No, nothing mysterious and shadowy about this dark side, just facts plain and simple. It's sort of like enjoying a delicious omelet and then having to clean up the pan--icky, sticky, a pain in the patoot. Alas--like it or not, if writing comes, can promotion be far behind? I think not.
We read about it, talk about it, struggle with it, sweat over it--but we do it. It can be a pretty overwhelming task, not to mention an unending one. New book? Promote it. Old book? Re-promote it. How? you ask. Tell me how! you demand. If I had all the answers...
But I've garnered a few ideas over the past four years, and for what it's worth, here they are (not forgetting those valuable links we all cherish):
(1)Have a plan: what do I want to do today? Do one thing everyday. (You will likely do more than one, because one thing leads to another. Spend only the amount of time it takes to get that one thing done. Burn-out lurks behind that computer screen.
(2) Have all your materials organized in one place: tagline, blurb, excerpt, buy links, links to your sites on the web, ISBN (10 and 13-number), number of pages, copyright date, publisher's link, reviews, covers, formats, tags...you get the picture. I have one document with all of the above for all of my books--simple to cut and paste from that.
(3) Take advantages of the freebies first: opportunities to guest blog, free ads on various sites, free pages on various sites, regular posts on your own blog, promotional loops, chat rooms, various social media.
(4) Don't spend a ton of $ you can't spare on things like bookmarks, postcards, and other give-aways They'll find their way to the trash sooner or later (hopefully after being looked at and used to buy your book). Meanwhile, be creative--make your own. Save your shekels for your own book inventory, conferences, and those miscellaneous day-to-day expenses involved with showcasing your work.
CoolTextGraphics (and logos)
(5) There's no "shame" in developing your own free or low-cost website. Actually, it tends to make you feel quite accomplished! You can spend some of your saved $ on your own domain name and transfer it almost anywhere. I once listened to a long 'rant' about how you OUGHT to fork over whatever it took to build a "good" website--and lo and behold, the ranter led by example...right out of business.
http://bravenet.com/ (apps for websites)
(6) Learn how to make your own video trailers. Your cost is minimal. Set up your own YouTube channel--that's free!
(There are many more!)
(7) Develop a good press release--and use it. All they can do is ignore it.
Newspapers (contact info)
Press Releases 1
Press Releases 2
(8) Keep an updated contact list for announcements, and always give someone the opportunity to opt out of receiving them.
(9) Subscribe to free marketing newsletters (and use some of those saved shekels to sign up for inexpensive webinars/teleseminars or downloading inexpensive books--and keep an eye out for the freebies!)
Carolyn Howard Johnson
Dana Lynn Smith
(10) Help other authors--we're all in this together. Idea: Leave a comment on what I might be able to do to help promote YOUR book.
Am I taking full advantage of all these ideas and more? Not yet.
Am I working on it? You bet!