By the second book the sober truth dawns--for the majority of writers there will be little or no support from the publisher in the matter of publicity. If we don't work to promote our own books, nobody in the world will hear about them. And so we grope blindly in the darkness, trying to come up with brilliant ideas to make us rich and famous, while not costing an arm and a leg. Private publicist--the good ones cost two arms and two legs. Self funded book tour all over the country? Most bookstores aren't even interested in the fledgling writer because it costs money to host an event and they want a guarantee that books will actually be sold.
We join writers organizations and try to pick the bones of established writers, wanting to know what works and what doesn't. Unfortunately they are none the wiser. Some books are just lucky--they hit the shelves at the right time, they touch a nerve with the public and they are best sellers.
Be we keep trying anyway. We try postcards and bookmarks, pens with our names on them. Buttons with cute sayings. We wear funny hats to conventions. We offer to speak to womens luncheons for free.
Well, finally I have the answer. And it is: cupcakes!
I hosted a cozy writers panel last sunday and one of the panelists, Jennifer McKinlay, writes a series featuring a cupcake shop. AND SHE BROUGHT CUPCAKES for show and tell! And guess what? We had a huge audience and she sold a ton of books. In fact her books have made it to the New York Times extended list!
So now I know what I've been doing wrong. In my next book Her Royal Spyness Lady Georgie is going to join forces with her best friend Belinda and open a frightfully genteel tea room at which cupcakes are sold. And I'll have samples everywhere I go. I'll be a mega success!
But joking apart, in uncertain times like these many readers seek out books that represent comfort and security. Craft cozies, about quilt making and knitting are thriving. And comfort food books--cookies and cupcakes are doing even better. It's easy to understand why. How great to be surrounded by virtual cupcakes, to enjoy reading about them without putting on any calories!
So, fellow writers--do you have any tips to share on promotions that have worked for you? or any that have been simply not worth the time and effort?