I Have Had No Benefit From This Whatsoever

Promo For Authors 101

“I have had no benefit from this whatsoever…”

Anyone who has ever offered marketing services, no matter how long they’ve offered them, has heard/read the above statement or will at some point. I’ve been promoting romance authors since 1997 starting with a basic little site called O’Malley’s Bookshelf and leading to the 2003 launch of The Romance Studio (TRS) which I am still honored to run today.

In my experience, when you got/get the above message from a client, one thing is always absolutely true.

They are right.

Didn’t see that coming, huh? I’ll explain.

When I get such a message from a client who isn’t continuing with a service we offer, or see on a report one who quietly left, the first thing I do is go back and see what they did with the service and try to determine if their needs were met. (If I’m made aware of something that’s gone wrong, I will always try to make it right.) Nine times out of ten however, there are always exceptions, I see the same thing. They used the service very little if they even used it at all.

Authors love to feel like they’ve “got promo covered.” (I’m author too, you see. I’ve done this myself.) We acquire services, buy advertising, join groups, sign up for events, hire assistants. Done! Promo is covered, right? Here authors will join TRS as a featured member (shameless plug, you can read more about it here!). They’ll buy ads, promo packages. It’s all good. All covered. That first day, they will request promotion, set up ads and then…

Nothing.

Why?

We communicate with our members. Each Friday we send out a special newsletter that keeps them up to date on new services (there’s been a lot lately), specials or upcoming events. We just started offering a service called Time Savers, for example, for featured members where they fill out one form and we use that to schedule up to 12 promotions on our site, set up ads. Members can even pick out one free ad per year using this promotion.

And yet, response is often minimal.

It’s always the same authors who take advantage of our promotions, specials, show up for events.

Want to know a secret about those authors we hear/heard from consistently in our 14 years?

They are either names you know well — or they soon will be.

Jaci Burton, Sylvia Day, Maya Banks, Kat Martin, Shelly Laurenston,  Yasmine Galenorn, Ariella Moon, Liz Fielding, Kayelle Allen, Rowena Cherry, Ryshia Kennie, Erin Nicholas, Paige Tyler, Terry Spear, Rachel Van Dyken, Shawna Delacorte, Lisa Renee Jones, Bella Andre, Karen Kay, Megan Hart, Ashlyn Chase — that’s just a few authors, off the top of my head, who have been part of TRS at one time or another. A lot of familiar names on that list, yes? All of them promoted often, in different venues, and they promoted well.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I know how much work went into writing that book. The weeks, months spent writing it, perfecting it. If you’re lucky, you have a publisher that’s lined up to publish your book. Otherwise, there’s the submission process. Hoping, waiting. The anxiety that goes along with the rejections or the “yes, but” answers. And if that weren’t enough, there’s production. The editing process, cover art. If you’re self-publishing, the workload is even greater. On top of all that is the ever changing landscape of publishing and…

Isn’t that enough? After all of that work, you’re honestly expected to go out and promote it too? Really?

Yes. You are. And not only that. You’re expected to go out and promote it well.

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a long time. In this series, Promo For Authors 101, I’m going to talk about promotion basics. We’re going to talk about ways you can promote yourself well, on a limited budget (or free), with only a limited amount of time. We’ll talk about defining a strategy that’s right for you and your books. Yes, I will be talking about what we do at TRS, but you don’t need to be a member or involved at TRS in any way for this series. I do reserve the right to shamelessly plug it though and should you decide you want to be part of TRS, we’d love to have you. 😉

Thank you. Questions are always welcome.

Tina