Guest Post: Making Promo Fun

It’s May Marketing Month, and we’ve got a post from Michelle Hazen with some advice on how important it is to have find some enjoyment in book promo!

Marketing plan: if you’re like most authors, these are your least favorite words. They always put me in mind of a very wise saying I like to apply to marketing: the healthiest kind of exercise is the one you’ll actually do.

If promoting your book makes you feel like this:

Mad Cleaning Person

Then you’ll probably do the bare minimum, sell three books to your aunt, and be back to your day job by Monday. So let’s pause on reading all those “3,450 Things You Must Do Or You’re A Bad Author!” articles and figure out how to make marketing fun.

First, think about what you enjoy doing. Second, figure out how to use that to reach your book’s audience. 

If you’re a musician, you could write a song for your book. If you love messing around with graphic design, you could make a GIF or a book trailer.

Recently, one of the #RWChat co-hosts, Kimberly Bell, was using her jewelry-crafting skills to make gorgeous bookmarks for giveaways at an upcoming conference, which is a brilliant way to make marketing fun—both for you and your reader.

If you nerd out on spreadsheets and numbers, design some advertisements for your book and revel in the data porn you get from all those click through rates and conversions and demographics and A/B tests. And while you’re all busy scoffing that no one would ever find that fun, I’ll just quickly minimize all those spreadsheet tabs on my computer that we’re not going to talk about at all.

Hot Guy Pic

What was that picture for? Well, we’re both in a better mood, now, aren’t we? Speaking of fun skills that can be used for promotion, if you happen to like typing in a witty, conversational style interspersed with pictures of Jason Momoa bicep-curling a teacup poodle, guest blogging might be for you! There are a lot of great reader blogs out there that take guest blogs related to your book, or you can post on your own website.

Just remember, not all promo requires talking about your book. A lot of time, it’s about being yourself (or being funny, which is often even more useful than being yourself) in a place where you might meet the types of people who like your book.

For instance, #RWChat’s own Alexis Daria wrote a book (and oh my god, so steamy and delightful book!) about a dance reality show. So sometimes she live-tweets Dancing with the Stars because that’s a great way for an audience who would love her book to find out who she is.

You could also teach a class on something related to your book. For instance, Kelly Siskind wrote a wonderful romance called LEGS which centers around a wine tasting competition. What an insanely great excuse to do wine things for promo!

One caveat to this Do What You Love Promo style: not every hobby sells books. If you like knitting, you can knit book-related things for giveaways. If you like bicycling…well, you might just like bicycling. Unless you want to a start a bike-to-books book club for outdoorsy readers, in which case please call me, because that sounds amazing.

If all that’s not enough to make you love marketing, let me tell you the dirty little secret of book promo: It is basically a free pass to love your book again.

So much of writing is designed to make you hate your book: rejection letters, bad reviews, endless revisions for nitpicky editors… Promo is the opposite of that. You get to choose all your favorite parts of your book and show them off to people, like show and tell for grown ups.

Gollem Precious

They call this “choosing excerpts”, and you need excerpts for blog tours and promo stops and teasers…oh my gosh, teasers are the most fun. They’re probably illegal in 12 states, they’re so fun. You find pretty pictures and Photoshop in the best lines from your book. I know, normally this activity is called “Losing half a day to the black hole of Pinterest” but now it’s called Promoting My Business and even the IRS agrees, it’s a legit deduction so leave me alone, I have to look at all these abs because I’M WORKING, OKAY?

Here’s some abs *cough* I mean a teaser example.

Teaser_5_FillMe_Jax Invisible

In closing, you guys, it’s okay if you don’t do every single Marketing Thing out there. If Facebook parties make you cringe, fine. Skip ‘em. If you can’t graphic design your way out of a paper bag, welcome to the club. I’m the president and we don’t have fliers, so don’t even ask.

But do something to market your book, and try to make it something you enjoy because if you’re forcing it, your reader will be able to tell. Authentic, organic methods of marketing are always better.

Or, writing a blog post as an excuse to show off one of your pretty, pretty teasers. I’M WORKING, OKAY?


MichelleAuthorPhotoRetouch_Full-Resolution-199x300Michelle Hazen is a nomad with a writing problem. Years ago, she and her husband ducked out of the 9 to 5 world and moved into their truck. As a result, she wrote most of her books with solar power in odd places, including a bus in Thailand, a golf cart in a sandstorm, and a beach in Honduras. Currently, she’s addicted to The Walking Dead, hiking, and Tillamook cheese.

The first four books of her Sex, Love, and Rock & Roll series are available now. Her next book, INSATIABLE, releases July 2, 2018.

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