Drive-by Promo

So my book releases in 20 days.  You mean I gotta start talking it up? To strangers?


I don’t really see why I feel so reluctant to start posting excerpts and chatting on loops.  I’ve been involved in marketing for almost 20 years.  I can sell other people’s stuff, why not my own? I’ve spoken to a convention room full of Fortune 500 CEOs.  Why can’t I jump into a loop and say, Hi! Here’s my excerpt?

Well, I think it’s the venom readers and authors loops spew over “drive-by” promo.  You can’t just go into a relevant loop, for instance, “The Loop for Erotic Historical Romance Featuring Hot Heroes,” and post your excerpt about your new erotic historical romance featuring a hot hero.  The “regulars” go nuts.  Who are you? they say.  We don’t know you! How dare you do a drive-by promo if we don’t know you!

Well, do we really need to spend three hours a day promoting our book to the forty-seven online friends we already know? Isn’t the point to get the book in front of new people? STRANGERS?

Does McDonald’s air fifteen commercials asking about our kids, telling us about their husband who won’t put the seat down, and try to be friends with us before they send out that all-important sixteenth commercial… the one with the burgers they want us to buy?

Book promo is advertising. It’s the online equivalent of the book rack in Wal-Mart.  We have to put our cover blurbs into the hands of people who are out looking to buy books.

I say be bold.  Do a drive-by. Find appropriate loops and send out excerpts on their promo day.  Maybe there are lurkers on those lists (like me!) who read promos if the book sounds interesting, even if we don’t know who you are. We might not even care who you are. We might just be looking for something good to read this weekend.After all, when we browse the book racks in the store, do we only look for books by people we know? Hell no.

Find the readers who like your kind of book.  You don’t have to be their friend, you just have to give them a cover blurb that sonds good and an excerpt that wow’s them.  Some people on the loop won’ t like it.  So what? If they aren’t looking for new authors and new excerpts to read, that means they’re not there to buy books in the first place.

Online promo is great.  Online friends are great, too. I met my husband on an online writer’s workshop, so I’ll be the first to tell you those friendships can be real and lasting. But when I met him, I wasn’t trying to sell him my book.  In the words of Offspring, you gotta keep ’em sepa-rated.

And here’s another problem with all this online communication… we spout off our opinions and there will always be people who think we’re an ass. Does that really help us sell books?  Do we really want to know if our favorite author is funny or sweet or a complete social moron when we’re lost in a great story?

All my friends are already gonna buy my book.  Of course, being a complete social moron, that amounts to about six people, if you count the ones who are related to me.  But aside from them, I plan on getting my book in the hands of as many strangers as I can in the next… gulp… 20 days.


6 responses

  1. Selling books are hard. A author friend of mine who writes historical books told me agents are losing jobs. I am hoping someone would buy my books.

    May 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

  2. Hiya!

    I do drive-bys on a couple of groups. Haven’t been kicked out yet. I totally agree with you on the selling to 47 people thing. What gets me is promoting to everyone else who is promoting. How many authors are going to buy the competition’s book? Or is that just me being defeatist?

    May 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    • Fiona Vance

      Not defeatist, unless we’re both gonna be defeated!

      May 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm

  3. I loved your post 🙂 –

    I wish you the best with your book Fiona.

    If your looking for a place to do a drive by come join me at Night Owl Romance. Feel free to post on the message board and Yahoo group. Most of us don’t comment…but we do read the excerpts, blurbs and buy books.

    If someone tries to tear you a new one I’ll give them a new one :).

    From someone who has been learning about marketing books for a while…and writing a book and owns

    Tammie King
    Night Owl Romance
    To Be Read Pile
    Romance Book Promotion
    Tammie King Web Design

    May 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    • Fiona Vance

      Thanks, Tammie! I’ll certainly come by! NOR is a great site! Any help for us newbies on how to do all the hard work of promoting and still leave time to write… and eat and sleep and go potty, and do the day job… is always welcome!

      May 20, 2009 at 8:34 pm

  4. Sure Fiona – One way is to get started on providing a monthly newsletter. Get people to sign-up by doing a monthly contest via the newsletter… promote that on your website and at other locations. I use Constant Contact, but their are other newsletter services.

    Plus have a romance related website do a monthly contest for you. Many will host a contest for you for a small fee…everyone who enters the contest must agree to be added to the authors newsletter. Host your contest with a different sites different months….creating a larger pool of readers.

    When doing a newsletter keep it easy and simple. As you get more books under your belt don’t promote every title in the newsletter. Just a few – keep it short and provide purchase links and an excerpt of your next title. Attention spans are short – give just enough for someone to read it, but not too much and send their eyes realing.

    Your newsletter will be one really great source for future sales if you do it right.

    May 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm

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