When does promotion start?

The minute you take yourself seriously as a writer.

When my first book, FOOLS RUSH IN, came out in 2006, I was a novice at promotion. I did pretty well, but the Internet did not have much blogging or all the websites available for promotion. I felt much was a waste of my time. I had more important things to do than sift through the Internet.

My attitude changed last year. My New Year's resolution was to carefully examine cyberspace. I followed the leads as I came across them. I used many of the skills I learned while working in the Narcotics unit at the sheriff's department, where I tracked down criminals by scouring confidential sites for clues to their whereabouts. The sleuthing techniques I developed are now useful in an entirely different way.

In the learning process, I've isolated three key elements: finding sites, participating on sites and controlling the vast amounts of information.

Finding sites is not a challenge. Go on any author's website and check out the links. Links lead to links and the trail seems to go on forever. I check websites to see who reviewed an author's book. I am a scavenger, always hunting for clues to the next opportunity. This requires an eye for spotting potential and discarding what will not help my career.

After checking out a site, I make a decision whether or not to join. Joining means getting my photograph on the page and accumulating “friends.” If the process of joining seems overwrought, I just leave a message commenting on the blog. People reading my messages will see my name and face. Like dropping breadcrumbs, I lead readers back to my own site.

Monitoring traffic to and from sites is a lot of work. The trick is to control the Information Highway so it takes me where I want to go.

I created a folder called “Sunday Work.” I attend to it religiously. All week long I move emails from blog sites to the folder. My Sundays now start with a cup of coffee, the Sunday comics and then I tackle each item in the folder. Often, by opening one site, I can eliminate many of the posts telling me I have messages at the site. I also do updates.

The second document is called “Blog Sites.” As I come across sites I'd like to check out, I copy the link and add it to my list. I also put the list in alphabetical order to make sure there are no repeats. If I post on the site, I put the date and action taken.

If a writer thinks self-promotion takes away from actual writing time, they will be left on the side of the road with a book to sell and nobody buying.

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