June 9, 2010

Promo Gems I Wish I’d Done First

The other day I was riffing through a lot of promo stuff from various authors and I came across this one by Parnell Hall.  What a gem THIS was, and he has several other videos on You Tube, all promoting his books.  Who else but Parnell would think to write a song, play it on his guitar, put it up on You Tube, and sit back and hopefully rake in the dough?  Anyhow, here’s his You Tube address so you can go check out for yourself Parnell Hall’s “I’m Signing in the Waldenbooks, and Nobody’s There.”:


Hilarious, isn’t it!

Did you know Chris Grabenstein is also an improv comedian?  Not sure I could do it, although I get funny once in a while.  In front of an audience, though?  Well, yeah, I could do something in front of an audience, I’ve done it many times when giving talks at writers’ conferences.  But still…funny?  For fifteen, thirty, sixty minutes? 

Nah.  Wish I could, I’m sure it sells books.  I can talk that long easily.  I can even be friendly and interesting and sometimes funny.  But funny ALL the time?  Oh, Lord.  I can hear it now.  “Beep! Get out of the box!”

Then there’s the ubiquitous Rob Walker, who is everywhere every minute of every day, promoting his books.  Some people might not like that so much, but I’ve noticed that when he put his books up for sale on Amazon’s Kindle website just a month or so ago, they started immediately selling like hotcakes, a real coup for anyone.  Granted, he did it on the tail end of Joe Konrath’s incredible Kindle debut, but still, there are thousands of ebooks up there, more every day, and most of those people aren’t raking in over a grand in their first month there. 

How’d he do it?  Well, he’s everywhere every minute of every day promoting his books.  God love him, he never shuts up, but he does it with such good humor you can’t get mad at him.  And it’s not like he has a lot of time on his hands.  He’s an author, a fairly new husband, and a school teacher.  We all know what that means, papers to grade, classes to teach, parents to call, all that and more.  But you’d never know it if you watch for him online, because he’s…well, I already said it but I’ll say it again because if I don’t, he will.  He’s everywhere, every minute of every day, talking about his books. 

SO many authors flogging SO many books, it’s a wonder anyone ever sells any through all the noise.  But ya gotta do it.  Make the noise yourself because it’s pretty much a given nobody’s going to do it for you.

The trick, I think, is to promote your books online without always appearing to promote your books online.  I know very few authors who can carry this off successfully.  We have way too many of the ones (Rob excluded because he’s so loveable) who offend just about everybody because they’re SO in your face and they NEVER let up.  They sell books, though.  Can’t deny that.  I’m not sure how many.

I’ve always maintained the only way to really successfully sell a ton of books is for the books to be IN the stores to begin with.  I’m talking like thousands.  Many thousands.  You can push books at every small venue you can sign up for, and you’re still never going to wind up with big, big sales unless your books are IN the stores.  To begin with.  Of course, I’m talking about physical books here.  Looks to me though that e-books are going to catch up eventually in many ways, especially with the Kindle phenom going on.  Time will tell. 

Online promotion?  That’s fine, but too many of us forget there’s a whole world full of people who don’t go online and if they did, they don’t necessarily go most places where authors hang out.  It’s just not on their radar. 

I want them, too.

I’m plotting for when my next book comes out.  Right now I’m just on the Agent Chase, looking for the right agent for my new baby.  I’ll keep y’all posted on that. 

Meantime, it’s summer.  Keep cool.  And pray for the folks along our southern American shorelines who are having such a struggle.  And while you’re praying for them, don’t forget the defenseless animals out in that water.  Every time I see a shot of even one of them my heart cries.  

Come back and see me again soon.  I’ll be here, I promise.  And I’ll leave the porch light on for you.

Cheers, B.A.

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  1. Wise words. Rob hasn’t reached everyone. I believe there might be some monks in a Himalayan monastery who don’t him, yet. 😉 I love how he manages his time so well and accomplishes so much. I think time management is a foundation for good promo because you have to decide how to use that time effectively. Why spend hours promoing at a site where ten thousand other authors are slapping up their excerpts. I’m trying to do things where I’m the only one or there with a hand full of other authors. With a group,I try to get with authors who write a mix of genres that can tie together, like erotica and romance, horror and mystery. I’ve been doing this since March and have received my largest royalty check to date.

    I’m praying for the Gulf residents, too. I live near a BP refinery and I shudder every time I pass it, wondering if something is wrong there.

  2. Excellent blog and hilarious video. I’m the worst at promo, or at least one of them. Now I have some hints to step it up a notch.:)

    Wishing you the absolute best with the agent hunt, B.A.!

  3. I never thought you were bad at promo at all, but every little hint helps. ‘-) Thanks for the good wishes, I have a feeling I’m going to need them…







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