Wednesday 13 January 2010

Online Marketing for Authors: it's about Joy and Luck

I just read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan and what an amazing book it is. I am quite overcome. It's not just the magical writing - it's the story of my life!

Near the end one the characters talks about being born in the Year of the Tiger. I paid close attention because I was born in the Year of the Tiger. As was my mother. And my daughter.
...Then she told me why a tiger is gold and black. It has two ways. The gold side leaps with its fierce heart. The black side stands still with cunning, hiding its gold between trees, seeing and not being seen, waiting patiently for things to come.
It is five months till the publication of Tall Story and my gold side is leaping.

So little time, so much marketing to do. Not to mention another novel to write.

At the same time, my black side is cringing in the shadows. Is it too soon to begin trumpeting my book? Isn't it too crushingly embarrassing to tell people yes, it's really good? What if I set up a Facebook page and nobody becomes a fan? What if I come across as vain and annoying? Whatifwhatifwhatifwhatif?

Chatting about the business of networking with my nephew, who is an aspiring conductor,  - he told me something that really brought home what an enormous task I have ahead. I paraphrase:
Our instinct is to be self deprecating. We don't want to shout about how good we are because we don't want people to dislike us. But there comes a point when this becomes a real problem. We actually have to get better at telling people that we are good at what we do.
Get over yourself, I tell myself sternly. Just get on with it.

So in the mornings, I write a few hundred words towards my new novel. And in the afternoons I work on a list of Things to Do to promote my book.

I'm sure I've missed a zillion other things that authors can do to promote their wares on the net. Any of you readers have other items, hints, tips to add to my list? Please feel free to add to the comments.

Lucky for me, I have managed to appear on some lists without having to beg too hard or at all - the Happy Nappy Bookseller (probably the best blog name in the world!) put me on a list of authors of colour

Becky at beautifully designed blog The Bookette put me on her debut authors list

My good buddy photographer/columnist Mandy Navasero (who once taught me how to eat a pineapple with one hand while driving with the other) added me to her new year's defining moments column

Neni Sta Romana Cruz, a fantastic children's writer from the Philippines, wrote a Sunday magazine piece complete with uncombed pictures of me and my kids (haven't seen it yet but my Mom bought hundreds of copies)

Fiona Dunbar, author of the utterly brilliant, smart and hilarious Silk Sisters and Lulu Baker trilogies, who not only introduced me to my agent but in the new year gave me an utterly luscious plug in her blog.

Gillian Philip, whose book Crossing the Line, had me raging and weeping and upset for days (it's a really good read .. but be strong) picked Tall Story for her list of books she's looking forward to in 2010

MC Rogerson of the Life Beyond blog put me on her reading list for 2010

Even my old high school, St Theresa's College put me on their website (oh my, the memories!)

The Noisy Dog Blog (Sue Eves is the author of the whimsical Quiet Woman and the Noisy Dog, now out in paperback) picked my short story as a bedtime read

And WikiPilipinas added me to their list of Ten Pinay Pride of 2009.

Wow. I am quite overcome by the kindness of friends and strangers.

Thank you so much.


  1. "Any of you readers have other items, hints, tips to add to my list?"

    Only this: all the author marketing in the world only amounts to a bit of fiddling at the margins. So don't make yourself crazy.

    And congratulations! I'm mostly a lurker, but read your blog all the time. Your 'street performers' post is one of my favorites anywhere.

  2. Excerpted from Facebook comments on my blog feed:

    Joanna Kenrick: And it's absolutely right that you're getting excited and want to start telling people about it. I want to do that with my new series Sweet Hearts too but I think I shall throw my energies into the publicity stuff two months beforehand, not earlier - that way people won't have forgotten about it again by the time it actually comes out ;-)

    Frankie:librarians. get the attention of librarians' groups. they will order and stock your book and recommend it to young readers.

    Candice: Book parties! Book signings! Book readings! Is it too soon to start?

    Candy: candice, i am told marketing departments are very down on book launches because they don't generate enough publicity. but i'm determined to have one. does an author have to make news to be news?

    Philip Ardagh: I find it extremely difficult to talk about my extraordinary talent, so let the stunning beauty of my prose speak for me. (Book list available on request.)

    Candy: you are too funny philip. i choked on my laptop!

    Philip Ardagh Funny? FUNNY?!? *Wail* Why does no-one ever take me seriously?! *Sob*

    Mandy: You are a Tiger? Growl ...

  3. Hi Candy! As a book blogger, I can say it is never to early to start telling us about your book. We post out excitement for books yet to be released a year or more in advance sometimes.

    I have another suggestion for online marketing. You could join if you are not already registered. There is a special bit for authors and fans can follow you. Fans get notified each time to do a new blog post. I'm sure there are other great features that I haven't discovered yet too.

  4. Oh no - don't tell me more ways of marketing myself!
    I've done most already (note to self - Amazon Author Central)- thank goodness. Then again I started a year ago.

    What wise words from your nephew -
    Good Luck and Happy New Year!


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