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Friday, March 4, 2011


Thank you for having me today at Long and Short Reviews.

Let’s take a look at the business of promotion from the author’s point of view, that’s me. LOL I’m one of those intrepid souls who sits before a computer screen day after day and weaves tales.

I’ve been writing Romance since 1984. Silly me, when I began I had no idea I needed to know “how” to write fiction for publication. I rapidly learned there’s a lot more to writing compelling, page-turning stories that someone besides my family would read—more important, would pay to read.

So I spent years learning my craft and the publishing business only to discover once I finally caught the eye of an agent some years ago and got a book published, my work had just begun.

So, I clapped on a Promotion hat. Promotion? What’s that?

Gone are the days when publishers send authors on book tours. Send translates to; pay to promote the book the publisher has contracted the author to write. Oh sure, there are those super-star authors, fiction and non-fiction, who get a modicum of publicity from their publishers. After all, those 5 or 10-million-dollar advances need protection! Alas, not for this author! Ninety percent of the authors I know do their own promotion. All of it.

Then comes the question: How? How do we promote our work so that it gets before the largest number of readers? Gets before? Huh! We often wonder weather readers can even find our books. And most readers have no idea that an author’s work is far from done once the book is published.

So I began learning about promotion by picking the brain of a friend who had done a lot of it. I had bookmarks and postcards printed. Composed flyers to go along with them and mailed them to hundreds of booksellers who were Romance friendly. Unfortunately, not all are booksellers friendly to Romance. I sent postcards to all my friends, whether they read Romance or not. Well, hey, what are friends for if not to occasionally help you? And they do! For which I’m most grateful.

Nothing takes the place of holding your first book in your hands. Glory be, it’s in PRINT! By golly, that’s my name on the cover. Most of us have done book-signings in local or regional bookstores. That’s fun, or can be. The bookseller usually does in-store advertising for an upcoming signing, and/or a press release to local newspapers. Thankfully, that’s one thing the author doesn’t do. 

I began writing on a legal pad with a pen. I graduated to a portable, manual typewriter, then electric. Though dragged kicking and screaming into the cyber world, I was an early recruit to a computer, a Commodore 64, then a 128, and on and on until today. Now I write on this PC, a laptop when I’m elsewhere for a period of time, or a Notebook when I go out for a day or two.

The internet is an entirely befuddling world to me, but it’s also a wonderful place to get one’s name and work out to more people than ever imagined a few years ago. I hear from people all over the world asking if I have bookplates I can sign and mail to them to paste into the book where I usually sign at a fact-to-face signing.

As a member or Romance Writers of America, I donate books to chapters for goody bags handed out to conference attendees. Actually, I donate books to a lot of causes, silent auctions, auctions to raise money for medical research. Due to today’s financial anxieties, many libraries are grateful to get free books. All of these venues are promotional in nature.

Right here on Long and Short Reviews is a wonderful venue to tell readers about my books. Writers like me are grateful for these invitations to blog where readers are certainly looking for favorite or new authors to read.

There are more ways to promote than I have ever used or even know. But if I’ve learned anything in this business—in life for that matter—I continue to learn every day. When I stop learning, I’ll stop growing, and that’s not good for a writer. Not good for anyone.

I hope you enjoy my latest book from The Wild Rose Press, Promise the Moon, coming May 27, 2011. In the mean time, please my browse web site for my current release: Capture an Eagle.

Promise the Moon Excerpt:

"My mother, Elena Montez."
Neely started at the deep masculine voice behind her. She whirled and looked into the eyes of a man at least two inches taller than Mr. Conway, a leather crop held in one big hand.
"She...she's beautiful."
Sable hair waved back from his wide forehead; gray dusted one temple where a scar sliced from hairline to chin. His wide shoulders were covered in an off-white shirt and a rough-out leather vest adorned with silver conchos glinting above a silver buckle. Fitted brown trousers hugged his muscled thighs.
Her first thought was that he was the handsomest man she had ever seen. Then she noticed his full lips, pressed together as if they didn't smile with ease. When he started toward her with catlike grace, she fought the urge to flee.
"Garrett Montez." He extended his hand. "Miss O'Conner?" he said, displeasure apparent.
"Ye...yes, Neely O'Conner," she said, irritated at her shaky voice. She flushed, and her hand felt burned clasped in his much larger one. He had the not unpleasant earthy smell of leather and horses about him.
She had never thought of herself as a small woman, but looking up at Mr. Montez, she felt diminutive. This man bespoke power, and not just physically. As he released her hand, she lifted her chin and looked into eyes that were silver more than gray, and definitely not a mirror to his soul.
"So, you think you're a housekeeper."
Jutting her chin up a fraction more, she surprised herself when she retorted, "No, sir, I am a housekeeper."
"You're too young."
"Must I be decrepit to qualify?"
His solemn expression didn't change, but his frosted-glass eyes danced with amusement for an instant. Or had she imagined it?

Joyce Henderson is a multi-published author in Historical Romance, Native American and Turn of the Century Americana. A native Texan,she loves to research Native Americans, Comanches in particular, and she writes what she knows, ranch life, farming, and about the horses she once owned. Her work has finalled in national contests.


gwen said...

I love the depth of your characters and the settings in your stories so much that I find myself urging them on, as if I'm actually there. You are my Louis L'Amore! Hurry up May so that I can bring (Neely in Promise The Moon)home with me too.

Gwen McDaniel

Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Joyce,

I must say, I really don't enjoy promotion at all. LOL I love talking to people but I don't like "tooting my own horn." I'm going to have to do more of it, though-- I just don't want to be nuisance by plastering my name all over the loops. Very good post on this topic, and I loved your excerpt. I can't wait to read this book--it's the kind of stuff I write, too.


Mary Ricksen said...

Hi Joyce!
I so got everything you have been through. I too started writing in notebooks the black an white ones.
I didn't even know how to use a computer!
Congratulations on your success and I wish you the very best with your blossoming career!

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Joyce, yes, the journey is full of learning, isn't it? And I still feel like a neophyte much of the time. I so enjoyed the excerpt. know my faves are the Western! oxoxox

Jannine said...

LOL, Joyce, I started writing on a pad and typewriter, too! And I also went into the cyber world kicking and screaming. It seems like we have a lot in common.

Promoting is the most difficult part of the writing business for me. I'm shy, and pushing something I wrote is painful. Thank goodness for the internet.

Good post, Joyce.

Lu said...

I'd much rather sit in my writing cave than flog my book, but needs must. I just wish there was some way to determine if the promo is working, or not .
Great post, and good luck with your new release!

Sue Palmer Fineman said...

Nice blog, Joyce. And I absolutely love your book covers.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Joyce, promotion is a nightmare for me. I try my best with blogs, loops, boomarks, etc. I hate the time spent promoting, but I guess it's a necessary evil if one wants to sell books these days.

Keena Kincaid said...

Like everyone else here, I don't enjoy promotion, but I don't abhor it either. It really depends on what it is. I love when I get a chance to talk to readers (RomCon in Denver is a really great venue for that) or go to libraries to donate a copy of my book.

Maeve said...

Loved the excerpt! How have I not read this one yet? Great post, Joyce. :-)

glenys said...

Hi, Joyce - just popping over from TWRP loop to say nice blog, and great excerpt! Oh, and do I ever remember the Commodore 64!