promotion and the fun meter


This post could come close to dangerously crossing the line and leaving the fluff zone!

There’s been much bloggy talk lately about promotion and contests and such, so I’m going to put in my one cent. (I don’t have two cents, sorry.) I have one standard for promotion. IS IT FUN FOR SUZANNE? Why is that my standard? Because there is no verifiable method of determining results for any given promotional strategy. I also believe that in terms of advertisement, the only advertisement of any significance is of such monumental proportions, it’s beyond the budgetary reach of the average author. Example: Janet Evanovich’s recent TV commercial. (Man, that would be cool!) Or advertisements in major magazines. Etc. That type of thing. Short of being able to afford promotion such as that, anything else is a crap shoot.

So what do I think is fun? Because if all I know FOR SURE that I’m going to get out of it is my own satisfaction and entertainment, that’s what I’m going to do. I love my website. I love, adore, slobber over my website. I love to plan content for my website, I love to have new features put on my website, I love to think about my website. I’m pretty sure I dream about my website. If there was one skill I don’t have that I could magically give myself, it would be the ability to design and manage my site myself. I don’t have time to learn, so thank God for DreamForgeMedia and the experts. My website is like my pet, my toy. My obsession. Ninety-nine percent of my promotion budget is spent on my website.

What don’t I do? (And all of these things are fine promotional strategies, they just aren’t fun to ME.) I rarely do chats. I don’t like chats. I don’t like how you have to BE THERE at a certain time. I don’t do Romantic Times Magazine ads. Ads in review magazines (or banners on online sites etc) don’t entertain me since I don’t get a particular kick out of seeing a banner on a site or an ad in RT and I definitely don’t get a kick out of writing the checks for those things. I rarely do booksignings. They make me uncomfortable. I am a member of AccessRomance , which is a first for me, but I find I’m getting good traffic return for the promotion there, and so far my involvement there has been fun.

I also love contests. Now, I say that when I wholeheartedly agree with much of the contest talk lately about contest junkies and the dangers of believing contests actually result in sales or name-building for authors. There is no way to verify that contests result in sales, and I think this is a valuable warning for authors to be pragmatic about their expectations from running a contest.

Why do I do contests then? They pass my fun meter. I love to give stuff away. *I* have *fun* giving stuff away. I don’t have a Big Purpose beyond having fun with it, so I do it. (I do strive to run my contests in such a way as to avoid as much as possible attracting the contest professionals, but if I do attract some of them, I don’t worry about it too much since I don’t have expectations that my contest will necessarily gain me new readers–it’s fun, that’s all. And you know how I am about my website. It’s my pet. My pet needs to play!)

In that vein, I wanted to post this note, which is another reason I love to give books away. When you DO find that you’ve given a book to someone who is a true reader, someone who is truly appreciative, it’s just a wonderful, warm, magical feeling. I received this note recently from a contest winner of one of my books:

“I have been reading about all the controversy on many blogs over authors running contests on their sites and the sweepstakes hobbyists entering. I think the whole thing is pretty sad. I admit to being one who loves to enter to win books, but I do read them and you should see my smile when I open a package like the one I received from you. My husband says I’m like a kid at Christmas and my face just lights up. I can’t really put into words the reason why, but it is so special to me to have an autographed copy of a book sent from an author. I really appreciate the fact that you do have contests and I get the chance to have a book signed by you. I’m going to turn the pages very carefully because it’s going in my “keeper” collection when I’m done reading it.”

That just makes your day, you know? 😀

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