Sunday, April 23, 2006

Self-Promote or Die

Julia Spencer-Fleming sent me a link to a blog written by Tor editor Anna Louise, all about how books do or don't make money:

The Reader's Digest Condensed Version: Publishing books costs a lot of money, and it isn't easy to make a profit.

JA's Interpretation: Better get cracking on that self-promotion, or risk never working in this town again.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I really don't understand why some authors think that simply writing a good book is all a writer needs to do, and the rest will be taken care of by the publisher. That's shortsighted at best, suicidal at worst.

But here's an interesting by-product of self-promotion that rarely gets talked about: It goes on in your absence.

I haven't been my usual gung-ho self this past week, have neglected the blog and website, and haven't done any appearances since April 7. But looking at the number of hits my blog and website have been getting, looking at my Amazon rankings fluctuate, and looking at the number of emails I continue to get, you couldn't tell I've been MIA.

People still seem to be dropping by, still seek me out, and still buy my books, even without me playing the cheerleader. I even had some spikes in sales and website hits while being incommunicado.

While I'm sure this would eventually drop off, it's reassuring to think that I can take occassional breaks and not worry about losing everything I've tried to build up. This may sound obvious, but I haven't been on vacation in several years because I'm so paranoid about missing opportunities to promote myself.

Maybe I'll take a vacation this year---after my 500 bookstore tour...