In yesterday’s post I covered points and tips that book publicist PJ Nunn shared at a recent Sister’s in Crime meeting in Austin, Texas. Today I’m going to talk about some of my thoughts. For now, I’ll mainly cover: Internet promotion versus Everything Else
PJ talked about a promotion pyramid (she didn’t have the graphic, but described it and I may have gotten some of the details…let’s just say there’s room for error). At the bottom of the pyramid (most important) was print/library, then radio, signings and last, at the top, internet.
I thought it an interesting pyramid and probably the exact opposite of how I would prioritize. I don’t know if it is a generation thing (I think I’m the same age as she is) or just a usage thing. I have never subscribed to a newspaper. Ever. I don’t listen to talk radio. When a commercial comes on, I switch stations (almost compulsively, I kid you not.) I rarely hear ads. For one to stay with me…probably isn’t going to happen.
PJ mentioned that the internet can become the worst time-sink of all the activities. I agree. Just like anything else, you have to prioritize your time. But…the internet is where I get *all* my book recommendations these days. Maybe I’m a minority. And I’m not saying I want to miss out on other opportunities. I’d prioritize the library pretty high on the list as well.
PJ didn’t mention that she blogged on Dead Guy until I raised my hand and asked about it. Yet–as an advertising tool, it must have worked because I attended the talk after learning about it from reading…the Dead Guy post. There were about fifteen of us in attendance, and I was the only one that heard about it via the internet that I know of. So yeah, the hit rate wasn’t high. But I don’t participate in Sister’s in Crime (I don’t have a book published so there’s not a lot of incentive.) I also don’t go out much so even had the bookstore had a notice I never would have seen it.
I order most of my books online (seriously–99 percent.) My book club is online. I read reviews online. I get a number of books from the library, and if I am likely to attend an event–it will be at the library. I’ll hear about the event by chance or because the library posts it on their internet page (which I see frequently when I’m out browsing to see if they have a title.)
Now, granted, I’m just one book buyer/reader. BUT after listening to PJ talk, I felt that yes, I’d have to give more consideration to some of the other things on the pyramid. I still left feeling that the internet was probably the most important tool I could use. Why? Because of all the things that she talked about, the internet was the most cost-effective. It won’t reach everyone. But neither do any of the other mediums. A book signing is going to eat up an entire day and possibly have travel costs as well as smaller costs (a candy dish, a display, etc.) And there is no guarantee you’ll sell any books at all. In fact, if I were to be published by a small publisher, book signings would fall lower on the list because the chance of being carried by stores would be even smaller.
Libraries are my second pick because I’ve seen how well they work. Not just talks either. A visit to a library to talk to the librarian about your book can mean the book gets displayed or promoted during its release–or during a special promotion on certain topics.
Newspaper and other print? If I had to pay for it, I’d skip. Like anyone, I’d love to be reviewed anywhere, but there are long lines to get reviewed. I’d have to study each market carefully before “spending” an ARC or print copy. I’m a reviewer. It is impossible to review every book I am sent.
I think you have to pick a few markets and try really hard to get coverage. The topic of review markets has been discussed on Dead Guy before and I think most people felt that a professional review beat blog reviews hands-down. I…tended to disagree with that. Any review is good. Reviews on sites with lots of traffic are obviously better than an individual blog (such as my own.) But competition is fierce. I think you gotta try to get the mentions where you can and not be snobby about it. We’d all love to be on Oprah, but it isn’t going to happen.
Then too, I spend time reading book blogs. Professional ones and hobby ones. Some people will probably only read the “pro” ones. Some people are just looking to talk books.
Radio: I’m ambivalent about radio simply because I don’t listen. I wouldn’t turn down a radio spot. I’ve been on the radio before (it’s a little nerve-wracking). The key is: If someone is listening to the radio, are they going to stop and take the time to write down the book title? Maybe. But it’s not an impulse buy.
I’ll talk a little more about radio and podcasts–it came up during the Q&A and again, I found it pretty interesting.
And keep in mind that PJ wasn’t against the internet — but the internet is something you can do for yourself. Some of the other venues might be harder and that’s where an author can benefit from her network and knowledge.
I’d also like to think we are on the cusp of change. The internet has opened entire venues that were closed before–including researching and accessing information such as this. It’s a wonderful tool that can provide an author with exposure, interaction and discussions.