And you thought writing was hard . . . !

My book comes out in May (technically, April 29th). The manuscript has long since been turned in, the copyeditor's suggestions either accepted or rejected, and the galleys have been proofed and pages sent for correction.

That means it's time to begin promoting.

Last week I published the first of four character sketches here on my blog. I sent e-mail about this to everyone who signed up for my mailing list, as well as everyone who has written me over the nearly 10 years since my first book was published.

It wasn't easy.

I thought I had my lists completely organized, but I don't. I first tried to organize them in terms of geographical area, in case I ever do a signing where they are. Let's face it, someone who lives in St. Louis couldn't care less if I'll be doing a signing in Indianapolis. But I don't necessarily know where everyone who e-mails me lives, so the bulk of my e-mail address library, aside from areas where I have a fairly large following (my hometown in New York; Jacksonville, Florida, where I used to live; Indianapolis, where I've done several signings; and the Chicago metro area, where I now live) is simply alphabetical. Unfortunately, I noticed that some people got listed twice, on my website mail as well as on my e-mail list. I removed those names I recognized and know I'll have to do a list comparison to make sure I'm not annoying people with multiple e-mails.

The good news is that my book now has a ranking on Amazon (indicating at least a few pre-orders). The bad news is that I'm giving myself three weeks to straighten out these lists. The next time I do an e-mail blast I want each addresse to receive just one copy.

Then there's the e-mail addresses that are no longer valid. This is the number one reason why I won't pay anyone to send out e-mail on my behalf. People change e-mail addresses all the time. When I send them out, I know how many come back. When someone else does it I don't know how many messages of the advertised number are really getting through.

When I finally get this done it'll be a snap.

It's the effort required to get it done that has me exhausted.


Gwyneth Bolton said...

The promotion part of publishing sucks. That's why I've been so happy that my last novel came out in March 2007 and the next one won't be out until July 2008. I felt like I was constantly promoting and I wanted a break from it. Plus, I'm not nearly as organized as you with my mailing lists etc. Thinking about promotion is giving me a headache...

Patricia W. said...

I empathize Bettye. I've always wondered what I would do when it's time to promote a book. Because my email lists are in shambles. Lots of obsolete addresses. Folks with multiple addresses. Folks that I can't remember where or how I got their email address in the first place. Perhaps I'll be arranging this in some reasonable order on my 2009 goal list.

bettye griffin said...

Gwyneth, I'm glad it's not just me.

Patricia, Make this your rainy day project for 2008.

My method: I type them all up in a list (one addy per line) and then highlight the whole shebang and do a sort from A to Z. That'll make duplicates easy to weed out. You probably won't know which ones aren't valid until you actually send something. You can either print out each undeliverable e-mail you'll get, or save paper by writing down the addresses and then removing them from your list (I confess, I haven't done much with this part).

Thanks for posting!

shelia said...

I love promoting, I just hate it interferes with the writing. It gets hard to promote while working on a new book. I feel you on paying someone else to send out email blasts. I do the email blasts myself too for one of the reasons you mentioned. If the email bounces back, I can at least delete that email from my list and the other reason would be my limited budget :)

bettye griffin said...

Oh yeah, Shelia, I heard that about the budget. Organizing my list is a pain in the ass, but at least it's not costing me anything!