Lessons in Self-Promotion (and the Vaunted Cats of War I Pre-order Promo)
Tooting my own horn doesn’t come easy for me. I don’t understand why. Aside from the fact that I do have a trumpet, and I can play it (yeah, I know, it’s not the same thing – I’m just stalling…) I’ve never been comfortable with self-promotion.
There are people who know me who will dispute this. I don’t seem to be averse to drawing attention to myself. I speak in stage whispers all the time (that’s when I say something in a tone of voice that sounds like a whisper, but can be heard at the back of whatever room we are in. I have this gift of vocal projection that served me well in my theatre days – maybe it has something to do with the formation of my mouth or jaw – my wife swears I have no table manners and I make too much noise when I eat, but my lips are sealed the whole time. I’m stalling again, aren’t I?)
There’s a difference between drawing attention to myself and promoting myself. The act of writing (and publishing it) is my way of drawing attention. But it is a totally different thing to say “Hey – I have some pretty good stories here, you should read them.” (you should, you know?)
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, I’m old, but I’m not a dog (even my wife hasn’t called me that yet), so maybe there’s hope for me. As uncomfortable as I am about self-promotion, I do understand that publishing without promoting is the equivalent of leaving a book on a park bench and hoping that someone will read it (and how would I know unless I spend the rest of my life hiding in the bushes to watch?).
The first step on the road to recovery is to admit that you have a problem (at least one.) Then you have to learn how to solve the problem.
This would be easier if I didn’t care whether my stories were being read. But I do care. I don’t just want to put words on paper – I want to be successful at this. I must create a plan to promote my work, but the hardest things to plan for are the things we don’t know that we don’t know. So I’m fumbling around with ways to promote my work effectively.
First I just published, but the stories weren’t jumping off the shelf on their own. So I created a facebook writing page. Then Author pages on Goodreads, Smashwords, Amazon. And then I blogged in one – two – three different places. I tried Kindle Select. I tried FREE Promotions. I ran coupons. I tweeted. I created my WordPress “William Mangieri’s Writing Page.”
Baby steps. After all, Rome was not built in a day, and I’m not THAT ambitious (how long did Muleshoe Texas take, anyway?) I’m only coming up on four years of INDIE PUBLISHING, after all.
I can tell from what stats I can see that my page(s) traffic is increasing. If anyone searches for “William Mangieri” on Google or Bing, I now dominate over the other William Mangieri(s) out there (ask yourself why anyone would search my NAME in the first place to see if that’s significant…)
The next tool in the publishing bag (and one of the biggest and most powerful, according to Smashwords’ Mark Coker) is PRE-ORDERS. So I’m doing my first one this month for Cats of War I (my first Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire collection – links are below.)
Of course, doing pre-orders requires more stringent, organized planning than I’ve been doing so far. Prior to this release, I have had a private (only I knew it) ePublishing schedule – dates set 4 weeks apart, at which time I would pick my oldest or most travelled (sent to and returned from the largest number of traditional markets) and usually put together the ePublication in a week.
That won’t work for pre-orders, so to take advantage of the tool, I need to decide which book I’m going to publish at least a month in advance. Well, I can do that – just requires a little more discipline and time to do it properly.
A part (a LARGE part) of me rails against having to take this extra time on the publishing side to do this. I would rather be using my limited time to WRITE, but if I want to succeed as a writer, part of it involves making sure my stories are READ. In the (fairly) new world of Indie-Publishing, you have to do it all. And who knows – if I can get enough people reading, maybe that will create the opportunity for more writing time.
So in the spirit of improving my marketing… My next ePublication will be Cats of War I – a collection of my first three Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire stories (“Purr-Mission”, “Nipped in the Butt”, and “Cat and Mouse”.) The stories are set in a cat-dominated world and include space adventure, treachery, political intrigue, germ (and other) warfare.
RELEASE DATE: November 20th
The collection is available as a pre-order at multiple online retailers for the REDUCED PROMOTIONAL PRICE from now through release. The price will increase after the release weekend.
IN ADDITION – if you purchase Cats of War I on Smashwords, use coupon code WF25Z at checkout to save an additional 67% off the $2.99 promo price (that makes it only 99-cents – such a deal!) This coupon is only valid from now through the end of the November 20th release day. Here’s the Smashwords link:
And here’s the Amazon link for pre-ordering Cats of War I: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017E9TPFK?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
The coupon for my latest collection: And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND (containing the stories “The Red Barrens”, “Dempsey’s Debut”, “Look Both Ways”, “The Final Ending?”, “Close Enough”, and “The Wolves Will Come”) expires today – here’s the smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/587154?ref=NoTimeToThink
Use coupon code UA97J to save 80% off the list price at check out on Smashwords (that’s right – all six stories for only $1.00!) The coupon is good through November 2nd. Enjoy!
William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest story collection And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND) can be found in many places, including:
- His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
- Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
- Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
- Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
- His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
- “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
- His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
- Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri