If you read the advice to authors about what they need to do to promote their books (since publishers don’t do that anymore—you cynics will say, “along with proofreading”), the number of tasks can seem like a mountain too high to climb. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, email newsletter, book tour, readings, special events, blog tour, web sites, in-store promotions, yada-yada-yada. Platform! It’s exhausting to think about.
As publication day for my mystery-thriller approached, I decided to do what I can reasonably do and not regret the hundreds of tasks I’ll never get to. I’ve had my own website and blog for a decade. I promote my posts on Facebook and Twitter. Those are activities I knew I could continue. I could also revive my quarterly email newsletter.
Another multi-year investment has been tracking various associations of crime writers—the meetings of Killer Nashville, Mystery Writers of America, our local New Jersey get-together Deadly Ink, the rich resources of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers. Of course, in many of these interactions, I mostly meet other writers, not necessarily future readers. (They all have their own books to promote!) But if the workshops and the rubbing of elbows with my fellow authors helps me write a better book, that’s all to the good. And their advice and support and collegiality is invaluable. I can continue all that, gladly.
My daughter says I have many tribes—my writing tribe, my genealogy tribe, my theater tribe, my ballroom dance tribe (you weren’t expecting that one, were you!), my women’s club, my tribe from the World of Work, and more. Fifty-five delegates from these tribes came together June 8 for Architect of Courage’s launch party. Certainly, I’m capable of a party!
I also employed the tried-and-true problem-solver: throw money at it. I bought a few targeted ads and signed up for a Partners in Crime Tour of blogs, which has arranged showcases and reviews for me with fifteen book-related blogs. I purchased Atticus (text formatting) and Canva (graphics) software to create ads and flyers that I’ve distributed. Learning how to use both programs plus ConvertKit (email newsletter software) in the same week was a bit of process overload. But I can use those new skills again.
I’ve been Pennsylvania. Members of the writing group that met around my dining table for almost fifteen years (until covid) gave readings of our work twice a year, so I’ve had a lot of practice. So this was also quite doable. Two book groups I’ve connected with have put my novel on their agenda.
The list of possible promotion activities is pretty much endless, and I’ll continue to pick and choose the ones that (for me) are both doable and fun. Ultimately, whether the book will survive in the rough waters of the Sea of Competition will depend on its appeal, but that ship has sailed.