Promotion! Promotion! Promotion!

In a now famous meme-worthy speech, Steve Ballmer argued that tech-focused Microsoft needed to switch its attention to monetization. Advertisers! Advertisers! Advertisers… Baby! I think of Microsoft’s former CEO now that I have a book coming out in September and must shift focus from writing to promoting. Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book! Baby!The truth is that the skill set required to sell anything is very different from the talents needed to create realistic characters caught in an intriguing set of circumstances. And, to be honest, I lack many of the attributes necessary for the former. You know those folks who could sell ice to an eskimo? I’m not sure I could sell water to a sandhog.  But, promotion is increasingly a requirement for writers. Gone are the days when you wrote it and the publisher sold it (except perhaps for the big names we all know). Now there are blogs to write, email lists to engage, reviewers to court, blurbs to request. This is the writer’s new normal. Write the next book while promoting the current one. Repeat.  I’m not complaining. I’m just mentally adjusting to my reality. Most importantly, I AM LEARNING. Over the weekend, I was on a panel with Eva Lesko Natiello, NYT bestselling author of The Memory Box and former marketing expert at Estee Lauder. She told me how she applied some of the marketing strategies from her prior life to promoting her novel. One of the genius things she did was to go to the beach with her book and engage sunbathers buried in other novels–with a TV crew behind her. Ballsy and Brilliant! So, if you see me wandering the beach this summer, you’ll know why.  Writer friends, what are some of your marketing strategies… or are they too good to share? (PHOTO: Arthur Mongelli, Harvest of Ruin; Cate Holahan (Lies She Told, Widower’s Wife), Nancy Star (Carpool Diem; Sisters One, Two, Three), Eva Lesko Natiello (The Memory Box).)    

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