Anna Questerly

Anna Questerly
Bookseller and bibliophile turned author, Anna Questerly writes medieval fiction and fairy tales for smart kids and young hearts. For adults, she creates Utopian fantasy as A.J. Questerly.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Promoting vs Writing or Where's My Magic Wand?

As an author, my job is to write, right? Yes, but it is also my job to promote. Otherwise, there will be no one to read my work. They won't even know about me. Promoting is the way authors connect with new readers, loyal fans, and other authors, but the time spent blogging, Facebooking, and Tweeting takes time away from writing. Where should an author's priorities be focused?

Every author can identify with the stiff neck, sore shoulders, and blurred vision after sitting at the computer for too long. When I'm creating, I don't feel the pain until later. It's probably the main reason we authors have such a difficult time getting our butt-in-chair to write; at least it is for me.

So when I finally do get my butt-in-chair, should I work on my next book, or blog, or post to Facebook, or Tweet?

I wish, once I finished a book, I could wave my magic wand and everyone would know about it and rush to read it. No promoting needed. Of course, I'd still want to connect with my readers, answer their questions, and read their reviews. I truly enjoy that part of it, but I wouldn't need to constantly create content to feed the social media monster just to let people know my book is out there.

That's every author's dream, but you don't get that magic wand until you've become a best-selling author and then you garner all the free media screaming that your newest book will be out next Tuesday. People pre-order your latest novel, stand in line to get their copy, and insist their friends just have to read it.

Until you reach that level, instead of a magic wand, we new authors have only a stick we use to beat the social media monster so we can feed it. We must take the time to promote our work, at least if we're serious about being a full-time writer, or if we're independently wealthy, which I'm not. I don't want to give up my day-job, I have one of the best jobs in the world; I run a bookstore, but I would love to use the time I do have available for writing to write instead of having to split it between writing and promoting.

I believe this is why authors like Nora Roberts and James Patterson are able to write so many books. They don't have to promote themselves. They've earned it and now they've got their magic wand. They get to write, write, write!

So if you're a reader, who has read a relatively new author's book, and you can't wait to read his or her next book, give them a hand with promotion. Help them feed the monster. Tell your friends, post reviews, and let people know about your discovery. You will enchant that author's mundane stick with some of your sparkly, fairy dust to and, after a time, that magic wand will allow them to write, write, write and you will get to read, read, read.

I love a win/win and I've been blessed with a few of these fabulous ├╝berfans. I love them.They comment on my blog, leave reviews, tell their friends, and share my posts. As an author, it makes a huge difference to know these folks are out there. I think about them as I write. I write for them. It's nice to put faces to such a thing as an audience. As I wrote my first book, my audience was an amorphous fog, shifting and changing and no help at all. By the time my third book was finished, I knew for whom I was writing. I could see their faces and I knew what they wanted. I believe that's why my third book is my best so far.

Don't get me wrong, I still write the stories I want to read, but somehow just knowing these people are out there, reading and commenting on my book, makes me want to write better for them, tell a more exciting story for them. Readers may not realize it, but when they become part of an author's life, it is truly magical.

To those of you have sent me some of your sparkly fairy dust, thank you so much for helping me promote my work, so I have more time to write for you. Please know, when I see your reviews, your comments, your shares, your retweets I'm grateful each and every time and it motivates me to work harder and write better for you.

If you see your new favorite author spending too much time on promotion or not enough, help them out. Become and ├╝berfan for them and watch them blow you away with their next book. We live for this!