Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Promotion—Maybe

Warning: This post is about book promotion. It will be overwhelming uninteresting to those not actively involved in trying to sell their self-published books—and possibly uninteresting to those folks, too. But I'll throw in some kitty pix.

George is so embarrassed about being exploited that he has to cover his face.

Since I will be self-publishing  Them That Go (my seemingly never-ending-Appalachian-novel-in-perpetual-progress-toward-eventual-self-publication) with CreateSpace in a month or two, I try to keep up with CreateSpace news.  Recently CreateSpaceBlogger posted "New Year's Book Marketing Resolution,"which says, "In 2016 I will do (at least) one thing every day to promote my book(s)."

Then she gives a list. Having self-published my first novel, Patches on the Same Quilt, twice—off-set print runs in 2001 and 2003; CreateSpace version in 2014)—I'm already familiar with these suggestions. A lot of writers conferences I attended stressed some or all of these suggestions.

Chloe checks out the old cover of Patches on the Same Quilt and the new.

Let's see how I shape up according to the list:

Done that after Ferradiddledumday was published by a small press in 2010. If you click the link above, you can see it.

  • Craft or update a short, compelling bio

I have a bunch of bios—short, medium, and long—in a folder on my hard drive. Every year I update some of them. Been doing it for over fifteen years. I keep a long bio on my website. If I'm invited to a presentation, I refer the person who invited me to use anything from this bio she needs to introduce me.

  • Create or update a snappy description of your book

Snappy? For a serious novel? Uh, no. Concise, maybe? Here's what I have (so far) for Them That Go, but it's subject to change:

A secret revealed, A mystery solved, A life forever changed

In 1972, seventeen-year-old Annie Caldwell, who has the “gift” of animal communication, wants to be normal, but she’ll settle for being unnoticed. Annie’s brother died in Viet Nam, her mother is depressed and her father drinks. Her only friend is elderly Aint Lulie—who lives in the same holler and who understands the gift because she has one, too: “The first daughter in ever’ other generation has always been blest with a gift, though some think it a curse. Been that way for generations in the Caldwells, Byrnes, and once in a while in the Duffs.”
Aint Lulie also shares family history with Annie, including a mysterious death in the family and how their ancestors came to settle in the mountains: “There’s always been them that go and them that stay in ever’ generation.”
     When a popular local girl goes missing after a school dance, how do Aint Lulie and Annie use their gifts to help solve the mystery?
     Them That Go is an Appalachian novel rich in superstition, folklore, family, and secrets.

  • Check all of the above for grammatical errors

Done that—several times.

  • Update your headshot

Hmmm. Don't have any recent headshots. Does anyone really want to see how old I've gotten lately? How about a picture of a cute kitty instead? 

I have lots of those. But I think a good picture of the book's cover is in order. Because the book is the important thing. (The cover is still be created. Otherwise, I'd post it.)

  • Create a website

Did that back in 2010.

I do need to update my website though, and remove/fix some of the broken links. One of the things I heard at the first writers conference I attended many years ago was that an aspiring author should get as a domain name (with "yourname" being your author name). And start on a website before the books is even finished.

Another thing I heard long ago at conferences was to start a blog. I forget which literary agent said, "A blog is your column. It proves to the world that you can write." But not long after I heard it, I started this blog.

  • Create a Goodreads profile

I didn't find Goodreads all that helpful, so I didn't use it much. It seemed like authors promoting to other authors. I have long since forgotten my Goodreads login info. But there's a page of my books here.

However, there's a good post about "Goodreads for Beginners" that's worth a read on Indies Unlimited.

  • Insert a hyperlink to your Amazon page or website in your email signature

Uh, no. When I email someone, it's generally a personal message to someone I know or it's a business email. Neither category is interested in my website info. My friends are already aware of it; businesses don't care. The only exception I make is when someone wants me to do a guest appearance. Then I send the links to avoid having to add a lengthy attachment.

I hate getting emails from friends (and others) with all kinds of advertising info in their signature. Odds are good that I already KNOW their website/blog/Facebook/Twitter? etc. If I'm interested, I'll request it.

  • Send a signed book to your college alumni magazine

WTH? Why would the VCU magazine be interested in a self-published book by someone who graduated 49 years ago? VCU already has plenty of big-name authors who either teach there or who graduated from there. A self-published author has little, if any, news appeal. ("I self-published a book" ranks right up there with "I attended community college" or "I shop at Kroger" because ANYBODY can do it. Now, if I could boast that "I sold 987,654,321 copies of my self-published book on the day before I won the lottery," that would be newsworthy.)

  • Research local alumni chapters of your alma mater and reach out to them--many have monthly newsletters

I'm pretty sure there aren't any chapters in the Greater Lower Penhook area where I live. I don't think there are any in the whole county.

  • Research book clubs near you--then offer to attend the meeting if they choose your book

There are lots of book clubs in the Smith Mountain Lake area. Some decide a year in advance what books they'll be reading. In the past, some read and discussed Patches on the Same Quilt and invited me to the meeting where they were discussing it. But "offering myself to attend the meeting" as some kind of prize, or something. Uh, no. I'll wait to be invited.

  • Put a few copies of your book in the trunk of your car--you never know when you'll need them

Self-published authors ALWAYS carry more than just "a few copies" in the trunk. Currently I have a plastic wheeled-backpack filled with books—plastic, so books don't get wet if it rains; wheels, so I can move the thing when I do signings. In the truck, I also have a box of books so I can replenish the supply in the backpack.

However, I won't be "doing at least one thing ever day to promote my book." People get sick of that real fast. And I have a life—and cats that demand attention. I'll promote heavily at first—the first six weeks of so after the book is available—and then I'll slack off.

Other things I won't be doing are covered in my previous post, Book Promotion—Not.  And I don't want to do anything that would embarrass the cats so much they'd go into hiding.

I'd ask the cats for creative promotional ideas, but they're not good at thinking outside the box . . . 

. . . or even outside the basket.


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