Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Confessions of a Novice Novelist

My book is coming out in November, a development that leaves me both exhilarated and terrified. The writing part is just fine -- well, unless you count the knot of fear in the pit of my stomach that everyone who reads the book will hate it. That's no big deal. It's the promotion that leaves my head spinning.

As big publishing houses swallow smaller ones and e-books threaten to take over the publishing world, an author's role in the promotion process grows larger and murkier. While I have little difficulty working the news of my novel's release into a variety of conversations, I'm less sure about subjecting friends, family and would-be readers to a barrage of thinly disguised "buy my book!"messages. Telling people about my book's release in the context of a conversation is organic, born of my own excitement about the culmination of more than five years of work. Parlaying this enthusiasm into a stream of promotional information leaves me feeling, well, unenthusiastic. And a little nauseated.

I know word-of-mouth is important -- essential, even -- for a first-time novelist. I get that. And, to a certain extent, I buy into it.

But I've watched fellow authors (none on this blog, I am happy to say) turn a book launch into a months-long monologue, usually at the behest of a publisher or agent who tells said author that this blitz is necessary to boost sales. I know the author is just following directions, but I also know what my reaction is.

I stop listening. I stop reading their Facebook statuses, I stop checking out their blogs. I do exactly the opposite of what they hope I will do.

So, now that I am that author whose book is due out in less than six months, I am working hard not to be that author who sends people running in the other direction.

I'd really appreciate it if you'd help me out. Tell me - what piques your interest in a new title? What makes you read a book by someone you've never heard of? And what spurs you to do exactly the opposite, turning away from the title, ignoring the new author, running screaming toward the tried-and-true?


LD Masterson said...

I'll buy books from authors I have a blog relationship with (trading comments) just to be supportive. A good excerpt that catches my interest on a blog will do it, too. But you're right, it's a fine line between catching my interest and turning me off through over-pushing.

I wish you the best of luck on your release.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I second LD above. I too buy books from writers I've become familiar with through blogging. I also check out books recommended to me by goodreads and amazon.

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

Thanks, LD and Susan. I guess blogging is a good way for an author to let people sample his or her voice.