Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tootin’ Your Own Horn by J.Q. Rose

Guest blog by J. Q. Rose

My mother always told me, “Those who tooteth not their own horn, their horn remaineth untooteth.” In other words, be bold about yourself in this world. Let everyone know what your talents are.

I found this to be true after becoming a published author. In this day and age, in order for the world to know you have a book to sell, the author is responsible for tooting her own horn about it. Publishers (unless you are a bestselling author) do not have the budget to promote your writing, so it is up to you to do it.

When I was slaving away at writing my book, Sunshine Boulevard, I did not focus on anything but getting the story put together, revised, and polished to be ready to submit to the publisher. I was prepared for rejections, but happily the second publisher, Muse It Up Publishing, offered me a contract.

A release date, nine months away from the contract signing, was set. I expected to go through the editing process and the cover art design and figured on March 1, 2011, the release date, I would announce to the world my book was out and ready for readers.

I soon learned that was not how one sells a book. Months of preparation are needed BEFORE the release date. Setting up a website and a blog, guesting on other blogger’s sites, and creating a buzz about the book are all necessary to establish a platform, in other words, to find an audience of reader buyers.

But it doesn’t stop there. After the book is out, there is even more guesting, blog hopping, commenting on blogs, schmoozing on chat groups and loops. Since my book is an e-book, I mainly stay online for promotion. I did try a book signing, but it is difficult without a physical book to sign. Many folks who came to my author table just looked at me with blank stares when I could not produce a printed copy. I have no idea how many times I had to explain my book was in cyberspace. Just order it and it will come to your computer or other reading device. I could almost hear the theme music to the Twilight Zone playing in the visitor’s head as he stood there in disbelief. As you may have guessed, I have not pursued anymore book signings.

Before and after your book is published, you will be spending a LOT of time on promotion. I made the mistake of promoting and not writing. I was caught up in it, perhaps even addicted to spending hours on line trying to find the next opportunity to promote. Too late I realized the importance of having another book ready to publish. Once you snag a reader, they want another story of yours to read. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one.

My advice is to realize that you will have to promote your new release, but do not stop writing. You are a writer. Write the best story you can, promote it with a big send-off, then spend the majority of your time penning your next best seller and limit your hours of promoting so you can also have a life with your family and friends.

J.Q. Rose is the author of the mystery/light horror novella, Sunshine Boulevard, available at Muse It Up Publishing, amazon.com and bn.com and major online booksellers.
Find J. Q. Rose online at http://jqroseauthor.blogspot.com and http://jqrose.webs.com

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At 9:46 AM, Blogger Roseanne Dowell said...

Great advice, Janet. I was taught, write something every day, even if it's only for fifteen minutes and even if it's junk. The more you write the better you get.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Pat Dale said...

Learning to balance promo with creativity is key to a long career as a writer. I even stage my writing in such a way that I always have a book near completion, another at a mid-point, and still another in beginning stages.
We have to remember, though, that when we're into a manuscript, we give it 100% of our attention. The key is focus. I also tend to alternate dark fiction with lighthearted work. Something like Beethoven, whose symphonies alternate between heavy (1,3,5,7,9) and light (2,4,6,8).

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Pat McDermott said...

Sounds like you have a good handle on the writer's balancing/juggling act, J.Q. Thanks for summarizing it so well!

At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Tess Grant said...

With my release coming up, I'm learning about this whole promo deal...it's so difficult. Writing is so individual and promo is...well...not! I'm learning along with you.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger J Q Rose said...

Thanks so much for all your comments. I like to do free writing too, Roseanne.

Pat D...you can juggle a lot of stories.

Pat and Tess--I am definitely learning as I go. Thanks

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Gail Roughton said...

Janet, you should have titled this "Welcome to the Real World of Writing!" Yep, that's how it really is.

At 12:12 AM, Blogger S.Durham said...

Wise words, Janet. Especially the part about 'keep writing'. That sometimes takes the most discipline:)
Great post!

Cheers, Sara

At 9:40 AM, Blogger J Q Rose said...

Thanks, Sara and Gail for your comments. Keep writing should be on a plaque over a writer's desk, for sure...


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