If you'd like to comment on yesterday's post about what you think works (and what doesn't) when writers are trying to promote their books, please click here.
The way I see it (and I could be wrong) is that there are two (potentially overlapping) ways to look at book promotion. The first is that any exposure (barring accusations of something truly nasty) is GOOD exposure. More twitter followers, more blog posts, more Goodreads reviews = a wider reach.
The second is to look at promotion from a return-on-investment perspective. If activity X requires Y amount of resources (energy, time, money) and results in Z book sales, was that a wise investment? Would activity A (requiring B resources and resulting in C book sales) have been a better use of time?
Once upon a time, I was a marketing assistant for a local, independent book publisher called Deseret Book and its imprint, Shadow Mountain. Like most publishers, DB/Shadow Mountain was looking for the best way to promote its books while remaining cost effective.
The marketing department put together tours (in bookstores as well as schools), websites, launches, television interviews, you name it. Each book had its own angle -- middle grade authors got school appearances, nonfiction authors went on talk shows, etc.
One of my more memorable experiences while I was there was helping to set up an online, interactive "Author Appearance" for dozens of schools. Teachers would log on to the chat and type in questions from students. The author would answer, live, via Skype and all the classrooms could watch.
It was a lot of effort. It was an interesting experiment. And (in a different circumstance) it might have worked.
But it didn't, for whatever reason, have the result that the marketing department had been hoping for.
If we're only looking at book promotion from the first angle (all exposure is good exposure), then of course the live chat was a success--hundreds of kids heard about our author and his book. But given the time and resources it took to pull off the chat, maybe (from a return-on-investment perspective) we should have tried something else.
In 2013 (and onward), a lot of book promotion falls on the author, whether you're traditionally or self-published. Given that all of us have finite resources (time, energy, and money), it best to try to evaluate what works for your book, and what won't. Consider what you find easy (I find blogging easy and Twitter oddly difficult -- I'm sure the opposite is true for others) and what you find hard, and then try think about what you've never even thought about before.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Inspirational quotes?