When I got my master’s, my mom invited me to stay home and devote full-time attention to my writing. It was my lifelong dream, after all—she offered me a roof, rent-free, and all the time I needed to get started. (Very ROOM OF ONE’S OWN, I know…)
I cleaned out the guest bedroom, turning it into my office. At the time, my office equipment included a pre-Internet modem-less computer from the Paleolithic Era, a Mailstation where I could send and receive emails (no attachments), and a coffee machine.
In about ’07, I upgraded the computer, and finally got Internet access in my home. Two years later, I signed my first book deal, for a YA novel…and my editor started talking to me about blogging.
I was, in a word, hesitant. I didn’t have a single profile online. Not a Myspace or Facebook page. I’d never uploaded a picture of myself. I was grateful for all the time I’d had with a computer that offered no distractions, that allowed me hour after hour to write, to have a kind of tunnel vision in which I saw only my work and nothing else…And to be completely honest, I just wasn’t sure about putting myself out there online.
But that was when I discovered the book blogging community. And I fell in love.
I’m so grateful for the YA book blogging community, which helped spread word-of-mouth regarding my books and allowed me to interact directly with my readers. Since discovering the blogosphere, I’ve been on blog tours that have included both print and video interviews. I’ve done live chats, which have been advertised or hosted by those bloggers. I found that the more I did online to promote my work, the more I wanted to do online to promote my work.
At heart, I’m still pretty low-tech. My cell doesn’t take pictures. I’ve never sent a single person a text in my life. But there’s just something about promoting my work online that I really enjoy—maybe because it feels like another creative outlet. It just seems to fit.
I think that’s one of the keys to marketing, actually. When an author has something new to offer—whether it’s a first novel, a novel in a new genre, etc.—I think the best thing you can do is try everything. When you find a marketing strategy that truly fits for your personality, it won’t feel like drudgework. It’ll be as enjoyable as writing.
My debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, is still in development—and I know that marketing a MG will be quite different from publicizing a YA, simply because I won’t be talking directly to my readership. Instead, I’ll be talking to teachers, librarians, parents. But I’m excited by the prospect of brainstorming new possibilities, finding new techniques that fit…