It’s a little breezy and rainy on the porch today so we’re sitting under the covered portion sipping our tea. I’m joined today by Author Susanne Matthews and we’re discussing her writing and how she handles promoting her work and getting her books reviewed.
Kelly, thanks for having me here today. I’ve been an official author since April 24, 2013, when my first novel, Fire Angel, was released. Since then, I have written and sold twelve other novels, under my own name or under the name Misty Matthews, which is a pen name for the co-writing team of Misty Cail and myself. Co-writing books is a very different process from writing them on my own and presents a variety of challenges, but I enjoy working with Misty and learning from her as she learns from me.
Recently, someone asked me what the hardest part of being an author was. I sat back and thought about it and several quick replies came to me, but the one I blurted out is by far the most frustrating because it’s the one over which I have the least control. The hardest thing about being an author? It’s the promotion. How can I get my name out there and get people to want to read my books?
Everyone who aspires to be an author wants to write a bestseller. We all have dreams of being famous and having our books chosen for promotion by Oprah or some other talk show host. We fantasize about appearing on television to discuss our latest book, and of course, the dream to beat all dreams, we bask in the imaginary glory of seeing our books immortalized on the silver screen.
The reality is that, while we may write incredible books that everyone who reads just loves, we have the devil’s own time getting the word out there. I am not an expert on social media, and promoting and publicizing my books leaves me intimidated. It also takes an incredible amount of time, time which could be spent working on new books—writing, editing, polishing. Lately there are some new kids on the block—Head Talkers and Thunderclaps. I’ve also managed to learn a bit about Watt Pad, but the bottom line is, I don’t know how to get the word out there. I blog, I tweet, I Facebook, and I have a website, but I feel as if I’m bombarding the same people all the time.
To effectively use Twitter, apparently one is supposed to talk about one’s life, and Facebook is expecting you to do the same, but I’m afraid about posting that kind of stuff. Photographs, once posted, could end up anywhere. Is there a right and wrong way to do that? How much do you post? Does anyone really care if I lost two pounds and gained it right back?
When I finish a book, I decide where I want to send it. Some stories are a better fit for some publishers than others. Having been burned twice by unscrupulous publishers, I am leery about where to send my books. Currently, I work with four well-established and trustworthy publishers: Crimson, Secret Cravings, Solstice, and Anaiah Press. The books I send to each of them vary, but in the end, all the books end up on Amazon and/or other retail distribution sites. I also publish books myself through Amazon and Kindle, but those are books I had out before.
So how do I promote myself? I send out copies for reviews and hope I get some. I blog on my own website, invite other authors to blog on mine so I can blog on theirs like I have today. I join Facebook groups like Mid-Week Tease, Hump Day Hook, and Clever Quickie Mondays and Author and Reader groups where I share author posts in exchange for their sharing mine. I promote Book of the Day, so others will promote me. Does it work? I honestly don’t know. I’m still relatively unknown, waiting for the one book that will propel me to the top of the bestseller list. Maybe it’ll be this one, or maybe the next. I’ll just keep writing until I reach the stars. Comment on this post for your chance to win an e-copy of The Price of Honor.
Thanks so much Susanne for sharing your perspective on promotion and getting reviews. I’ve certainly learned a lot. Remember to post a comment if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Susanne’s book. Find out more about her on my Porch Guests page.