Book promotion is a very relevant topic in author circles. The other day, at a writers’ meeting, the talk turned to writing laurels, and what it means to be reconized as a writer–and how much of a role book promotion plays in the lives of most authors.
When it comes to the word ‘recognize’ it works on various levels.
It could be in the sense of ‘recognition,’ as in, the contribution of a writer is acknowledged and applauded with awards and shout-outs, as well as with praise in the media and social media.
The other is whether writers appear enough in the public view that their faces are recognized–the way actors are, for instance.
When we speak of movies, this kind of recognition for screenwriters is probably very desirable. Writers play a vital role in visual storytelling, be it via movies/documentaries/OTT Platforms, but they aren’t ‘seen’. People might recognize actors and directors, and even producers, but writers are only now beginning to emerge as recognized entities. They’re demanding the compensation that is commensurate with their contribution to the success of a movie or OTT series.
In the publishing world, authors show up in their readers’ worlds via their words. Their names appear on the covers, and even though an entire publishing team works on a book, it is the author who is mainly credited with the work.
Book promotion and author types
I’ve heard from many authors and being one myself, I’ve come to discover that there are three kinds of authors:
–the shy, retiring kind, who would rather spend time at the dentist’s chair than on a panel or an author appearance at a bookstore,
–the kind who live and thrive on such appearances and can be seen interviewing, or being interviewed
–and the third kind: the ones that fall between the two. They make themselves face author-ly appearances because that’s what their publisher or book needs.
In all honesty, I’m the first kind. Looking back, all the books I’ve loved in my formative years came from long-dead authors. I’ve always only wanted to read books, not been keen on meeting the author. When I started thinking about writing, one of the attractions was the ability to write in my pyjamas at home, and not giving a toss about dressing up for work and meeting people. Book promotion was never a part of my plans.
Personally, I’d rather never do an author event, but given that I’m a bipoc author who hasn’t travelled to the countries she’s published in, I feel I owe it to my books to do what little I can. So I fall in the third category. I did my best with my debut, You Beneath Your Skin, did more online than offline appearances for The Blue Bar (pandemic), and have kind of let it slide a little for The Blue Monsoon.
Where I stand on Book Promotion
My current mindset is that authorial book promotion barely moves the needle in my genre for a new-er author. I’m a tad exhausted with the idea of book promotion, and since I don’t entirely enjoy it, don’t see a reason to push myself to do them. I’ve seen authors go all-out on podcasts and lives, book launches and signings and sell just a few copies. Authors who barely do anything at all sell a ton. (Or don’t, as the case maybe.)
I find that I’m comfortable with the idea of remaining a relative unknown–if my stories sell, it is due more to luck and my publisher, than any promotional efforts on my part. I enjoy the interaction on this blog, and have had so many of you be kind enough to read my books. The same goes for my social media. The important thing is the ‘enjoyment’ part, though.
As a self-published author, you have no choice–promotion is as crucial as writing, unless you reach a stage where you can hire someone to do most of it. I’ve hosted posts about book promotion, like this one, and I’m not dissing the necessity of doing it.
I acknowledge my privilege of being in a position where I can afford to say that life is too short to be spent doing things that bring me no joy.
In my situation as a hybrid author, I won’t entirely withdraw from social media and promotions, but limit myself to the stuff I like doing–a few interactions, and events I’m invited to. I’m not aggressively pitching and pushing, but I’m not saying no to opportunities either.
A writer writes. In modern times, a writer also promotes. For me I’m focused on the former, and cutting back on the latter. For now.
Are you a reader or a writer? As a reader, do you wonder about the writer, their life? Would you prefer to buy from an author you’ve heard from rather than a book you stumble upon on the shelves? If you’re an author, how much time do you spend on promoting your books vis-a-vis writing them? Is book promotion the author’s responsibility?
My literary crime novel, The Blue Bar is on Kindle Unlimited now. Add it to Goodreads or snag a copy to make my day. The sequel, The Blue Monsoon is up for pre-orders! And if you’d like to read a book outside the series, you can check out You Beneath Your Skin. Find all info about my books here or on Linktree.
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