Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Promotion…and the cost to the author

Mary Sullivan

I haven't posted to the blog in a long time and find I've missed being here. Last fall was crazy busy with writing my next book, creating and presenting my first workshop, attending book fairs, having a busy personal life…and promoting my October Superromance. I did a LOT of promotion. It was all great stuff, but left me tired. I guess that puts it mildly.

After meeting my December 15th deadline on my Super, I was supposed to send out my first newsletter with a free short story included, before Christmas, but found I had burned out. The story wouldn't come. The first chapter was awful and I wouldn't send out work I didn't like.

I've been struggling all winter with how to get this short story finished—after the disaster of the first chapter, it became a burden and I was frozen—even while meeting other deadlines and writing the next Super. I came up with a viable solution I really like. I need to have fun with it.

The biggest responsibility, besides the writing, that gobbles up an author's writing time at an alarming pace is promotion. Each and every book requires so much of it. I was developing the newsletter and my short story as a means of promotion…and that was the problem. I had put too much pressure on myself to promote.

Now? I want to connect with readers in a different way because I thrive on camaraderie, friendship and dialogue. On Saturday, I attended my local RWA chapter's latest workshop, which was excellent and at which this old dog learned fabulous new tricks, but the absolute best part of the day was touching bases with people I truly enjoy. So much warmth in that room. I made connections with new members, too, and came home filled with the joy of genuine, warm contact.

You know all of those funny memes and jokes that people share on Facebook and Twitter and through email every day? They brighten my day. They make me laugh. They give me energy. From the person sending them I get a little, "Hi, I'm here. Are you here? This is for you. Smile today,"and I love the connection made.

I want to have more dialogue with readers. My next Superromance won't come out until September, so this isn't about promotion for that book. This is about having fun.

So…in my effort to make a connection and to just have a good time writing this story, I've come up with this scheme…after changing the way I've been looking at this problem, I've managed to write a new first chapter I like—a lot—with a cliffhanger for an ending. Where will the story go next? Where will Chapter Two begin? Wherever the reader wants it to! 

I'm going to send out only Chapter One in my newsletter with a multiple choice question for the reader. Where do you want it to go next? After I receive reader responses, I will take the most popular choice, or even any suggestion from a reader that intrigues me (!), and will then put on my creative cap and write the second chapter. I'll send that out a week or two later with another multiple choice question at the end of the chapter…and so on until I finish the story.

Just the thought of working in this way has given me renewed energy for this story. I want to hear what readers have to say! How creative do you feel?

If you would like to join me in this adventure, please go to my website, click where it says NEWSLETTER SIGNUP and register to receive my newsletter. After a few minor edits, and figuring out how to send out the newsletter (I sincerely hope MailChimp is foolproof, because I'm all thumbs where technology is concerned, LOL!), I will send it along by the end of April.


I look forward to starting a dialogue.


kris said...

Mary, I LOVE this idea! Signing up for your newsletter right now because I MUST see what you do with this!

mary sullivan said...

Thank you, Kris!!!

holdenj said...

As readers, we probably don't think about it as much, but you're right. I appreciate interactions with authors a lot, and hope they always like to hear from us, but I bet all the promotions can keep you quite busy!

Kaelee said...

Hi Mary ~ I just signed up for your newsletter. i lie this idea. It's something new for me to look forward to.

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