Friday, 16 May 2014

Book Post - Promotion And All That

English: Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF)...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I've just been working on slidesets for next week's series of workshops on how to write, edit and publish books. In the last of the three, I look at getting an agent and also self publishing. And that invariably leads to the knotty issue of book promotion.

It's something of a conundrum, this promotion thing. I threw myself into promoting Olives - A Violent Romance like a particularly relentless lunatic, taking every opportunity to make a fuss, create content, repurpose, share, link and generally hoon around. Given the day job, I had a relatively good go at using my platforms and reach to nag, annoy, bully and generally beseech anyone who had ever come within my relatively wide ambit.

I did interviews, LitFests and ran a very extensive online reviews and outreach campaign. I published the book in October and by the following June was so exhausted with the whole thing I never wanted to see another book blogger again. Ever. Even the words 'I love books' used to bring me out in a cold sweat.

Picking up the energy to promote Beirut - An Explosive Thriller was a big deal. I never really managed it that well, beyond a cool launch event and some interviews/workshops and other stuff. I simply didn't have the energy left. And one thing that was becoming clear was there was a law of diminishing returns at play here - social media wasn't having the same impact it used to.

Everyone talks about getting an 'author platform', but what happens when those outlets become jammed with authors abusing their platform to promote books? Or when that platform is no longer seen as crucial or important to the people using it? What if everyone's just, you know, moved on?

I really haven't promoted Shemlan: A Deadly Tragedy that much. IMHO it is by far the best of the three books but hasn't even drawn ten Amazon reviews. Because I haven't printed an edition in the UAE as I did for the last two books, it's not being bought by its 'core audience' in the main because Amazon doesn't serve the UAE, the adoption of e-readers is generally miles behind in the Middle East and few people seem to be buying books online.

Book bloggers, who used to be relatively accessible, have TBR (to be read) lists stretching ahead months. A lot of book blogs have just ground to a halt, are no longer accepting self published books or simply aren't taking on more reviews. It's getting harder and harder to get your voice out there and have it heard.

And when you do, McNabb's law applies. You have to kiss an awful lot of frogs to get one buyer. And even then, they probably won't read the damn thing for months.

It's starting to get problematic. There HAS to be better way to get good books into people's hands (and no, it's not blasted GoodReads) than this trilling and primping on social media - because that's simply not working.

If you know the answer, clearly I am more than interested in your views. Because I, for one, don't...
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