Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Paying for Publicity and Book Promotion

I came across a post today on Book Marketing Buzz titled "Why You Need $10,000 to Promote Your Book" , and I had to click over to see if he was joking. I follow this blog and enjoy many of the posts related to book promotion and updates in publishing trends. But this post shocked and surprised me.

For one thing, very few writers have this kind of money to use on marketing a single book. This is why we're using social media to such an extend, because it's free. And it can be a very effective way to get our names and work noticed while having fun too.

Another thing, there are absolutely no guarantees that any kind of marketing program will bring sales to match. I hired an advertising person when Farm Girl first came out and the one thing she said, and what every professional marketer will tell you, is this: We can promote for you but we cannot guarantee results. 

The subtle warning is, "Let me tell you up front you might be throwing your money away. Are you okay with that?"

At WiDo Publishing, there are books that have been highly promoted by the authors and still don't sell very well. On the other hand, we've seen instances where an author has done very little beyond write and then sit back, not even writing anything else for years if at all, yet this one book will take off and sell consistently month after month.

Throwing money at a product will not guarantee success. If it were so, the big publishers would be spending a specific amount on each one they publish to create bestsellers. All a publisher or a writer can do is put the work out there and go through their promotional plan, whatever that happens to be, and then hope it catches on with the reading audience.

There's no explaining which books at WiDo have been top sellers and which ones have not. It hasn't come down to promotional dollars or advertising or marketing savvy. In the end, it comes down to whether the reading public connects with the book. And this can be a mysterious blend of ingredients involving timing, genre, promotional efforts that hit their mark, cover, price, summary, what's going on in the world at large--you name it.

There are awful books out there that catch on (Gone Girl cough cough, 50 Shades of Gray cough cough) and excellent ones that never go anywhere. A high-powered advertising budget isn't going to determine or create a bestseller.

But what do you think? Do you feel if only a publisher or writer does enough marketing or spends enough money, a book will sell?

While you're thinking about it, let me do my own plug on my cookbook, Farm Girl Country Cooking: Hearty Meals for the Active Family, which is free for a short time on Kindle.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blogging Burnout Anyone?

Today is the post day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, and although I'm not real clear on what I'm feeling insecure about today more than any other day, I do like to hop around and visit other blog posts. This is my favorite day of the month to go blog hopping, because the IWSG posts tend to be sincere and heart-felt.

As for me, I'm burnt out from posting daily for April. I kept up with writing my posts but didn't seem to find time to go visiting others on the list. This is a shame since it's part of signing up.

Pretty sure it's my last year to do the A to Z Challenge. I've participated each time since Arlee Bird initiated it, one year with two blogs at once. Two years in a row I've posted on Guatemala, last year as a new resident, this time with things a tourist might enjoy. Three times would be too much and besides, I think I'm done with heavy-duty blogging responsibilities like that.

Having cut back on blogging during the previous couple years, I'll probably continue in that vein, posting only two or three times a month. This works for me, keeping me in the loop without creating too much pressure.

I'm not really insecure about my blog since I've been moving in this direction for awhile and it feels right for me. But after five years of blogging and promoting blogging and some years even spending 20 hours a week on it, it feels weird to finally accept and acknowledge and even embrace entering a more low-key phase with it.