Lessons I’ve Learned About Promo

My first book, BURNING BRIGHT, written with coauthor Rachel Wilder, comes out next month. One of the things I’m learning as a new author is how to do promo. In fact, I’ve started talking about it like that – “do promo” like it’s some kind of jargon term, some in-crowd thing that I’m part of.

But it’s sure easy to get overwhelmed. I talk to people in my writing group who are mystified by even the small efforts I do, and I know authors who are so on top of their promo that I despair of ever catching up (Delilah Devlin and Xakara are two examples). So what have I learned? Here are three easy steps that anyone can take to dip a toe into the promotional waters without diving directly into the deep end.

Step One: Start Small

Don’t try to drink from the fire hydrant. Find a small drinking fountain at the park instead. Pick one outlet and play with it for a month or five – a blog, or Facebook page, or a website. Learn how the technology works and practice.

Step Two: Invent a Framework

Instead of staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration, come up with a list of ideas that you can use as a framework. What works for me is this: on a clean sheet of paper, write in a column the days of the week:


Then, next to each day, write an idea of a topic. Play with alliteration, (Sunday Silliness), or with some kind of one-through-seven sequence (chakras, musical notes, or subjects). Use those as your theme for the day, if you post daily, or for the week, if you post weekly.

Step Three: Play Well With Others

Join a forum in your genre of choice, or something targeted for writers. Read other writers who work in your genre, and comment on their posts. No one likes talking to themselves in an empty room, so give as good as you get: commenting on others is a good way, and sometimes the only way, to encourage others to comment on your own stuff.

That’s all it takes. Just start with something simple, and build from there. A well-done but simple presence is much more effective than a broad scatter of disconnected blather.

Above all, have fun. After all, that’s why we write, right?

4 Replies to “Lessons I’ve Learned About Promo”

  1. Thanks for the comment, Darla! I do find it scary. It's so overwhelming. This 24-hour stream is enormous, because it's like the whole world is talking, all the time.

    I've thought about that, actually, and I think the skill that is necessary now is critical thinking – just like when it was "just" books in the Great Conversation. Figuring out how to critically assess the incoming information stream, organize it into a useful thing, and how to interact with it is a challenge. I'm sure grateful we have Casey Lynn writing for us, and Xakara on my other blog community, because their explanations really help make it more understandable – and more bite-sized.

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