Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An Author's Nightmare... by Mimi Barbour

I've wracked my brain over this blog, and thought I might share with everyone what's been most eventful in my life for the last year or so. I should expand, and, truthfully admit this situation has had me scratching at stress rashes, pulling out thinning hair (I can't afford to loose), and doling out more money than I should or would fez up to. I bet you all knew what I was rambling on about as soon as I mentioned the overspending. I'm talking about promoting my books. When my first paperback "The Vicarage Bench" was released over a year ago, I soon realized I'd taken on a whole new career.

I started out promising myself that I would use common sense and go the free route as much as possible. Right!! (written with a sneer) Free means a lot of work doing intricate techie stuff that has guaranteed side effects such as: headaches, insomnia, alcoholism, and a good chance of the need for future marriage counselling. There are many sites out there for anyone who has the stamina to use them. Unfortunately, after a few mind-altering weeks, getting absolutely no-where, my enthusiasm waned and my get-up-and-go dropped dead. Filling in profiles, getting my pictures up on all the various pages, and my book covers in as many places as I could legally stick them was crazy - time consuming and exhausting.


I decided to poll others in some of my different groups for their advice, and it varied. I wrote it all down and ticked them off. The most popular suggestion was to have a website and get business cards and bookmarks. Tick! The next on the list was to join reader and author sites such as Goodreads and Savvy Author, and a gazillion more. Tick! Then I was told to get on blogs and blog my little heart out. Tick! Tick…tick…tick… Like a bomb getting ready to blow, my head swelled and I thought it might explode, spewing out those goofy little round yellow emoticons all over the place.

I was also informed of the importance of a web presence. So I'm on My Space, I twitter lots of little tweets, and we certainly can't leave out Facebook. But more was needed so I called my web mistress for some critical advice. After all, she's been in the business a lot longer than I have. She told me a Newsletter was a must…authors should gather names of people who are interested in us as individuals, and who will therefore be more apt to buy our books. Gotcha! A few painful weeks later – done.

Then the little paperback beauty arrived, and I could hold it in my hand. Maybe it was all worth it. I know my lagging enthusiasm returned, and so I got up the gumption to ask for an interview at the nearest newspaper. I also went to the only grocery store in our small town and requested that they carry copies so my friends who live nearby could buy it locally. And since we have a Chapters store in the larger city near us, I was able to set up a consignment deal for them to stock some books also. Then I sat back proudly and caught my breath.

Hold it! I hadn't finished, not by a long shot.

With a bit more research, I found out that banners are another way that many in the profession reach out.  And then there's judging contests, sending the book to review sites, ads in various magazines or online with Facebook and U-tube, giving workshops, and…and…gulp!!

Well I'm sure you get my drift. It's a non-ending drain of time, energy and money. This new marketing career has been the worst experience of anything else I've ever had thrust on me. I guess—because—even though I could get advice from others who'd been down this route,  I was forced to actually do the work myself through trial and error.

Then…an amazing thing happened. By some miracle, through all this stress, I found the time to write another manuscript called "Together Again", contract it, and have it released. This time around I was ready. And the marketing went much smoother than it had before.

I realized that I'd learned a great deal - more than I knew I even needed to know (if that makes any sense?) This time I managed to do a lot more marketing, but truthfully, it seemed simpler and less stressful somehow. I've accepted that I can't do it all, so I've chosen the areas I think are the most effective. I manage my time so well, that I only allow myself two games of Spider Solitaire a day!   Sigh!

If you're an author, how have you managed the added careers of publicist and promoter for your books? As a reader, did you realize that most authors today don't just write a novel, pass it on, and wait for their royalty checks?  I'd love to hear your comments, so please join in the discussion.

Please know that I love visiting with readers so come and say 'Hi' on my website at and join my newsletter for a chance to win a free copy of my latest release.

Or follow me on twitter!/Mimibarb

Or on Facebook…

My Newest release:

"Together Again" follows along the same paranormal theme as the rest of the books for The Vicarage Bench Series. It is a lovely, romantic story about a young, pregnant girl who spirit-travels forward ten years in time and invades the body of a handsome reporter. While together, they have some incredible experiences, and they fall in madly in love only to have to separate. He's promised to give her one week to get organized before he comes to claim her. But for her, their reunion date takes place in ten years.
When the time finally arrives, a big question plagues her. Since he's expecting a seventeen-year-old girl, will he love her as the twenty-seven year old woman she is today? Using her alias, she decides to seduce him during that week. Except that he proves to be a honourable man, staying faithful to her younger self. Until the night he almost falters and the guilt is overwhelming. 

Hugs Mimi

Check out the interview of TOGETHER AGAIN at The Romance Reviews (with giveaways!).


Jannine Gallant said...

I can soooo relate, Mimi. You forgot to mention the nagging feeling that you still aren't doing enough! I only hope the promotion roller coaster will pay off for all of us in the end. Best of luck with your new book.

wlynnchantale said...

Okay...Now I'm scared! LOL! I think i have the web presence okay, still have to get business cards and bookmarks. Some of the other things you mentioned, a newsletter and interviews. Whew! I have a hard time writing once a week for my blog!

Congrats on the the book. Thanks for sharing. Your post was great and let me know a little more of what I need to do before or after my book is released!

AJ Nuest said...

I was chuckling in an evil way through your blog, Mimi, because I am still going through all the learning, promoting, tweeting, blogging, posting, friending, tagging, emailing and somewhere in there trying to finish a manuscript. I am much relieved to know this gets easier with practice. And good thing too because I just signed another contract. Some days I use the mantra 'one small step at a time'. If I do one thing to promote my book each day, and at the end I'll have accomplished 365 tasks! Whew!

Alison H. said...

Hi Mimi - your nightmare is my nightmare. My first book was released last October, and the next is coming out in late June. I've done most (but certainly not all) of the promo things you mentioned, but I always feel guilty that I haven't done enough. It's definitely the least fun part of the process.

Willa Edwards said...

I'm one of those weird authors that actually likes doing promotion. It comes from my sales background. I love doing something and then being able to see the effect in my sales. You certainly don't get that from writing (or the day job). But I agree, there have been a few headaches about how to promo, how to keep the price down, how to get the most bang for your buck. Its not easy.

Sandra Koehler said...

This is a wonderful check list for new and not so new authors to follow. I couldn't agree with you more. It is so time consuming, but worth it. Thanks for sharing!

Alison Chambers

Vicki said...

My book, Echoes of Darkness, just came out this month, and I can totally relate to your blog. There are some days, I'm just lost, but thanks to your blog, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for sharing.

Victoria Noxon

Mary Ricksen said...

It certainly is overwhelming. Just do one thing at a time and try to fit in some writing time!!! Good luck1!!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Mimi,
Great blog. I think I must have travelled every painful step on your road too. It is stressful and time consuming, especially when I have a "paying" job to worry about as well.



Shelley Munro said...

No one warns new authors of the steep learning curve once they've signed their first contract. I remember it well--the scrambling to try to promo my brand new release. It was a bit of a shock to learn I needed to do more than write a great book.

I must admit, I'm a lot more laid back these days and tend to promo my backlist as a whole.

Great post.

Mimi Barbour said...

Thanks so much for your comments. I did try and get back to this website all day to answer you but for once this week I took time off to spend the day with my little 86-year-old sweetie of a mother-in-law.
After I read all your comments, you made me feel so much better - not so alone and I thank you.
xo Mimi

Mary Ricksen said...

I could kick myself in the butt for not trying to publish sooner. Things sure have changed, they used to promote for their authors. Now you are on your own. And you'd better get cracking or the book doesn't sell. I so get it!

Anonymous said...

This nightmare should come with a red post warning new authors to tread lightly! My cover isn't even started yet and you almost have me in tears of fear!

But, I want to see my baby out there, so I'm sucking it up and using your experience as armor for when my time comes (sometime in the next year).
And thank you for sharing your experience!

Congrats on Together Again!

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