There's lots of advice out there for authors who, like me, are starting out. We have books written, contracted, even published, but now we have to promote them. The big talk 'round the Net is social media.
Get yourself a website, blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts and get out there. Don't forget book trailers, Yahoo loops and review sites.
Some authors take to the promo trail with such enthusiasm and success they're like the most popular boy/girl in high school. Other authors become the cool sardonic kid with their own following.
Other authors kick, scream and sulk. They believe the author's job is to write a great novel, and then, write the next great novel. Promo is mere distraction. Actually, I think some of them even consider promo demeaning. Surely the greatness of their novel speaks for itself?
Being involved in Carina Press's launch got me involved in social media. I set up a Facebook account (which, to be honest doesn't really suit me--maybe I'm still learning my way around), a Twitter account (now this is fun), a Goodreads account (why did I wait so long?) and deepened my commitment to this blog. I've also joined ARRA and am waiting to hear back from RWA (the Australian version). And in this flurry of activity, I discovered something important: I'm a writer.
I'm a writer. For me that's a richer identity than "author". It means I write anything and everything. I write poetry, birthday cards, slogans (I'm not saying any of these sell), short stories, novels, non-fiction articles. But I also write blog posts, book reviews, comments and tweets.
By engaging in social media, my writing encounters shifting constraints of structure and audience. It also moves from monologue to dialogue. Writing becomes a means of conversing. I get instant feedback (even if that feedback is that people ignore me--must write funnier!)
Promo is important to authors for a range of reasons discussed 'round the Net. But the surprising joy for those who engage in it is that it widens who they are as writers and hones their skills.
Not to mention the amazing people you get to meet :)