Yes, promo aka marketing. Sounds easy enough, but it’s not. Even this blog is a form of promo. It’s a way for everyone to get to know me, the author. The funny part about that is my life is rather boring. Excitement is probably limited to what’s for dinner? But at least here, I can connect with my readers and tell them when something new is coming and even give them a sneak preview.
But real promo is work. I’m supposed to hawking my book(s) wherever I can, so I’ve already started to schedule guest blog spots. And naturally, as the books release, there will be tons of tweets. I’ll have to send something to FB, but I have no idea why. I dread using that social media. Who sees it? I don’t have twenty million followers and it’s so cluttered in ads for other stuff, my friends won’t see what I’ve posted. I can’t find their posts!
Then there are the ads. Those paid spots where authors can put their books. The larger their audience, the more expensive they are. There’s no way I can afford them. Authors talk to each other and most will tell you they barely make back the cost of their ad.
So do what I do best? Blog. (Don’t laugh at me.) I can talk to people. As a child, I was scared to open my mouth. As a teen, I learned to talk to everyone! I talk to strangers in the grocery store! Really I do. Combine my gift of gab with my ability to write, and presto! The Blogs.
But we’re back to that arm-twisting thing. I just have a difficult time telling people to buy my books. I don’t know why. I can’t force anyone to do it. Why are you reading this? I hope it’s because you like me. So maybe you’ll like my books.
My westerns are a little sweeter, but not overly tame and my River Cities tend to be a little sexier. Okay, I lot sexier. But they are still far, far, far from erotic. (I couldn’t write that if I had to. Even my vocabulary doesn’t go there! Do people really talk that way?)
Want to know why there’s a difference in my books? Different people. In general, young educated people who live in urban areas tend to be more sexually active with less baggage when it comes to sex. And in rural farm/ranching communities they can be just as active, but they seem to be less open about it. There’s also a difference in the length of these books. There’s more time to write about the antics of two young people in love when you’ve got 90K words to do it in.
I know I have a problem when it comes to morals. I don’t think we are meant to be alley cats who take on anything that walks down our path. But in a committed relationship, I think sex is a wonderful expression of love. Therefore I’m not afraid to show that in my River City romances. So yes, they are sexier and that might turn some of my sweeter readers off. That sends my promo work into two different directions.
Say sweet and people think there’s no sexual tension or anything more than a chaste kiss. Oh get real! Maybe a hundred years ago when two people weren’t even certain about the existence of the body parts, and even then they were still feeling things within them. They might not have understood them, but they were there.
Some readers don’t want every action tossed in their face, nor do they want to wade their way through pages of it. Others feel slighted if the story doesn’t contain a certain amount of sexual expression. A fellow author had a terrible review on her book. I read it and laughed. (I know that sounds really mean, but don’t take it that way.) The reviewer thought there wasn’t enough sex in the story therefore she gave it a one star review. I had one of those on a sweet novella. The reviewer gave it a one star review and said she had to go read something adult to counter my “adult” book. HUH? Yep!
Sorry, folks, I do write about adults, but that doesn’t mean they are jumping in the sack just because they can. Just because you have a toolbox filled with tools doesn’t mean you’re ready to build a house or overhaul the car’s engine. And when it comes to sex, we’ve all got the tools.
So my promo goes in two different directions with the hopes of finding new readers. For every blog I visit, I find new people. With a little luck, they’ll buy a book and enjoy it enough to buy more of my books. But like so many authors, I often feel as though I’m advertising to other writers. And if they are like me, I probably have a to-be-read pile that’s 200 books deep! I don’t have a lot of time to read other books, so I pick and choose carefully when going through that stack.
I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing until I find something that seems more promising when it comes to promo. And I’ll still be here, blogging away, connecting with my readers, and sharing my life, because without my readers, there’s nothing.
So where are all the readers? I have no clue. I know who they are. It’s average person who just wants to read a good book with a happy ending. Someone who wants to escape for a little while and wants to think that maybe there’s a Mac, Cody, Ari, Brad, or a Richard out there waiting for them. Or maybe she already has her prince charming and he’s snoring next to her while she’s reading.
Today’s prince charmings aren’t living in castles. They have a house on the water, a prime condo in the city, or enough acreage to get lost in it for days. They own a business or are an heir to it, or maybe they are still climbing that corporate ladder.
We don’t have to have a guy who is filthy wealthy, we just want someone who appreciates us for being the person we are on the inside, because our size, shape, and coloring shouldn’t matter. And if he’s got money…that’s an extra.