She’s here today to tell us how she copes with the stress and the demands. Please welcome Robin Spano.
Promote Your Book With Your Soul Intact
I’ll always remember the day my agent told me that writers have to market their books.
My face fell.
I stared at my hands.
I thought, well, she can’t really mean that. I’m an artist, not an advertiser. How could those two sets of skills go together? Why would I want them to?
“Writers are introverts,” I said, or something like it.
She agreed. It wasn’t ideal. But somewhere in the conversation I decided to make the best of it, consider marketing a challenge. I thought snowboarding was scary before I learned how; now I love it.
She told me to start with two things:
1. Toastmasters (to get over my paralytic fear of public speaking)
2. Web Presence (to reach a wide audience)
Toastmasters rocked. I liked the people right away, and slowly I began to like the stage. I’m still no Tony Robbins, but neither am I crippled for live author events.
Web Presence took longer.
Diving in, I felt like a farm girl arriving at a hip Manhattan school. Everyone knew each other and knew how to network. Most were already published and some had won awards. Why would I presume to join their conversations? I was sure they’d smell my newness a mile away, roll their eyes and wonder when I’d get the drift and drift away.
At first, I hooked up with the wrong crowd—they’re the easiest to find, because they push themselves on you. You know the type: their response to anything you say is “Oh that’s nice. Buy my book,” or “That reminds me of Janie X, my compellingly complicated protagonist with a heart of gold…” I never clicked with them (thank God), but I did start to worry that I was expected to do the same thing.
Thankfully, before I sold my soul, I found Twitter. The great thing about Twitter is you can follow before you participate. I tweeted here and there—random stuff; nothing about my book—but mostly I watched and learned. Eventually, conversations arose—people would comment, I’d comment back. I made Twitter friends; we talked naturally and easily about books, ours and other people’s. Eventually I realized, hey, this is the whole point—you network by being open and present online. Promotional opportunities (like guest blog posts ) arise organically from that.
I got into it. I even liked it.
BUT between Toastmasters and web presence, my writing time was suffering. (This has never happened to anyone else, right?) I wasn’t missing any deadlines—I was even a bit ahead of schedule. But my balance was off.
If I don’t write fiction, I go rangy. That’s what being a writer is. You don’t write because you think it’s an excellent business plan (if you do, please hook me up with your secrets); you write because you have to.
I thought back to the time when I loved writing—before I had a publishing deal. I asked myself what had been different, and came up with two things: I spent more time outside, and more time writing.
So I found a new balance: I write in the morning, or until my juices fade. Then I Rollerblade and grocery shop. I give the rest of the afternoon (if there is any) to promotion and Toastmasters. And I take evenings and weekends for myself. The result: I feel like a creative spirit, a competent business person, and a well-rounded human being.
So here’s my secret on how to market your book and keep your writing soul intact: WRITE first. PROMOTE second. And live a life outside your computer.
Thank you Robin!
Robin Spano is a crime writer and a motorcycle enthusiast. Her first novel, Dead Politician Society, came out yesterday. She looks forward to interacting with readers as she works on the second book in her series, working titled Death Plays Poker.
You can follow her on her Virtual Book Tour. Check out the variety of topics she’ll be covering on her tour.
Now that you’ve read her ideas on promoting without losing your soul and you know she’s looking forward to talking with readers, what questions do you have for her?
I’ll start things off:
Robin, what advice would you have for writers who work full or part-time (outside of their writing careers) and have children who require attention? How can they still make writing a priority?