Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Pat Bertram, author or A Spark of Heavenly Fire and More Deaths Than One, is my guest Over Coffee today. Not only is Pat a wonderful storyteller, but also she is also very savvy when it comes to promotion and in particular, online promotion. What’s amazing to me is the fact Pat never had Internet until just about two years ago. She had to learn everything from scratch.

Pat is currently the administrator of several groups on Facebook and Goodreads as well as being the author of two popular blogs, Book Marketing Floozy, and Bertram’s Blog There is a wealth of information in the archives of Book Marketing Floozy regarding about every aspect of promotion. I would highly recommend purusing the archives.

Pat discusses the power of boldness when doing online promotion and how to use the social networks to promote both yourself and your books. She also shares some of her magical moments with us.

Writing a book was hard. Editing it was harder, and finding a publisher even harder. Waiting for it to be released after acceptance was murderous, and now promoting the book is . . .

Ha! Bet you thought I was going to say it was hardest of all -- most authors find promoting to be an arduous task, but not me. I enjoy it. What’s not to like? I get to meet wonderful people and have wonderful conversations. I get to write articles about anything I want and post them all over the internet. I get to . . . well, those two points are enough. Or should be. My books are still so new that they haven’t developed momentum, but I do believe that social networking is an incredible tool for book promotion.

Goethe wrote, “What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” So, gather a bit of boldness and begin. Join sites like Facebook and Goodreads. Add friends. Take the time to get to know people by commenting on your new friends’ content, by sharing with links to some of your new friend's articles and content. And bit by bit the magic happens.

Let me share some of the magic that has happened to me.

I had the honor of hosting Michael Palmer’s very first guest appearance on a blog. How magical is that?

I had the privilege of meeting Bruce DeSilva, the writing coach for Associated Press, who introduced me (virtually speaking) to his wonderful wife, the poet Patricia Smith. Or is it his wife, the wonderful poet Patricia Smith? Either way, a remarkable experience.

I managed to impress award-winning ad exec Marshall Karp with the way I promoted his stop at Bertram’s Blog during his blog tour. Still don’t know how I did that. I just thought I was having fun.

Through one of my Facebook discussion groups, I met Rita Schiano, who is going to interview me live on her blogtalkradio show, Talk to Me…Conversations with Creative, Unconventional People, on June 16, 2009 at 8:30pm ET. Being a bit nervous, since I have not spoken before a group of people in decades, I posted articles asking for advice on both Gather and Facebook, and I received the most wonderful tips and suggestions. So if I screw up, it’s my own fault. (One bit of advice I got is to not talk longer than 2 minutes at a time, but it’s probably the one suggestion I won’t be able to follow. I do tend to rhapsodize about social networking. As if you haven’t figured out already.)

Am I bragging? Maybe, but the truth is, I am honored to have met these people and to have shared a moment of their lives. But it would never have happened if I hadn’t created a presence on Facebook and various other social networking sites.

The key to social networking is to be social. Spamming people with mass emails is not social. Nor is setting up a profile and expecting it to run itself. You need to add friends and take time to get to know them. Update your status frequently and include interesting links so your new friends seek you out. Reward those who post great content by leaving a comment or participating in their discussions. You need to take an interest in them. It’s up to you. You can treat book promotion as an arduous task, or you can be bold, give a bit of yourself, and perhaps create magic.

What are some of the magical moments you’ve had using social networks? What tips would you share with others?

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book -- character and story driven novels that can't easily be slotted into a genre -- she decided to write her own.

Pat's books are available for order through the Second Wind Website ebook and paperback forms. Paperbacks are also available from Amazon and in Kindle format as well.


~Sia McKye~ said...

I want to welcome Pat to Over Coffee.

There are plenty of Muffins, scones, tea and Coffee. Pull up a chair, and tell us all about it.

What have been some of your magical moments in promotion?

Anonymous said...

Sia, thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your fabulous blog. It seems as if you've had some magic moments yourself since you started Over Coffee, so you know first hand how a touch of boldness can bring about magic. The entire Goethe quote is:

"Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o'er lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

So, the best advice I can offer anyone -- and the most important thing I learned about promotion -- is to stop delaying, seize the minute, and begin to make friends.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Sharon Ford commented:

"Doing my own self promotional stuff when I was a Realtor, doing my own layouts for the magazines, experimenting with different self promotional methods, like writing news articles for the paper about how to sell your house. Displaying large ads in the paper, putting solds on the newspaper pictures, having drawings for Mother's Day and letting the winner go to dinner to a fancy restaurant in a limo, then sending out newsletters about the winner with pictures, I just did a lot of stuff, and really enjoyed it. I was a top producer and picture once in the LA news Realtor section as the top producers for the area, etc. I loved to be creative..Putting humor in my advertising..Attention getters with humor..."

~Sia McKye~ said...

SHARON FORD commented:

"P.S. After 12 yrs out of the business, I still have people sent me notes, because we had a special bond, but never wouldl have if not for boldness.. You have to take a risk in life, and sticking your neck out is one of them. You will never know if you don't try.."

~Sia McKye~ said...

"You have to take a risk in life, and sticking your neck out is one of them. You will never know if you don't try.."

That's very true and especially when promoting your work as an author. And we can choose how we look at promotion--ANOTHER aspect of our creativity, or as Pat mentions, we can choose to look at it an arduous task.

I still have contacts that contact me from promotional projects I've done for them in the past. It makes you feel good to know you made an impression and were successful.

Sheila Deeth said...

I'm sure I should know the answer to this, but did you start making online friends before or after you knew you were going to get published? (Or did you always know you'd make it in the end? Is there no hope for us unconfident bystanders?)

Anonymous said...

Sheila, I started my blog long before I knew I was going to get published, but I decided to "act as if" I were going to be. So I started promoting a full year before I got accepted. I made friends because of the blog, then when I joined gather, I made friends there, too. I even joined Facebook before my books were accepted. Afterward, I amped it up a bit.

Of course there is hope. Especially for you. You are already gaining a following; and on the internet, lack of confidence is no deterrent. I started my blog just a couple of months after I signed up for the internet. Knew nothing and no one. I just did it. That I fell in love with blogging and everything that stemmed from it was icing on the cake.

aries18 said...

Sia, I'm so glad to see Pat here as a guest on your blog. You always bring interesting and informative guests for us to learn from.

Pat, I've just finished reading both of your books. They jumped to the front of my To Be Read list the minute they came in the mail. I loved them both. Your characters grabbed me right away and I cared what happened to them. The action drew me in and I literally couldn't put them down! I finished More Deaths and went right on to Heavenly Spark. After I finished Spark I was left wanting more. So all I can say, Pat, is please write more! I believe anyone reading these two books will be soon hollering for more. The genre will become known as "bartrems" as in "Yeah, I love mysteries and bartrems."

This is a long comment, I know, but I also want to add that I am in awe of the way you have taken to promoting your work. I've been taking notes so that when I get to where you are I will do as well.

Thanks Pat for your inspiration and Sia, for bringing Pat to us.


~Sia McKye~ said...

I have to add to what Pat said. If being published is your goal then you need to start building name recognition long before you get the contract. In business, it's called networking. I'd suggest learning to look at your writing as a business is wisdom.

Joining RWA and participating in workshops, conferences, and contests help. Blogging puts you in the public eye, helps in writing to deadlines and meeting others. Sharing what you learn about writing, storytelling, interesting sites out there on promotion, workshops, writing contests. By sharing and helping others you also help yourself.

Joining social networks and building a friends network helps. Like Pat says, it's not enough to just HAVE a profile on the sites. A person has to actively make friends, comment on friend's blogs, articles, status updates.

I wrote two books without any feedback. Partly because I live out back beyond the back 40 and we don't have any writers clubs near--try two-four hours one way from my house. I knew I need imput. I joined Gather first, 08/07. Entered a contest--hadn't a clue what I was doing--did well in the contest. But I was also lucky, I fell in with a great writing group--published authors and unpublished. It was a magical moment. (I've had many others) It was like taking classes in modern writing, lol!

Promotion is something I know a lot about. I've done it for years. Applying it to the business of writing was new to me two years ago. Not anymore. I've put nose to the grindstone and worked my butt off learning everything I can. Principles of Promotion are the same, regardless of the product. Adding the business of writing to that knowledge base isn't that difficult--especially if you're motivated. I'm ambitious and very motivated

You can choose what amount of time you want to spend each week doing that. Look at it as a job, or at the very least, an investment in your future. If you only have 4 hours a week to devote to this, make them count.

Kat Sheridan said...

Pat, what an inspirational article! I madly love that quote and added it to my "writer's inspiration" file. I'm slowly learning to do the social thing. And Sia, an excellent suggestion to be sure to carve out time for this as if it were another part of the writing job. I need to get back to that, and "act with intention", as if I'll someday be pubbed. Thanks for hosting such a great guest!

Dana Fredsti said...

Pat, both you and Sia are AMAZING at promotion. I have learned a lot from both of you and also from my own experiences promoting my books and those of fellow authors. And the thing I think works best for me is I genuinely enjoy the social aspect of meeting new people, whether on line or in the 'real' world. There are some authors I've met who only promote their own work, rarely bother to be social and I won't read their books. Plus they annoy me. Some authors I've met aren't necessarily the best writers in the world, but they are friendly, personable and I want to support them. Plus they don't think they're the best thing since sliced bread. Or whatever cliche you'd like to insert there.

Pat Bertram said...

To tell the truth, my books are so newly published that I don't know how effective social networking really is, but what the heck -- I get to meet a lot of great people. Including all of you. I was going to include everyone in my article, but by the time I added just the names of my gather friends, it would begin to sound like one of those dreadful award shows where the winner thanks everyone they ever met, and you begin to wish they'd been drowned at birth. (Did I really say that?)

~Sia McKye~ said...

You did, tsk tsk, but oh so true.

Honestly Pat, Networking is effective. Logic dictates if it's logical in other forms of product promotion, then it will be for books as well. Look at the growth of e-books, 119.9%? Largely due to author promotion. So it does work.

Other Lisa said...

All great and inspiring stuff! I've been online for a number of years but I've always blogged semi-anonymously for a variety of reasons. Still, I hope I have established enough of an online presence that if/when I'm published I have a good foundation to build on.

Thanks Pat for all your great ideas and thanks Sia for another great post!

Netti said...

I've met a lot of people I now consider friends via the social networking on the net. Though I think the moment that gets my fan girly glee going would be when I met Sharon Sala (virtually) which led to an actual phone call from her! NICEST woman on the planet, very down to earth, and never fails every time I speak with her I go all fan girly. yes, I am a dork :D

~Sia McKye~ said...

LOL! You are not a dork, Netti. Now if Christine Feehan comes on my blog, you will see a fan girly moment and I'm not the gushing fan type by nature, lol!

Actually, I've met some wonderful authors and other industry people too, through Social Networks. I have some wonderful virtual friends of a couple of years standing through my writin' group, brilliant, thoroughly fun, friends. Some of which have gone from just virutal to reality friends. People I talk to on the phone, some you actually get to meet. Very cool.

Thank you Netti for stopping by.

Cheryl Tardif, author and book marketing coach said...

This is a great post, Pat, with a lot of valuable information for writers. Like you, I LOVE promoting! I love it so much that I can promote anything--as long as I truly BELIEVE in it. That is really the key. Once the belief kicks in, a person can sell/promote anything, whether it's a fabulous novel or a toothpick.

I was lucky in that I had previous training--but not in selling books. My background for years was in sales, marketing, advertising and promotion, web design and motivational speaking, for many different kinds of companies and my own businesses.

Now as a bestselling author I can use all of these skills and apply them to marketing books. I had bookstore managers tell me that I had the most consistent sales for 2 years out of all local authors in my city of 1 million. Over the past 6 years, I've become known as "Shameless Promoter", a name I wear proudly. My last publisher called me a "marketing guru", which for some reason always makes me think of some guy sitting in the lotus position.

What I've learned from all of my experiences is this: You either promote your books or fade into the background. It's your choice. You may reach a detour or come up against a challenge, but if you truly want success you'll find your way around and through. Every challenge is an accomplishment waiting to happen.

For the majority of authors, marketing IS a challenge. You can let fear rule you and not try things, or you can be like Pat and boldly go where authors have gone before. Learn from those who are where you want to be, who are doing what you want to do.

There IS magic in boldness. And it all begins with a single step forward, a step taken with faith and belief. You CAN do it. You CAN achieve your goals.

By the way, I'm also a Book Marketing Coach. :-) Check out my blog for some helpful tips. Shameless Promoter ~ Book Marketing CoachNow, go out and be believably bold!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

~Sia McKye~ said...

Cheryl, thank you for your experiences with us as well. You're correct. You do have to be bold. Being bold doesn't mean obnoxious or spamming, but it does mean looking for any and all opportunities. I've watched you do that this year.

You make me laugh with your title as Shameless Promoter.

I'll be around to check out your blog. Probably tomorrow.

Pat Bertram said...

Cheryl, I'm so pleased you stopped by. You are an inspiration to us all. Why is promotion so shameful that we must wear the red s for shameless, as if we are doing something wrong? Never have understood that.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thank you Pat, for being my guest Over Coffee.

Pat's books are available for order through the Second Wind Website ebook and paperback forms. Paperbacks are also available from Amazon and in Kindle format as well.

Dana Fredsti said...

Pat, your energy and commitment is amazing to me - you're a wonderful inspiration and your book is on my to buy list and to read VERY SOON list! In fact...toddlng off to Amazon...