The Not-So-Silent Silent P
Something that you might have considered was sadly overlooked in the many P’s that have been discussed, but one that has snuck its way into the content multiple times throughout the 7 P’s, is a basic and underlying activity that most successful authors engage in.
I kept struggling with wanting to pull it out into its own element, but I also couldn’t help but see it as a fundamental part of every single other elements that I discussed. That being said, now that I’ve outlined all of the 7 P’s I’m calling out promotion to remind you that it’s there, and that it’s a part of each of those previous elements.
· Practice: Learning how to run different types of promotions and then trying them again and again, exercising those muscles
· Professionalism: Ongoing interactions with booksellers, retailers, industry professionals and other writers in a manner that promotes you and your author brand in a positive manner with a solid impression
· Patience: Realizing that it often takes more than a single promotional activity to have a positive effect and also the planning, scheduling and waiting involved
· Progression: As you practice and try new promotions, you need to analyze, revise and adjust in order to fine tune what works and chip away the things that aren’t working
· Persistence: You need to try and fail and retry different promotions, never giving up on the idea of promotion even if you give up on specific types of promotions that aren’t working for you
· Partnership: Working with other authors collaboratively, engaging the services of third-party promotion sites, finding mutually beneficial ways to promote your books and a particular retailer
· Patronage: Offering your best, most loyal customers unique freebees or content that nobody else has access to, or even ensuring they hear about promotions well before anybody else
I’m not going to go into detail about specific promotional activities, because there are entire books about marketing and promotions that a writer can engage in.
But, regardless of whether your book is self-published or traditionally published, promotion is a critical aspect for sales. Yes, there are more opportunities for price discount style promotions (ie, using services such as BookBub or BargainBooksy) when you own all the rights and completely control the price of your book; but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many things you can do to promote your traditionally published books. I regularly engage in different promotional activities for each of the types of books that I publish. Since my traditional books tend to sell better in print than in eBook, most of my promotional activity in that regard is focused on the print book. And, conversely, since my self-published titles bring in far more revenue from digital sales, my promotional efforts for those are geared towards that.
Promotion, of course, begins even before you publish, or perhaps even finish writing, your first work.
I harken back to my friend James A. Owen, who shares, in a very popular talk he gives every year at Superstars Writing Seminars, a wonderful lesson in an experience he had with eggs Benedict in a hotel restaurant. Without giving away the brilliance of his story (because it is best heard through the man’s eloquent rendition of it), the message James ultimately expresses is that nobody ever inspired anybody else to greatness by pretending to be less awesome than they really were. A writer should own and be proud of the things that they create. Thus, promotion always begins by believing in and being willing to promote yourself, and not deliberately holding yourself back.
This is a slightly modified version of the chapter “Promotion” from the book The 7 P’s of Publishing Success.