I'm jealous of my time. Most authors feel the same way. Anything that takes away from creating that work-in-progress feeds my nervous tic. Yet the best books in the world never stand a chance without that "P" word getting a workout.
Talking about promotions, guys. Book promotion, self-promotion, cross-promotions. Building a platform, creating some "buzz," blogging, speaking--
Bubble bubble, toil and trouble...
My radio show podcast first aired (is that the right word?) February 2008. It currently ranks #3 of pet-theme downloads for iTunes, with 58,000 hits in the past two months. How does that translate into book sales? I'll let you know after my next royalty statements arrive, but it certainly can't hurt.
I don't pretend to have a magic cauldron souping up book sales. But I squeeze every drop of juice from my writing minutes and throw everything into the promo-pot. Podcasts work particularly well for nonfiction authors, but should have equal or even better buck-bang for fiction authors because so few novelists take advantage of this venue. Leverage what you know, make it news-worthy, and expand your audience--and media appeal.
Interestingly, the protagonist in my WIP thriller happens to host a radio show called "Pet Peeves." Midway through writing the book, it made sense for me to expand my brand as a nonfiction author and animal care expert, and actually create such a show.
The resulting "Pet Peeves" radio podcast on www.petliferadio.com offers half-hour weekly installments that showcase my pet expertise, increase media exposure, add to my platform, and generate awareness (and sales!) of existing prescriptive dog and cat books. It's already an established go-to destination even before the novel appears. Once the thriller launches, my hero's ongoing story should promote the podcast, and vice versa. At least, that's the plan.
Of course, I already cross-promote the Pet Peeves radio show with mentions in my various columns, articles, and blogs. Yep, I multi-task my little appendages off. A given Pet Peeves radio show topic often inspires a column or blog (or vice versa). When one interview does double or triple duty, that carves out extra time I can spend writing.
In addition, my existing books and website articles can be included in the podcast as a "further reading" resource. Can you say "buzz-your-book?"
Podcasting generates other promotional opportunities as well. In the past three weeks, I've received inquiries about appearing as an expert on upcoming Animal Planet shows, touring opportunities as a media spokesperson, and guest appearances/citations on other podcasts and print venues. Every mention helps.
Fiction authors often interview experts to keep the story details accurate. Why not do a podcast interview? It's painless, can be done by telephone in your pajamas with no makeup and nobody knows the difference. I live north of Dallas, my producer is in Florida, and guests from all over the country appear on Pet Peeves. They receive a "guest page" on the www.petliferadio.com site with their picture, bio, and pertinent links, and return the favor by linking on their site back to the radio show.
You can record onto your laptop with any audio recording program. I understand that iPod also makes a recording attachment. For Pet Peeves, I purchased a headset and use Skype.com software. My producer calls me using Skype, and then we dial-in the guest via regular telephone landlines.
Happy podcasting! If you cook up the right promotion ingredients for your own pet projects, publishers just may eat it up!
Causes Amy Shojai Supports
Cat Writers Association, Winn Feline Foundation, AKC Canine Health Foundation, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)