Advertising on Goodreads & Other Acts of Writerly Faith

An unanticipated side-effect of forcing myself to put the novel in a drawer for a month is that I’m freed up no only to read more, but to promote my business. In other words, I’m getting my ducks in a row before the launch of Flashes of War. I’ve already accepted the fact that this will, at times, cost money (ex. hiring my own copyeditor). This week, I’m happy to say that I made my first investment in advertising. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, but what better time to try it than in tandem with the launch of a first book?

The Goodreads community has been interesting to connect with as I navigate my way through this new-to-me site for book lovers and authors alike. Their customer service (Real people! With real names and real email addresses!) is superb and that, plus the well-timed email from them welcoming me as an author and inviting me to consider advertising, certainly persuaded. But more than anything, it’s an ability to be my own best boss that helped me take the plunge into paid advertising. The frugal writer in me says, “No way!” but the better boss in me says, “Hey, you’ve worked hard to create your business as a self-supporting writer and you can’t do all of it alone. Lots of people need help getting the word out there. Here’s one easy way to do. Give yourself a reasonable budget and try it.”

So I did…in spite of the fact that my car broke down this week and is still at the shop, that I have a few fewer waitressing shifts each month, and that I am winding down on two arts writing projects that have brought trickles of income all winter. Call it faith or business smarts, (and I think it’s probably a mix of the two) I’m happy about being able to advertise and am likewise proud to say I’ve got the following campaign organized:

3/20 Launch of “meet the author” video at Loyola University in Baltimore 
3/27 Goodreads Giveaway and ad campaign begins
4/27 Goodreads Giveaway and ad campaign ends
5/1 Presale for Flashes of War begins on this website!
5/27 Official release date of Flashes of War   

Likewise, 6 public readings have been scheduled with many more in the works. (It’s the timing, travel, and budget that slow this process down…not to mention the many other folks involved in making a decision to accept or decline a request to host me.) Two requests for author interviews came in this week, one more book review promise, and two more ARCs went out to interested parties.

I share all of this not to toot my own horn, but for those writers out there who are also working from the bottom up and trying to give this life a solid go. Also, for the readers who love their writers, and want to see into the highs, lows, and inbetweens of the writing life. Many of my friends are studio artists, and I know they experience similar things in the art world. I’m no fairy-tale-big-NYC-publishing-house-Oprah-Book-Club-overnight-success story. But I do believe greater success is on the horizon, and a little advertising along the way sure can’t hurt! 

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