Friday, July 30, 2010

An Author's Work Doesn't Finish With THE END.

An author’s work is never done with typing THE END.

I've often thought readers don't realize all the work their favorite authors put into the book that kept you up 'til the wee hours of the morning. You know about this author and their wonderful book, which made you late to work because you overslept, because they have also put in hard work on another aspect of writing—promotion.

Think about how many authors you've discovered over the last year or so. How did you discover them?

Chances are you discovered them through word of mouth.

  • 1. You were able to hear about them because of the time and thought publishers put into getting public attention for the book and/or the author.
A friend read a blog and saw and excerpt and recommended the book to you. A librarian or bookstore clerk read a review (ARCs provided by the publisher for review) or something about the series in one of the trade magazines or catalogs. Or you follow blogs. The publishers’ promotion department generally sets these up.

  • 2. You heard about the author or the book because the author thought about effective ways to promote themselves and their book.
Authors find that writing a good story is only the beginning of their work as an author. Keeping /renewing contracts depend upon sales. I’m sure authors would love to concentrate on just writing the next book. But they can’t do that. They have to build a readership/buyers for their product.

That’s business 101.

Word of mouth isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do you accomplish that? There is a plethora of ways to do lateral promotion. This takes thought, time, and effort to accomplish.

Analyzing the type of story you’ve written and pick out those elements you can highlight and then look for blogs about those issues or elements. Some authors donate a percentage of the books proceeds to Charities they highlight. Suppose your heroine/hero is a veterinarian involved with rescuing at risk animals—dogs, cats, horses, and whatever. No doubt the author has already looked at organizations involved with animal rescue as a way to highlight their story. Or perhaps H/H is involved with Relay For Life because they lost a parent, sibling, mate, or child. Since you used that as part of setting, why not look at that organization as a way of talking about your book? You highlight the book and the organization.

Susan Gable is an author who writes about persons with disabilities. Her research into making a viable story means looking at support groups and organizations. If these groups know she’s writing novel about a person with a disability word of mouth from that alone is worth the time and effort invested.

Then there are blog tours. This also involves time and effort. Time muse may be screaming at the author to sit their butt into the chair and write the next story. So to appease their muse and publisher it means scheduling their time to accomplish both and work on deadlines.

I set up blog tours and that means I work with authors, agents, and publisher promotion Reps. I know the work that goes into scheduling, blog set up, articles and interviews. I work with authors who go through a grueling couple of months meeting their fans either in person or on blogs.

Blogging takes time and creative energy. Think about seeing one of your favorite authors on a blog tour of say ten blogs. He/she has to come up with ten subjects to blog about that fit the particular blog site. There is only so many ways to talk about a book.

  • The purpose of a Blog tour is to build an audience for the author's books. This means interacting with readers. Think of it as a online booksigning or a meet and greet.

So for a Blog Tour to be effective two things need to happen:

  • The author has be present the day of their blog.

Granted, they don’t have to live at the blog site but they do need to visit several times during the day. Again, this is like an online greet the readers, so the author needs to be there to interact with their readers and fans. Authors defeat the whole purpose if they merely drop an article in a blog owners lap and move on.

Being a presence is one of my requirements to blog on Over Coffee, as is:

  • Announcing their blog dates on their website, blog, or whatever social networks they belong to and provide the link to the blog site so fans can get there.
This takes some time on the author's part. It also takes time on the blog owner's part to announce the author so there are comments. It also means the blog owner needs to monitor the blog that day and if the comments are few, take steps to change that. So it's a partnership between author and blog owner.

It all involves a lot of creativity and just plain hard work.

So the next you pick up a book from your favorite author, consider all the hard work they put into not only telling an entertaining story, but also the work they did so you would know about them and their books.

Next week:

Monday and Wednesday,  Author, Marcia James, will be talking more about how authors can do lateral promotion. She will also be talking about the workshop she will be offering to writers on promotion.

Friday, I will be having Cheryl Brooks, author of the wonderfully hot Cat Star Chronicles and a bit about her book and what she does for fun. There will be two copies of Hero given away to two commentors.
Excerpt links, back cover blurbs on both authors work will be available.


VA said...

I don't know how some of these authors do it all. Just reading about it makes me tired.

Tonya Kappes said...

It is sooo exhausting. Writing the book seems to be the easiest part:) I got my first round of edits and it was a big eye opener for me. I'm not complaining b/c I loved having the opportunity to make the edits and when I was finished, it was amazing how much stronger my book was.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Vivian, I think it is exhausting to do promotion because it's such an intense period of time from just before the release through the first couple of months of the release. Plus you have to factor in the author is usually involved in edits for the next release.

I'm impressed with the work authors do to provide entertainment for readers and follow their dream to be a successful published author.

I think a writing career is the same as any other career. Success is a part timing and three parts of just plain hard work.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Tonya, welcome to the world of controlled insanity.

Can't wait to see the book!

Helen Ginger said...

There are still those out there who believe if you write a book, millions will buy it. At least, they believe that until they start to write and begin meeting other writers and hearing or reading posts like this one. There are authors out there writing multiple series, blogging, and promoting. I don't know how they do it all!

~Sia McKye~ said...

They have a dream, Helen. The wise ones know for the dream to succeed, they have to work at it. I know some pretty wiped authors.But it's worth the work to have the dream and they learn fast how to pace themselves.

And you are so right. There are aspiring authors that think a book with their name on it is a guarantee for success. If that was the case, why go to a publisher at all? Just write it and go through LuLu. Pure profit, right?

Ask a hard working POD pubbed author if that guarantees success and they'll laugh their head off at the naivete of the questioner.

What separates your book (speaking general terms here) from the THOUSANDS out there in the same genre? How do you get a reader to WANT to pick up YOUR book and the next and read it, instead of buying known author B?

Promotion is vital to accomplish, 1. building a name recognition, and 2. building a loyal readership. That takes writing a good book (with an editing staff on hand and a good promotion department). It also takes time, determination, and effort on the author's part.

Mason Canyon said...

Hi Sia, running late commenting here but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your post. I've always known writing was hard work for the author but since I've been blogging I've come to realize there is so much more that goes on for an author. It makes me appreciate each book I read and realize why there can't be another book in that series in a couple of months after I read the first. LOL

Thoughts in Progress

~Sia McKye~ said...

Mason, you mean I'm not the only one who gets impatient for the next book? I swear, there are times I won't start a series until they have a few written. Then I have a couple there to start reading. No wait.

As a blog owner, you no doubt see the hard work involved with promotion too. You've had some wonderful guests, too.

And Mason, with life being what it is, I frequently get to blogs later rather than sooner. But Friday blogs are open until Sundays. So worries. :-)

Houston A.W. Knight said...

OMG...everything you said is sooooo TRUE! If non-writers only knew what we do...16 hours days is a normal life for me now...doesn't leave time for much of anything else.