Sunday, January 29, 2012

How to Promote Your Next Book

My life has been hectic since late summer through the beginning of the new year.
In advance of the release of my debut book, I asked Angela James, and just about anyone who would listen, how do you promote an ebook? Some people told me create unique swag. Others suggested chapter books especially since I had no tangible book to sign. Still others told me blog tours and tweet three times a day for weeks. Angela said write the next book.
In August-September I created my marketing plan for my book, KNIGHT OF RUNES. It was to be released on November 14. I researched and developed the different pieces of swag, mapped out a blog tour, and planned the ad space I would buy. I realized that I needed to reach readers and reviewers. I hired a publicist to handle that aspect.
October was filled with the excitement of a leadership role (assistant chair) in the NJRW conference. I worked with some of the romance industries best-known authors. I read their stories but I never thought I would meet these authors. I had fan girl moments with Suz Brockmann (yep, she asked me to call her Suz!), Rachel Gibson, Eloisa James, and Victoria Alexander. Through it all, I remained diligent and worked my marketing plan. I wrote posts and was active on loops and blogs to keep my name in the forefront.
November was even more exciting, my book released and our family gathering for Thanksgiving was wonderful. Besides the cooking and prepping, I had a world wind blog tour that kept me very busy. I monitored the blogs and answered all the comments. I wrote more posts and read reviews.
December the madness continued with the holiday shopping and cooking. The blog tour continued but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and it wasn’t an oncoming train! I took some days off at the end of the year and spent some quality time with my family. Our son spent his vacation with us which encouraged his sisters and their families to move in for a few days. It was wonderful.
Well, the holidays are over. My book is published. What have I learned? I should have listened to Angela and wrote the next book.    


  1. Thank heavens, I did do that. Now if only I could cut down the time it takes to edit and fine tune a manuscript.

  2. Great advice, Ruth! Thanks for the post and words of wisdom.


  3. I absolutely agree that writing the next book is THE most important thing, but you do need to make some happy noise for your release :)Cough. That sounds a bit rude. Sorry, but you know what I mean :)

  4. I am gearing up for my third and fourth releases and I STILL haven't got the hang of promotional stuff. The Yahoo loops alone can distract me for hours and while they are great for increasing my own pile of books to read, I suspect they are not really helping with my own promotion. LOL

  5. I figured that out halfway through my blog tour when I had two books released a week apart Thanksgiving week.

    I'm working diligently on my next book before two more come out again, back to back, in April/May.

    This time, I'm a little bit wiser, and will continue to write while I promote.

  6. Yes. Finally the voice of reason. Thanks,

  7. Great post, Ruth - and a fabulous reminder! Hope you're back to writing new stuff now. :)

  8. Angela is a smart cookie. I do think writers need to be sure to continue to write. It's truly the most important part of it all.

  9. I hear you, Ruth! I joined Twitter months in advance of my new book release, but won't know for a couple of months if it made any difference. I've also stepped up my blogging and participated in guest blogs. Didn't have funds for advertising. And by the time the book came out, I was tired of the whole promo thing.

    My publisher gives the same advice--write the next book, and the build up your backlist. I've decided that's what I'll do. The shorter novellas that are popular in e-books are easier to plot out and write, just because they're shorter. And instead of two years between books, I now have two new releases coming out later this year. I'll still do the minimal amount of promo to keep my name out there, but I'll pour most of my efforts into writing and submitting that next story.

  10. Amen! Been there, done that...totally know what you're saying.

    Great blog post - good luck with the next book! :)

  11. Very well put! I'm treading the same path at the moment, not sorry I'm doing promo since the book was my debut BUT it is hard to find time to write creatively right now! Angela is right again LOL. I totally agree the backlist is the key. (But wow did I fall in love with twitter along the way.)

  12. There is a fine line between wearing yourself out promoting your book to hoping it sells itself with no help from you. We do need to promote, but if people like the book and look for the next one and it isn't there, you have lost a fan.

  13. also need to develop a "brand" so Ruth A. Casie stands out on the virtual shelf, so one has to take center stage for a short time. Now that you're there, you can hunker down into the next novel without having to worry about setting up the next fireworks show. You're there. Bang!

  14. Thanks so much for the blog, Ruth. I have my first book coming out in I need say more?

    I have four stories done and have started my fifth. :)

  15. Great post. My publisher suggests spending either an hour a day or one day a week on promo and the rest writing. And I did have works in progress when my first and second books came out. But this third book just isn't quite working and I have three almost complete versions, none of which have strong enough conflict. So, I write and I promote, but heaven only knows when this third book will be done. ;-/

  16. I agree w/ Toni. You kind of have to do both. Of course you need to keep the books coming, but you also need to let readers know your book is out.

  17. And I'm just beginning this process for my upcoming release in April. Writing the next book seems like the perfect solution and a long lost dream.
    Wait a Lonely Lifetime, Avalon Books, April 2012

  18. @Rita
    @Pepper Phillips
    @Kirsten Arnold
    @Toni Anderson
    @L.M. Brown
    @Anne Marie Becker
    @Jeffe Kennedy
    @Susan Macatee
    @Veronica Scott
    @Sandra Z Bruney
    @J. Coleman
    @Paisley Kirkpatrick
    @Rochelle Weber--Author
    @Rebecca York

    Thank you all for your comments. I totally agree that branding is important. For me that means blogging and doing things to to keep my name in front of people. As far as writing the next story, my aim is to have it finished by March and start the next one. Suddenly all these ideas are flying around in my head and I can't wait to get them on paper.

  19. Great post. My first ebook came out in November. I've written the next but the edits are proving more difficult to do around the day job, family and promoting. I will prevail. Good luck to you.

  20. @Leigh Verrill-Rhys
    @Stormie Kent

    Leigh - I promise you if you keep writing you will be ahead of the game. Blog tours and tweets keep your name in front of people

    Stormie - My book releases this past November too. I've gotten a great draft of the next one completed and working hard at editing. My editor (Denise Neilsen) was a great teacher. Now I stop mid sentence when I see POV going astray or my split commas. I'm hoping this book will not need as much editing as my first.

    Thank you both for stopping by

    ... Ruth

  21. That's great advice, Ruth. The first book is very exciting, but we have to be ready for all those happy readers who are ready for the next book. :)

  22. @Shelley Munro

    I totally agree!

    ... Ruth

  23. I read this post on my phone last night and tried to comment but it didn't work :( Just wanted to say THANKS for the reminder about what really matters. I've tweeted this post too - loved it!

  24. @Rachael Johns

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for tweeting it.

    ... Ruth

  25. Just what I thought.
    The best promotion is a great book.

    Thanks for the post!

  26. @Sandy L. Rowland

    I know that's no surprise to you. I can't tell you how I'm kicking myself that I didn't start the next one sooner.

    I almost forgot how wonderful it is to make the stories and characters come to life.

    I fall in love with them, even the villains. This one reminds me of Alan Rickman. Paul and I are seeing his play on Tuesday. I'm calling it research :D

    Thanks for stopping by.

    ... Ruth

  27. Amen! LOL There's a reason why she's Angela James. *sigh* It's advice I need to take too. But I am so impressed with your marketing campaign too. Wow.

  28. @Shawna Thomas
    @PG Forte

    What's really nice about Angela, she didn't say "I told you so." She did tell me to finish the next book.

    Thanks for visiting.

    ... Ruth

  29. Publicity doesn't sell books, Not even for J A Konrath. He says so himself. The best ad for your book is another book in the same genre, even the same series.

    This weekend I gave a presentation for our local writers group (GLVWG) on Indie publishing. Needless to say, generating sales is even more important to an indie. One long time published author said her ebooks from 2007 are selling better now than they ever did because she has 3-4 more books out.

    Go write another book. Then do it again. The ebook market is a marathon, not a sprint.

  30. @Bart

    Thank you for corroborating. It took me a while to get into this new story but I'm on my way!

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

    ... Ruth

  31. Thanks for sharing, Ruth. Lots of things I'd do differently too, given the hindsight experience provides.

    Good luck with that next book!

  32. Ruth,
    Thank you for sharing. Angela gave excellent advice, and one of the reasons I do my pages first before anything else.
    I love, love, love the promo end. I didn't know until I began. My recommendation is to do what you love. Your passion for the topic, like your stories, comes through. I call this type of marketing, pairing your passions. Example, I am passionate about helping others, and one of the ways I do this is by donating 10% of my royalties to a charity of my choice. See how I've paired my passions of writing and helping others together? I love working with Habitat For Humanity and other charities. And, when I speak of HFH, people can tell helping a deserving family have a home is important to me.
    Good luck, and please know I wish you every success!