Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Write the Next Book or Promote the Current One?

You may have heard authors say that the best way to market your work is by writing the next book. It's no secret, I love to be drafting a new book. And after I signed my first book contract, I did exactly that. I wrote the next book. I've continued to do that, but what about promotion?

Yes, having more than one book out is good because people who like your writing can purchase your next book. But how will people know about your first book if you don't promote it?

Well, I think I did a lot to promote Touch of Death, and early on too. But as the release date for Stalked by Death approaches (August 13), I realized that I haven't done nearly as much to promote this book. And now I feel guilty. What have I been doing? If you guessed writing the next book, you're right. But is this the right move? Should I be spending more time marketing?

I think the answer to both questions is yes. I should be writing another book, but I should also be marketing more. It's about balance. So I'm making a conscious effort to spend more time marketing while I continue to work on new projects.

What are your thoughts on the best way to market yourself as an author?

69 comments:

  1. Ah, went to a couple of talks on this at RWA National. Number one was to have an email newsletter. Either monthly or a new release only one seemed to be the two most popular. I think you are doing a lot of the other suggested recommendations. Frequent social media you are comfortable with regularly. Engage authentically. ;-) No one mentioned blog tours in the talks I went to there, but that seems to be all the rage right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay, I'm doing those things, so I guess I'm on the right track. Thank so much for sharing what you learned at RWA, Angelia. I appreciate it. :)

      Delete
  2. Tough one. Getting the balance right is hard. I'm currently spending far too muhc time on social media building up a following in anticipation of next book..... BTW I have noticed you out and about on Twitter...... good luck...it's a hard balance...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a tough balance. I need more time in my day! lol

      Delete
  3. And you have to practice craft. For those of us who work full time, it's a daunting task, but with a little bit of scheduling, you can do it all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you do have to practice your craft. Absolutely! I guess it is about balance.

      Delete
  4. Yeah. SO HARD. I guess you do what you can and hope for the best. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good post, and food for thought.

    Put your writing and marketing on a scale, (you know those old scales) and weigh them up until you get the right amount of each.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A writer friend of mine designates a day each week for marketing. It has to be extremely difficult to find a balance, especially since you have SO much going on. Good luck, and keep plowing on! = )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I could market for a whole day. I'd rather write. LOL

      Delete
  7. I think a balance between marketing your current books and working on new projects is best.

    I was wondering how you market your picture books. I find it very difficult to think about marketing for picture books, since well, the target audience (as in, the kids) don't spend time online.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So hard to market picture books! Schools and reading time appearances work best for me. I sell a lot more in person than online.

      Delete
  8. Link your author page and websites in your email signature if you have't already. Tweet and retweet often. If someone mentions you in a tweet, retweet it always! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. When a book is first out, it needs promoting, for sure. This time, I hired a tour company. But in another month or so, it'll be time to plot the next novel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never hired a tour company...yet. ;)

      Delete
  10. I agree with you that balance is important! I am not sure what the best way to market is- but I do like Diane's suggestion of retweeting. :)

    Best of luck!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't know if there IS such a critter as being in balance - I think necessarily our focus will shift from time to time.

    For me, (in theory, anyway) the writing always comes first. If I feel like I CAN write (or edit), that's my primary focus, and all the other stuff comes later. But there are times I feel blocked, so I'll focus on Social Media, and research, and other things during those times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here. If I'm having a mini-slump with writing, I'll get on social media. That way I'm always working on something related to my books.

      Delete
  12. I can relate to what Beverly's saying. I had to forego blogging to work on my emerging edits (A chapter at a time) with my editor, and work on new books, and unlike Kelly, I'm not as adept with the "Fast Draft" technique.

    I took time away from blogging and writing "The next Book" because for me, I have to focus tightly on one thing at a time or it's just a haphazard result, I can't multi-task, and I'm learning daily that's OKAY.

    I think for me, it's better to zero in one thing, even if that makes me slower than writers who can rotate between things faster.

    I made time to be more "At Home" with social media, because now that I have book coming out, it will matter in a way it didn't before, there's only so much pre-release networking you can do until you know certain things, like the YEAR your book's coming out, if not the exact date, no blurbs or cover art to share, so most of what I'm doing now is preliminary stuff that will only fully make its impact as I'm closer to release.

    So for me, I chose to put social media first for a SEASON, but then I'll rotate back to drafting, and editing my debut, blogging, etc.

    But now that I'm better than I used to be with social networking, I'm starting to weave in work on my WIP books, and will return to my blog eventually.


    As much as I get the need to network and promote, we also need/want to write other books BEYOND the one coming out, and I strongly feel this is one aspect of an author's life you can't fully understand until it's happening to YOU, because it depends on where both you are in your process, and where the industry is at during the time you break in.

    As such, Kelly's path is far different than mine, especially since she has an agent, and while I managed to sell my debut solo, but I know for my career long-term to reach the next level, I NEED an agent.

    I can't do all the business stuff on my own indefinitely.

    I normally like to have a whole draft. No (Fill this in later) bracket parts, it makes revision less onerous in certain ways.

    Yes, I had to redo my debut FOUR times, but at least the drafts were complete enough in that I didn't have to add an entire new subplot that wasn't there before, it was mostly cutting what didn't belong or work.

    But now I've finally had to do the (Bracket) momentum thing, and it's not the end of the world, but for me that's pushing it!

    All that said, I think both fellow writers, and (Eventual) readers need to be mindful that we are our only ONE person, we can't do it all at once and have it be high quality, especially if we self-publish.

    I

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we do have to remember we are only one person. There's only so much we can do. I keep trying to tell myself that, but I still push to try to do it all. LOL

      Delete
  13. I'm with Beverly--only because sometimes I lose myself too much in the marketing aspect, and don't even squeak in the requisite time each day to write. But I think you have a lot more self-discipline than I do, Kelly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm inclined to do the opposite. I'll write and forget to promote. lol

      Delete
  14. I try to break my day in half. Market in the morning, write in the afternoon. I've seen mixed results. Sadly, I don't think there's a magic bullet formula.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, there's no magic formula. I wish there was though.

      Delete
  15. Such a great question. And one non-pubs face as well. Do I focus on my query synopsis and researching agents or do I write another book. Of course, you're right, the answer is both. A willingness to give up other activities to make the time for it all is the sign of a career writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point, Sarah. I gave up my teaching career in order to do both. :)

      Delete
  16. So much work, so little time ; ).

    ReplyDelete
  17. You are a far better expert on the balance you're seeking than I am, I'm just an opinionated writer/author. But unless you self-publish, (where you are the whole marketing department) a writer's first job is to write. marketing is always after that.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is one of those good problems to have, right?! I don't know the answer but I wish you the best in attaining that balance.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Kelly!

    I always end the day with the feeling that I haven't done enough for the day! And as something is still missing. Some important stuff I had to do. So I make a note.

    All the best, it really is a hard balance.

    Nas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that feeling. No matter how much I do, I always want to do more.

      Delete
  20. It's a struggle to find the balance between the two.

    I suppose one could just forego sleep, put that off til next year...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done away with sleep before. lol Not recommending it. Zombies don't work quickly. ;)

      Delete
  21. Interesting topic. I prefer to write, but promo is necessary. I devote mornings to writing and afternoons to promo. Maybe someday I'll find a better way. Yes, longer days would be nice.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Longer days would be awesome! Or a mandatory Fri-Sun weekend(w/out the cut in pay, lol!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. During the school year, I have five days a week of just writing and promoting. But over the summer...not so much. My daughter and husband monopolize my time. :)

      Delete
  23. This is such a timely post for me. My first book came out in February and I'm revising the next one. It's a hard balance. I've started designating days for marketing and days for revising. We'll see if that works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck, Susan! It is a tough thing to balance.

      Delete
  24. Getting that balance is so hard... I'm promoting right now and I keep feeling guilty that I'm not writing:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean. When I do one, I feel guilty for neglecting the other.

      Delete
  25. I feel like you're balancing everything exactly right. The first book seems to need MORE promotion, because you're an emerging author. Hopefully by the time you get to your second... or third, or fourth, or fifth :)... book, you will have a following that is hearing about these books, and you don't have to promote so much. They're keeping up with you, and hearing about the book in your posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree the first book needs more promotion. Maybe that's what I'm struggling with. Stalked by Death officially releases in a few days and I'm struggling with how much to promote it.

      Delete
    2. That said, Kelly, ENJOY that you 're seeing the "Death" trilogy to the end.

      I've heard such horror stories of series that don't get to finish because of lack of sales, publisher shake ups, etc.

      Not trying to put away the challenge of promo, believe me, but please enjoy that you're seeing your first book series play out from start to finish.

      Delete
    3. I definitely am, Taurean. Thanks!

      Delete
  26. Finding balance in anything is tricky, but that's especially true in writing.
    Not sure how writing the next book has anything to do with promoting the first :-P but this got me thinking about two things.
    1) how I read recently in Stephen King's book "On Writing" that the best thing to do after finishing the first book is writing the second... putting it in a "drawer" after the first draft and "forgetting" about it before you pick it up again for the 2nd....
    and
    2) 10 years ago when my writing was really prolific, that's kinda what I ended up doing. Although I think I read my story a couple times before putting it away. After that, I'd have a dry period of a couple months until I got my "next big idea" and started the process all over again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the whole "write the next book" thing just means that you need to get more books out there for readers. Fans will want more. I get that, and I think I'm doing well with that so far, but it's tough to keep up my writing pace when I also have to promote my books as they come out.

      Delete
  27. I'm a list follower, but then I notice myself crossing the funner or easier things first. I still try to find balance. It's important to keep writing, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love lists. And I love crossing things off my list. I think we all gravitate toward the easier things just so we can cross them off and feel accomplished. :)

      Delete
  28. After taking a seminar hosted by The Book Doctors last Fall, I've learned that social media and marketing can be a bit overwhelming for authors. I've taken these steps before I released my 1st children's book earlier this year and I still feel like there is so much to do with that book although I am working on my 2nd. And now I'm trying to indulge in my adult writing, so I feel like an absolute mess at times. Dreading those Twitter and Facebook notifications, as well as welcoming them with open arms! It's all a balancing act. As long as we can still enjoy what we love to do best, which is writing, and have time to promote and network, then we must be doing something right. If only there was 30 hours in a day instead of 24!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'll vote for 30-hour days, too! So tricky to find that balance. Ever since my first book came out (May 2013) I've had a to-do list a mile long, and sadly it's the writing that doesn't always get done each day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got to move writing up on your to-do list. That or make it a priority on certain days. Just my opinion though. :)

      Delete
  30. If I ever get to this point in my career, my answer would be both. In today's every changing climate we have to be 'all that' 'all the time'. Painful and sucky, but I do think you do a great job at both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Brenda. I may never feel like I do enough. I don't think my personality will let me feel as if I do.

      Delete
  31. Kelly, I am truly in awe of you and what you are accomplishing. You have so much going for you, all those wonderful books that just keep coming and coming, and in between writing, you manage to do your promoting and still be a wife and mother. You remind me of that movie title, "How Does She Do It?" !!

    For me, the social media is the hardest. I'm not a social networking person, and it's really hard for me to even get my name out there, much less anything about my novel. With the first one coming out in November, I should be promoting it already, but it's hard to do when I don't have cover art to share, or anything except to maybe talk about what the story is. I think I need to take some lessons from you...got time between 12midnight and 6am to be a teacher? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, thank you. But don't be fooled. I can do more and do it better. I'm trying to figure out how. :)

      Hmm, between midnight and six you don't want to listen to anything I have to say. I'm not a night person. ;)

      Delete
  32. I did a fair bit of marketing for my first PB (on Twitter mostly) but didn't do as much for my second because I wanted to focus on the next project. Of course, the latter suffered. Now that my third project (a novel) is awaiting critique feedback, I hope to make amends and promote Brightness Sailors more. It is hard to balance, and I used to think 'just work on the next one' but it's really important to give both enough attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is important to give both attention. You're definitely right. Good luck with your promoting.

      Delete
  33. Hi Kelly, I can imagine that it must be difficult to promote and write efficiently at the same time. Although I'm not published, if I'm going through a big writing phase I have to tone down the social media so I can get into the writing zone. Maybe you won't need to market Stalked by Death as much because people already know you from Touched by Death and your blog etc. Best of luck with the release of Stalked by Death on 13th.x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anita! I think I've been slacking on my promotion of Stalked by Death for that exact reason, but I should be doing more. I love this book, and so far reviews are good, so I have to get out there and promote a little more.

      Delete
  34. Hey Kelly, such an interesting topic. I have been meaning to read this post for awhile, but have gotten buried under real life. LOL! Anyhow, I think the best case scenario for any writer would be to win the lotto and hire and a separate marketing team!!! :-)

    ReplyDelete

I love comments, but not spam. All spam will be deleted.