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Do Pre-Publication Promotion And Sanity Go Together ?

So someone writes a book and wants other people to buy it.

The day that book comes out, there will be at least 2,000 other books seeing the light of day.

Hence, all the talk about pre-publication promotion, author platforms, and a writer’s audience.

If you try to do everything that everyone says to promote a book you’ll evaporate in a cloud of angst.

My book will be published in late May and I began pre-publication promotion about a year and a half ago–long before I began writing the book. I took the idea and themes of the book and shared them as widely as I could. It gave me some valuable information on the small percentage of people who would be interested in the book I would write :-)

There are not as many people interested in a book that tells the story of going from seemingly interminable war to an enduring and noble peace as there are folks who would rather escape reality with a good vampire story.

I’ve got nothing against anyone’s reading appetite but I do need to be clear about my book being potentially hard to sell.

So, for months now (since the book was being written and through the editing processes), I’ve been trying various recommended ways to promote it.

I learned early-on to steer clear of people and sites that were trying to sell me some amazing method they claimed would guarantee  sales of my book when it’s released. I guess I’m just an Eskimo and those folks are trying to sell me snow

The key approach I’ve learned is called, by some, Relationship Marketing:

Let people get to know you, share your goals and philosophy, give them support in what they’re doing; then, maybe they’ll be interested in your book…

And, even if they don’t want your book, they may know someone who does.

Before I learned some of the finer points of relationship marketing, I was introduced to Seth Godin’s book, Unleashing The Idea Virus (buy it here or download it free here).

Very basically, he talks about finding “hives” (or tribes) of people and unleashing your idea, thereby “infecting” people with it. The best thing that can happen is for the tribe to have a lot of “sneezers”–people who naturally share anything they like as widely as they can.

Relationship marketing contains elements of Godin’s ideas plus social networking.

I tried, as hard as I could, to utilize Facebook and Twitter but I’ve pulled my involvement in both way back; the signal to noise ratio is just too heavily weighted toward “noise” for a book like mine to make much impact.

During the months I was trying to use those tools, I slowly became quite temporarily insane :-)

Luckily, I also started this blog and worked to build friendships with other writers with blogs…

I’ve also been using the virtual world, Second Life, to build a network of friends who might like my book. You can read more about that here and here.

Now, here I am, a little over two months from book launch, brain-frazzled, but willing to forge ahead and work my way back to sane coherency in my promotion efforts.

I’m also going to try to squeeze in more time on the forums at BestsellerBound :-)

My methods and mistakes are certainly not a guide for any other writer. Each of us has to evaluate the potential pools of readers and how best to approach them; each must select their own set of tools.

One bit of advice I think could apply across the board is to incorporate relationship-building into your promotion efforts. I think you’ll find the results will last a lot longer :-)
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