Diamond Jubilee at Romance at Random

"The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." Albert Einstein

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Branding Scramble

A few days ago I was interviewed at the Romance Books R Us blog. I found this quite exciting, yet cringe-worthy. “Cringe-worthy?” you might ask. Yes! Exciting because I need to get my name out there. Cringe-worthy for the same exact reason--I’m getting my name out there.

Reviews affect me the same way, even fantastic ones. These are precious manna, more precious than gold, and just as hard to come by when starting out. I also have to take the bad with the good, and this phenomenon is something every author will contend with sooner or later. Make peace with it and move on.

I don’t think it will come as a surprise I’m an introvert by nature. Privacy is a way of life for me. Whether I’m putting a request, or excerpt of my work out there, I’m also putting something of myself out there right along with it. Writing can be a lonely business, but promoting is the exact opposite to me. Just like any other product on the market, my work is a ‘good’ that I want people to buy. Now, more than ever, authors have to do their own promo, essentially selling (branding) themselves, not just their work.

It’s never too early to start building a name for yourself as a writer. Many of these opportunities will not just fall into your lap, and you’ll have to actively seek them out. This endeavor takes time, and for me, practice. Time away from writing and revising. Learn to accept these facts and start now, so it won’t be so overwhelming later.

Take author interviews --opportunities like these are great because other readers and writers learn a little bit about you and your works. Even if you’re not a published writer, you can still be interviewed as an aspiring writer at many sites.

A good idea is to compile a list of review and interview sites to have available. Once you’re published, you don’t want to be scrambling to find that info. Also keep in mind many of these sites are back-logged, so request early and expect a ‘No’ or two.

Make connections and build networks. Online friends are much more likely to help you when your promo comes knocking on their door than a stranger would be. The same goes for groups. Don’t just be a drive-by shooter with your marketing. Get to know the people in the group whenever possible. Of course, this means you’re going to have to pick the groups best suited to you. Otherwise, you’ll spend twenty-four hours a day running around the internet. If you have time, start a blog or join one to guest blog.

The twenty-four hour scamble on the net--I already feel that way sometimes. But I trust in the end it will all be worth the while. What are your takes on promoting yourself? Is it something that excites you? Does it cause dread to fester in the pit of your stomach? Or is it a love-hate relationship?

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


jennajaxon said...

When I start the "giddy whirl" of promotion I suspect it will be love-hate. I already have a blog and while I love writing it and the feedback from the comments is exciting, you are so right, Lisa, it takes precious time away from your writing. I have a website I started work on at Christmas but haven't touched in months because of the time issues. Excellent post. Makes you realize that being a published author is not all a bed of roses.

Lisa Kumar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Kumar said...

Jenna--glad to hear I'm not going to be the only one who has a love-hate relationship with promotion! Yes, I hate that promotion takes time away from writing. While I love responding to comments, I am way too addicted to the internet for my comfort :( A website is a great tool, and unlike a blog, shouldn't be such a time-hog.

rachelwritesromance said...

Very informative post, I haven't given a lot of thought to branding myself since I'm not published. I can see how having my name out there can help when I do get published. I think I will spend more time on my blog. Lovely layout btw.

Lisa Kumar said...

Thanks, Rachel! Yeah, I think a lot of writers don't think of promo until they have a contract in hand. Then it can be overwhelming When you post an entry on your blog, let us know.

I love the layout, too. The designer does fantastic work!

Kary said...

Lisa - one of my classes today at the Writer's Conf. was with Jamie Harrington. (You can find her blog at http://www.totallythebomb.com/ )The class called Pay it Forward was about networking using the internet. She suggested every writer -- published or not -- set up a google search notification on their name, FB page and Twitter account. If anyone mentions you or your blog on the internet you will receive email notification. Then you find who's talking about you online and can stop by and tell them thanks. By adding her blog link I am testing to see if she will come by and say "Hey".

Lisa Kumar said...

I was just reading a post where google notifications were mentioned as a good way to for authors to keep a tab on their name. I hadn't heard of it before. Will now run off to check into it. Thanks!