Thursday, November 06, 2014

Promotion: details are your friend

Recently a pal of mine tweeted that he would be at the New York Public Library that evening.  Yay! Oh wait, rats. AAR meeting. No go.

BUT I wanted to promote the event so other people would attend because I really love my pal's book and he's a pretty cool guy to boot.

So I retweeted his tweet.

Then I looked at the tweet.

NYPL is a huge, multi-borough library system. At WHICH library was he appearing?

I checked his website for event details: nada.
I googled his name and "nypl" and there it was.

So I linked to the NYPL site and tweeted the more specific location.

What's your takeaway on this? A couple things:

1. Always always always have your events listed on your website. Front page if possible. If you don't know how to update your page to add (and remove) events, learn how, or find a webmaster who can update with alacrity.

2. When you're promoting, ask yourself what someone who knows NOTHING about the event needs to know to attend.

You're going to do a panel at Bouchercon? Yay! Except Bouchercon is a three day long event and this year has more than 60 panels. Don't make your fans comb through the schedule. TELL THEM it's This Day and at That Time. And if you have the room number, so much the better.

3. Repetition is the key to people remembering things.  If you've got an event in NYC, it helps to tweet about it at least two weeks ahead of time. Your devoted fans will mark it on their calendars. Then you tweet periodically up to the day of the event. And the day of the event you tweet at least three times: morning, lunch, right before.

Bonus content:
At every event no matter large or small, you collect names on a sign up sheet for your mailing list. You invite people to join the mailing list, and then you thank them for doing so as soon as possible.  Being able to reach your specific fans in a specific city is promotional gold.

Facebook and Twitter is scattershot for announcing events. A personal email to someone is a direct hit. Which one bags more attendees?  Well, I know at least two  authors who worked their mailing list to build their fan base to the level they now enjoy: well-established NYT best sellers.

Promotion is tough. A lot of writers don't like doing it.  I've never quite understood why, since you are in fact telling your fans how to find you.


angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

When telephones were the center wall piece and had cords long enough once could meander into another room and entangle the cat, I would paint over 200 one-of-a kind Christmas cards and send them to my clients. Upfront costs were always paid back.

The number one rule to marketing : publicity pays. I don’t know where on the list might be: details are important. Assuming too much is definitely not on the list. Especially now when attention span shelf-life is seconds-long.

french sojourn said...

Which brings up a constant mantra of your's.

"Have a writing website and most importantly have an e-mail / contact link so people can reach you.

I had a couple compliments I wanted to pass on and couldn't find any contact information on a couple of the entries from your last contest.

*runs off to check his own site.*

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

french sojourn, I've often felt the same way. Some peoples' entries just blow me away, and I hope to find a website/blog/book/SOMETHING but alas, frequently come up empty.

(my email address is perhaps partially obscured on my blog, but it's there, at the bottom of the bio sidebar thinger. Perhaps I need to do a "where to find me/how to talk to me" tab)

Colin Smith said...

Agreed with all of the above. Especially blogs and/or Twitter accounts. If I like your stories and enjoy your comments, there's a good chance I'll come looking for you on your blog or on Twitter. If your blog hasn't been updated in 6 months, though... *sigh*.

How about we all meet up. Tonight. I'm in North Carolina, USA. ;)

Amy Schaefer said...

My email is on the front page of my blog, and I get the nicest notes from random people who have stopped by. It is always worth it to post your contact info.

Hmm, NC is a little far for me, Colin. But if anyone happens to be exploring the outer islands of Papua New Guinea, it's drinks on the balcony at my place!

french sojourn said...

How about we all compromise and meet in Southwest France. The Bordeaux reds are breathing now. Hurry!


Anonymous said...

Colin - I'm in NC too. :)

Hank, if only...just the phrase, the Bordeaux reds are breathing now makes me want to find an old wooden chair, place it in a field near the vineyard and enjoy the fresh air while sipping. Long as the field isn't close to the um, lambs...and, yeah, those...cows.

And I agree w/the others about not finding a blog or something for some of the folks entering the contests.

Recently I had a bit of fun updating my site and while I was at it, I tried to make it easier to follow me via email or Twitter.

Jed Cullan said...

The Sharkie told me to redesign my blog and to put up contact details. She knows stuff. And the stuff she knows, she shares. Listen to her. The advice is priceless. And don't wait until your book is out. Do it now. You may pick up some fans on the way.

And now I have my email on my blog, the thirty or forty emails she sends me a day demanding the return of her cakes, is worth the price of her knowledge.

Colin Smith said...

@donna: Hey fellow North Carolinian! :D I'm on the East side--where are you?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I'm in CT where it's raining cats and bats. It's colder than a witch's double D and it's been dark and dank since yesterday. I need the south of France like I need air. See you there. Oh wait, is France in N C because if it's not I'm off to Paris...Maine.

Amy Schaefer said...

Carolynn, you're depressing me. I'm going home for Christmas, and I am already stressed out about how cold and dark it is going to be. So please coddle my denial and pretend the weather is always great in the NE US/southern Canada, please and thank you.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Oh Amy I was having a bad moment because all I could hear was rain pounding on the roof at work and hardly had a chance to look outside.
I love the weather in CT and I mean that. This time of year is awesome and winter, it's absolutely beautiful. Cold and crisp with our little towns and greens breathtakingly beautiful.
Actually one of my favorite published pieces is an essay I wrote (years ago) for Country Living Magazine about February being my favorite time of year. Everybody hates winter so I took a different tact and they ran it. I never mentioned heart day at all. It may not be February yet but the heart of winter around here is amazing. Come on home. The northeast is warm, no matter what the temp is out.
Ha, I should write for the tourist bureau.

Steve Stubbs said...

Your advice is right, of course. I’d wager your author lives in Manhattan, As a former island dweller I can tell you people who cannot see past the Hudson River (and don’t even mention the East River) know of only one New York Public Library. That is the one on Forty-Second Street. More granularity than that seems to them to be unnecessary.

Kalli said...

I don't have a blog and I'm quite reluctant to get one - or even participate in one, as a group of my writers friends invited me to do. I think I'm just worried that it seems a bit self indulgent - not that I think all blogs are. When they have real value for their readers, like this one, it's completely the opposite. Regular updates are then a selfless service to humanity!

But that's why the idea of using a blog for self promotion makes me cringe, because it is so self serving. It's almost like, 'Hey, I had a thought that was too long for a facebook status, so I shared it with you on this blog - now buy my book!'

Ugh. My blog would be so lame. Luckily, my novel is better :-)

Anonymous said...

Colin - I'm in the Sandhills region of the state. Dunn to be exact. I'm from Raleigh. Where are you?

french sojourn said...


When you release your novel to the world, people will like it enough to want to know more about you.

My first blog was about moving to France with my wife and daughter. It was specifically so family and friends could keep track of us.

Now I just started a writers blog. Try going to google blogspot and filling a free blog template out. You don't have to make it public yet.

Write about the writing process, review other books you like. Scribble down observations, why you like to write. It's self serving only as much as it allows others to get a glimpse of you.

Here's the deal, you probably have a dozen followers already on this blog. I'll read it.

Cheers Hank.

(Maybe get one up before Monday so we can compliment you on your soon to be Flash Fiction contest entry...)

DLM said...

Many thanks to Janet and all of you - I just added the "Contact Me" widget to my blog off of Google+. Of course, I am one of those authors who figures "nobody'll ever use that" so we'll see if it's worth it!

And hello to my fellow midatlantic/eastern seaboarders. VA here.

Kalli said...

french sojourn,

Thanks for the tips. I should probably talk to my agent before I start a writing related blog, because I imagine that's the kind of thing she'd want to be in the loop about - she might have some ideas for developing my 'platform' herself, and I certainly don't want to do anything she wouldn't approve of. To be honest, I'm almost afraid to post on AW in case she recognises me, and is like 'why do you have time to post stupidness on forums when you still owe me a novel??' (she's not that bad really, but I do feel guilty about it, hehe)

Anyway, something to think about. And if I ever do set one up, I'll be sure to let you know :-)