Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Here, pimp-pimp-pimp!

Okay, here's the deal. I've got a book coming out in a week from Dreamspinner -- my first for that press. And I really suck at pimping myself. (Hell, I'm still agonizing over whether or not to give my own books at GoodReads five stars!) I'm not a very popular writer; I don't have friends in high places; I even wonder sometimes -- often, actually -- if I should be doing this gig at all.

So here I am with a new-to-me publisher and a fabulous Anne Cain cover . . . and an ever-growing inferiority complex that makes me unsure what to do about my quiet story that isn't filled with action! adventure! intrigue! (or, for that matter, a tidy resolution). So if any of you have any pimpage ideas, I'd love to hear them . . . as long as they don't involve public nudity or silly costumes or making a fool of myself on YouTube.


Jenre said...

Do NOT give your self 5 stars at GRs - you were kidding about that weren't you? Please say that you were.

As for the rest, you'll just have to what other authors do. Put yourself about and prostitute your name for the enjoyment of the m/m readership. Do a few guest posts on blogs. Wangle some interviews. Get on the Yahoo groups and gush about yourself. Ask people to friend you on GRs and then use the blog section to advertise your book. Send out arcs to some review sites in the hope that they'll love the book and write positive stuff. Run competitions to win a book (although I know you said you didn't want to do that). Get on blogs and leave comments (although DO NOT say 'that's very interesting, but in MY book I...) as you'll be laughed off the blog. Erm....
I think that's just about all I can think of for now.

Yes, it's hard work and can be embarrassing to be so obvious in your book promo - but it does work. I've picked up books by unknown-to-me authors who have shamelessly pimped their book.

Chris said...

Definitely avoid the giving yourself five stars route. I always shake my head at that one.

I would be more than happy to have you over at my place to do a giveaway. I haven't asked before now because you've seemed pretty against giving away an ebook copy of a book.

Clare London said...

Oh gawd. I think I gave myself 5* ons some books at GR *sigh*. Call me a sheep, I did it because I saw loads of other people were LOL. I don't do it anymore, honest!! :)

"as long as they don't involve public nudity or silly costumes or making a fool of myself on YouTube"

Well, hell, that cuts out everything I was going to suggest LMAO.

I'm like Jen, I'm a reader who's often picked up a book when it catches my eye, even if I didn't know the author before. Plus, I often forget to note down something I'd like to read when I first see it, so it's marvellous if promo comes around again and reminds me.

With my author hat on, I believe pimpage is all about that, about being seen. Sounds obvious, but that's the mantra I'm using on myself. No one can buy my book unless they know it's there in the first place, and/or where to look for it. *Then* they can choose whether they think they'd like it and, hopefully, buy and enjoy it.

I'd prefer pimpage to be a matter of building layers, of building awareness of both author and book. A pincer movement *cough*, but not too aggressive. Then when a reader (like me, with my other hat back on) vaguely remembers they thought they might like that book - or falls in love with the shiny cover :) - they'll find you.

Mind you, it seems a dreadfully thin line between that and the books that get pimped every week, same time, same channel, and wear readers out (or me, anyway) with relentless OVER-promotion. But then it's different strokes etc etc.

And that is all, of course, of little enough use to you...

Tam said...

Beats me. I know the Good Reads m/m group has a "pimp your shit" section.

Yeah, I always worry about writers who give everything they wrote or every anthology they are in 5 stars. When I check a book to see what kind of ratings it got, I always look at who gave what rating and if I see an author gave themselves 5 stars I just kind of ignore that and go with the "regular readers" opinions.

Ummm. I dunno. I could interview and ask irreverant and suggestive questions but that may be more for my amusement than anyone else's. :-)

K. Z. Snow said...

Thanks, guys. Lots of wisdom in your answers.

I really am just so bad at this, even after all the books I've had published. As much as I enjoy socializing online, it's always been extremely difficult for me to get in people's faces with my work. In RL I'm a very modest, low-key person. Seriously.

Thank you for the offer, Chris. I'm not totally averse to giving away copies; I just feel hinky about doing it at those big Yahoo romance groups. (I started my day yesterday sending take-down notices to piracy sites -- again -- so my attitude's been a little jaundiced.)

K. Z. Snow said...

LOL, Clare! I've gone through the same "should I or shouldn't I" debate with myself.

Me 1: Oh, gawd, I hate being self-aggrandizing. Five stars, my ass. How much more transparent can a writer be?

Me 2: So what? Other authors don't have a problem with it.

Me 1: Well...okay, I'll try with one or two books.

Me 2: There. Was that so bad?

Me 1: Ugh, yes! I can't keep doing this. It doesn't feel right; I'm not objective. Besides, what's everybody going to think?

Me 2: They're going to think they shouldn't pay attention to your ratings, since you're the author and all authors have inflated egos.

Me 1: Exactly! That's humiliating! Why go there?

Me 2: It's all about showin' yourself some luuuuv, baby. Oh, and artificially boosting your numbers.

Me 1: Shut up and go away.

Chris said...

Have your people get in touch with my people, KZ. :)

Val said...

K.Z., if you're not adverse to giving away copies, I'd say go to Wave's blog and do so. I'd offer to interview you on my blog, but it's such an obscure blog! I'm holding off on asking anyone to come be interviewed until I get the traffic to a point where it wouldn't be depressing to an author to get so few comments. I mean, I'm happy with what I'm getting but an author wouldn't be able see all the lurkers that fill out my traffic report, and might think no one is interested.

What if you did another funny post at Wave's blog such as your "Emo Snot Monkeys of Doom" (or whatever it was -- I remember the Emo Snot Monkeys part, ha, ha!)? Those are great to give all the readers an idea of how entertaining you are!

Also, maybe run an ad on the GLBT Bookshelf wiki? I've heard they're very reasonably priced ...

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi, Val, and thanks for your suggestions.

Goodness, please don't think I was trolling for invitations; I wasn't! I understand you concern, though. It's very considerate of you to want to wait.

Wave's already requested a review copy, so that base is covered. And I think I might be posting on her blog when my second DSP title, Jude in Chains, comes out in April. Its theme, the ex-gay movement, seems like a good discussion topic.

I'm not sure how effective ads are. I've had cover ads up at the Romance Studio in the past, but I think people's eyes just sort of glaze over when they see a slew of them on one page.

Jeanne Barrack said...

KZ, when are you going to stop saying you have no friends online and no one reads you and all that jazz?
You're a fantastic writer and if you had anymore classy friends like Jenre, Tam, Clare, Chris and Kris and Wave, ad infinitum, you'd fill a ballroom!
Just do, do, do what you done, done done, before, baby.
(Old song by Gershwin)

K. Z. Snow said...

Thanks, hon. But being a respected "name" in the genre is a whole different ballgame from having some truly terrific online pals.

Saying I'm not a particularly popular author isn't a whine; it's a statement of fact. I'm not going to try to fool myself about that. Writers' popularity can be gauged by how often their names and book titles and characters turn up in discussions and contests; how eagerly people await their new releases; how those releases are received. Sales matter too, of course. I've never been the subject of any "buzz"; ergo, the vast majority of readers don't consider my work memorable. That's just the way it is.

So anyway, that's why I find promotion so daunting.

LVLM said...

Not that this will help you any, but I first noticed you from comments you did on DA. I just liked what you had to say all the time and it made me curious about your books.

Then when Wave was giving away a bunch of books to first come first serve back in the day, I saw a book by K.Z. Snow and chose it to try it out.

So, while I'm only one person, it was you commenting that got you noticed by me.

As far as being a known author or not, really, I think a lot of the buzz is about authors who yap a lot and are all over posting, becoming sort of friends with bloggers who have larger followings and so on.

So you kind of have to have a bit mouth and presence to get noticed.

I've never been the subject of any "buzz"; ergo, the vast majority of readers don't consider my work memorable.

Well, that's just a bunch of crap.

I love what you write. But like you, I'm not one of those who wants to put in the time and energy to create a blog that will get a large following to promote authors. But it's not that I don't find your work unmemerable. Oh it's memorable all right. LOL

Maybe you'll find a kindred spirit in this author's post

Just for the record, please don't give yourself 5 stars on Goodreads.

I keep seeing authors do it and it's a turn off. I think how lame they are to do that.

I read one book and all the ratings for it were by the author and author's, author friends. I not only discount it but it becomes a black mark for me against the author. I just find it tacky. Of course the author thinks her/his book is a five start book. snort It's implied already.

Chris said...

LVLM makes a point I forgot to mention, KZ - I saw your name mostly associated with Utopia X. Scifi/futuristic stuff's not really my thing these days, so I didn't pay attention. Then I saw you out and about, commenting on the blogs of people whose opinions I've grown to trust, so I poked further and discovered an m/m contemporary (BaPBs), which I purchased and enjoyed.

I have picked up Looking for Some Touch and hope to read it for Kris' m/m rut challenge - but I wouldn't have if I wasn't familiar with you.

K. Z. Snow said...

All of you are incredibly kind, not to mention damned smart, and I deeply value your support.

Honestly, I think I'm just freaking because I have three books coming up for release -- two from a new pub and the third, a departure from what I've previously done -- so I'm kind of in a spin about how they'll be received, or even if they'll be noticed.

Once I get my edits cleared away, I hope I'll be able to devote more thought to how I can peddle these babies. It's at times like this I envy those of you with stable, real world jobs! ;-)

Val said...

Hi, K.Z.! You said, "Goodness, please don't think I was trolling for invitations; I wasn't!" I know, ha, ha! (Great verb, though. trolling. I know it applies to fishing, but I always think of trolls, like under-the-bridge trolls!).

The comment by LMLV made me want to agree and add that I first noticed you from your author interview at Wave's blog, where you clearly had a great sense of humor, and then your "Emo Snot-Monkeys" follow-up at Wave's blog, and from there I bought Bastards and Pretty Boys because it was a stand-alone that I could check out more easily than the larger series-books and I was so impressed by the writing that it became a given that I'd pick up and review your new book. I think LMLV is right -- it's all a matter of exposure, being yourself, and allowing all these little connections to form in people's memories (and Clare made a similar good point about commenting and posting here and there and keeping up the exposure). You're better known than you think!

K. Z. Snow said...

Thanks for the boost, Val. Honestly, this profession can be draining!

Kris said...

I'm not sure I have anything more valuable to add to the excellent points already raised here other than if you even think about giving yourself 5 stars at goodreads I will come and slap you across the back of the head.

Actually, I think I'll do that anyway. *slap*


Unlike some others here, I actually discovered your work much earlier than I did you as an individual. Still, the same kind of connection applies, insomuch that it was your presence at Wave's blog - first in the comments and then by means of your interview - which made me come to appreciate you as both a person and an author.

The fact that you have no hesitation in having positive interactions with me and other readers as well as your fellow authors makes me respect you even more. I don't think you know how rare this actually is outside of the author's own blog and a few well-known others such as Wave's, Elisa's, etc. It makes readers much more willing to make an effort to try a new-to-me author who obviously appreciates them back.

K. Z. Snow said...

Well shit, Kris, I now I don't know whether to cry because you slapped me upside the head or because you're being sweet ... for a change.

Anyway, I just plain enjoy interacting with readers and (some) other writers. That part is easy. Ballyhooing my books isn't. (Ooo, that wonderful word just popped into my head! Must be the sunshine and freshly perc'ed coffee, not to mention your scintillating presence.)

Kris said...

You know someone could get really upset by all the insults thrown at them. I'd like to draw your attention to Jeanne's comment where she said I was classy. Don't think I didn't notice that.

K. Z. Snow said...

Someone? I'm afraid I only acknowledge specific references.