted in a total absence of new words on the novel. Forget Sartre’s ‘hell is other people’, hell is being stuck forever on chapter thirteen!

Now the launch of PP’s Son is over, and hurrah, I want to write again. I’m desperate to get going on my novel, and at last chapter thirteen is finished. The virgin territory of chapter fourteen beckons!

But – and it’s a big but – how is anybody (apart from my nearest and dearest) going to know about PP’s Son unless I tell them? Obviously the publisher, Cinnamon Press will tell people, but small-fry authors, such as me, have to most of the promotion for their books even if they’re with one of the big publishers. I’ve got a long list of things I need to do (and keep doing) to get my book out there. But if I’m doing promotion/marketing stuff, I’m not writing, which takes me back to the post I wrote in January 2012.

I’ll quote just a few of the things I wrote:

  • Sometimes it seems the only thing that matters these days is MARKETING.
  • You have to network, plug, sell, tell, promote … on and on … you have to be out there shouting from the rooftops: Look at me! I’m here!  If you’re a writer that means ‘building an author platform’.
  • Writing, by its very nature, tends to be a solitary business, especially if you are a fiction writer. You create worlds and people, you give birth to them on the computer and hope that they live on the page. These worlds and characters often seem more real to you than the actual world you inhabit.
  • But then the book is finished. You say goodbye to these people you have lived with so closely for so long, but you love them – and you want other people to love them. But how will they love them if they don’t know them? And that’s the rub! You have to leave your solitary state and tell people about your book. You have to build an author platform!

I wrote the blog following a talk organised by my local Society of Authors about the whole marketing subject. The talk was very good, highlighting promoting your book on Amazon, websites, promotional material, blogging, networking on facebook and twitter, videos on YouTube, virtual book tours – the list of possibilities  was endless.

But the comment I heard in the car park afterwards still makes me laugh. One elderly attendee to another: ‘Do you know, I just can’t be arsed!’ And sometimes I know how she feels.

But perhaps, you, my dear blog friends might be able to help me. If you’ve read ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ and enjoyed it, can you tell your friends – word of mouth is still the best recommendation. Perhaps you’d consider doing an Amazon review, or buying a copy for someone as a Christmas present, or recommending it to your book group. Writers are nothing without readers. It would be wonderful if you could help. I might even manage to get chapter fourteen finished then!



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  1. Debbie Young says:

    A great summary of the modern author’s eternal dilemma, Lindsay! I’ll definitely be writing a review as soon as I’ve read it (it’s nearing the top of my “to review” list) and I’m sure I’ll love it because I enjoyed “Unravelling” so much!

    By the way, I understand that having three books to your name on Amazon is the magic number to start increasing your visibility there, so keep writing number three – it will help raise the profiles of #1 and #2 too!

    In between flurries of marketing activity, my new mantra is: “how to sell more books: write more books!” Which is great, because wouldn’t we all rather be writing?

    Good luck, Lindsay, and I’m sure you will get the sales you deserve in time!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for your lovely, encouraging reply, Debbie. I do hope you like PP’s Son. I think that’s one of my fears – Unravelling got such a great reception, and will this one live up to it?!
    I have got a third book, not a novel, but a little book about books, writing, reading ‘A Writer’s Alphabet’, which lovely Jo Phillips helped me produce. It’s based on a blogging challenge I did in September 2012. But perhaps, it doesn’t count as it’s not a novel.

  3. Maureen Hall says:

    I certainly will be telling people about this: it’s a very good book! I have to say my feeling about all this marketing and promotion is the same as the lady’s in the car park … THAT comment should go at the top of my list of reasons ‘Why I will never be a proper writer’!

  4. Yeah, I agree with the woman in the car park, too. BUT I also want my books promoted and sold and to get some return in terms of nice shiny lucre! So I also wonder about Facebook and Twitter as that is also important and maybe fruitful……. but to be honest I would prefer to just write and oh, anything but not to have to sell my book!

  5. Lindsay says:

    I’d be grateful if you would spread the word about the book, Mo. Every bit helps. The car park comment is how most of us feel, but it depends whether you can force yourself to tackle it. I want my books to be read, so I try! Anyway, what is a ‘proper’ writer?!

  6. Lindsay says:

    Think we’re all in the car park with that woman, Becky! And yes, promoting the book is painful, but I want it to be read – yes, the money’s nice, but it’s more than that. I can’t force myself to Twitter, but I have met some lovely people via Facebook, and friends who I originally met online and have since met face to face. It’s got drawbacks, but I like Facebook!

  7. The thing to do is write a marketing plan, and then stick to it. I put off doing this for over a year, but now I’ve written the thing I feel more in control – I feel like I’m actually doing some ‘promotion’ even when I’m not, as long as I’m following The Plan. What I decided was to pick one activity a month – it could be a price promotion, or an event to promote around, or a new release, whatever – and make this my focus that month. Plan blog posts, FB posts etc around this and then get on with writing. That way you know you are fulfilling your obligations to promoting, but it’s not taking over your life and however much time you do spend is focused, not scattered. Jo x

  8. Lindsay says:

    That’s really good advice, Jo. Think your word ‘scattered’ describes how I am at the moment!

  9. Polly says:

    I’ve heard some great feedback already, Lindsay, from peeps who say they’ll write a review (I asked them!) so just get on with building that platform 😀 x

  10. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Polly.

  11. Carol says:

    I have just completed The Piano Players Son and feel drained but in a good way. It is a great read. Its been awhile since I felt absolutely compelled to read none stop until I knew the final outcome of a story. How does one define the essence of any secret? We all have them and have shared them but never without some consequence. As of all families each character slots into a role. A role modelled by family influences and history. Lindsay congratulations for such a brilliant portrayal of character’s we can all relate to in some ways. I for one have put the book on my Christmas gift list for others to read.

  12. Lindsay says:

    Wow! Thank you, Carol, I’m overwhelmed and happy at your response.

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