What do I mean by that? I mean that I wished I’d not focused so much on promoting my name brand and worked harder on writing more. I wasted time not keeping my eye on the ball (writing more books) and dilly dallied around with promoting books that were good, but weren’t in a big enough distribution channel to catch enough readers’ eyes.
Keep Your Eye On the Ball
Writing is a craft. You have to do it over and over again to perfect it, and even then it will never be perfect. How do I know??? Because I just turned in final copy edits for my September book, Assassin’s Heart. In doing those edits I found things I wanted to change, but couldn’t due to time constraints. For me, the deadlines are so tight that I don’t have that extra month any more too just let something simmer until I can go back and see the error of my ways. It’s not the same as when I was writing before a book sold. Deadlines make you work harder, faster and that’s a rude awakening when you write slow.
The thing is, if I’d kept my eye on the ball and just wrote, I would have honed my craft so much better that I wouldn’t really need that extra month. I’d be able to see problems much easier as they arise on the computer screen in front of me. The result would be stronger writing, and I would also have been building a substantial backlist and a larger eBook audience that would have crossed over the divide when I moved up the food chain. You see the larger your audience you pull from ePub, the stronger your sales will be when you’re with a NY publisher because word of mouth is the best kind of promo you can get.
So would I do anything differently if I could go back, knowing what I know now? Yes, I would have limited my promo. I would have limited my spending on giveaways, pens only. I would have given away books, not expensive sensual items. I would saved those nice items for basket giveaways like Brenda Novak’s auction, RT, etc. Bigger venues.
What I Did For Love
Most importantly, I would have written more. I would have written more instead of promo. I had so many people tell me to do this, but I didn’t listen. I was convinced that my marketing and PR skills knew better. Well, they did, but that was when a) erotic romance was just hitting the big time, b) I had just gotten an agent c) before the economy tanked and then tanked again. If “c” hadn’t happened, then my strategy probably would have paid off, but that’s what could have been, not what is.
The thing is; I can’t go back. However, I can share my experiences and maybe someone will think twice. I sort of doubt it. I know I didn’t listen to my mentor or others. (Damn it Claire you were right!) But wishing is hindsight, so I’ve been moving forward and learning to deal with limited resources for promotion, and doing the best I can to ensure my books are the best they can be.
The only caveat to the whole promo thing would be that I still firmly believe that promo gets you noticed, but if time valuable (and when you work a day job like me), writing has to come first. It’s what’s most important.
Oh and BTW, this past Tuesday, Assassin’s Honor hit the bookshelves. If you’ve not picked up a copy yet, check it out. If you’re not familiar with my work, then read the first three chapters on my website.
Read First Three Chapters