Saturday, March 26, 2011

Promotion, Promotion and More Promotion

Laura's previous blog got me thinking about all the time I spend on the computer. Since I make a 'living' writing and teaching, the internet, email and WORD are my constant and necessary companions. I use email to communicate with editors, young fans and other writers. The internet is crucial for research, and editors expect an electronically delivered manuscript. Right now, I am writing a bio of Wolfgang Puck for an educational company. Without the internet and online article databases, I would be lost! (How DID we research in the 'olden days'?) For teaching, I communicate with students through email and Blackboard and with collegues almost exclusively with email. None of the above, however, is really using the computer for leisure. However, for the past several years, time on the computer has increased due to what Laura touched on: promotion.

Unlike Laura's editor and publisher (who seem to be very supportive), the publishers I work with have not encouraged blogging or developing a website. It is an unstated rule in the industry that if you do not promote your books and keep sales high, you will not get another contract. (Unless you are a celebrity or big name author, then the publishing house will promote.)Thus blogging and online book tours/interviews etc have become increasingly important to authors who want to get their books 'out there' along with school visits (for children's authors), conferences and book festivals. (That's me above at the Kentucky Book Fair.) Even my Facebook page is for my YA mystery, Whirlwind. Promotion is incredibly time-consuming and often exhausting (think 250 thirteen-year-olds in one assembly)plus it takes away from writing, riding and home. For me, it does have a wonderful upside: I get to meet other teachers, authors and book lovers either in person or virtually, which is renewing and exhilerating.

Speaking of, Whirlwind and Shadow Horse are being given away on a wonderful blog written by Lisa, a mom and horse lover at (Sorry but I could not get the link to publish!) I never would have met Lisa without a 'real' friend to direct me to her blog, but through Lisa's giveaway, I have already met another blogger/writer who would like to host a giveaway and interview. Those online connections might take time away from 'life' but they are also fun, and the fun part is what makes them so addicting.

The virtual world is here to stay. For some of us, it is an absolute necessity for our work. For others, a way to reach out or play. Many of you already commented on Laura's blog post about how you use and manage your online life. Now that spring is coming (really, it is) I imagine most of us will be spending more time outdoors. Still, I would like to know, how do you use the computer to enhance your life and career?


Susan said...

I seem to be in the same boat as I use my computer mainly for writing and book promotion. I have both a blog and a website, and I recently formatted my book so it's available as an ebook.

I have mixed feelings about ebooks. I prefer paper books, but the ereader industry is making it so easy to create ebooks and get them in catalogs for free. You just can't beat it.

Linda Benson said...

Alison - I'd have to say that I really value all the friendships I've made online with other authors, animal lovers, horse owners, and book people. There are people I never would have met otherwise that live clear across the country, or the world, that I have so much in common with. While we might originally develop a website or a blog for promotion, it's those connections we make that mean the most to me. And since writers often spend a lot of time in front of the computer writing and revising, having an online friend to check in with, or just make a silly or knowing comment with, is great. I used to resent how much time I spent in front of the computer, but now I enjoy it. I just try to make sure I find some balance in my life, and that's where animals and livestock come in handy. They force you to go outside and spend some time in the fresh air. So I say, "Yay to both."

Dreaming said...

The virtual world is awesome! And, who would have thought, even 15 years ago, what a key role the Internet would have for all of us.
In 1996 I taught in a laptop program. We were way ahead of the curve. We were excited that 2 computers could access the Internet at one time - woohoo!

Alison said...

Thanks Susan, Linda and Dreamin' for your comments! I agree Linda--you and I NEVER would have met without the internet.:) I just have to really limit my time.

Ebooks will be here to stay, I think Susan, just like the internet. Let's hope that regular publishing continues to create 'real' books. However, there have to be readers and buyers who want them. I meet young kids who LOVE books, just like we do. But I also meet too many who do not. SAD.

Dreamin' it will be folks like you who tell us oldsters what the next new wave of technology will bring. I can't even imagine.