The Joys Of Marketing And PR

Guest post provided by K D Grace.

With the power of social media, the rise of self-publishing and the popularity of eBooks, more and more PR and marketing is falling into the author’s lap. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say I spend a good third of my time on PR and marketing – sometimes more. I have two websites and a popular blog which gets updated at least four times a week. I’m on Facebook and Twitter multiple times during the day. Oh, I’m not a surfer. If I’m online it’s because I’m working. I’ll be honest, I’d much rather be writing stories.

The good news is that the same elements that bite into my writing time offer me much more control over that essential PR and marketing than I would have had even ten years ago. Obviously SourceBooks’ PR and marketing folks have been incredibly helpful by booking me blog tours and putting The Initiation of Ms Holly out for early reviews, but I have to be willing to run with what they offer me. That means writing blog posts, doing chats, tweeting and using FaceBook and Pinterest. That means constantly generating new content for my blog and making sure people are aware of my latest news. That means me doing everything I can to make sure people know my name and know the K D Grace brand.

I learned early on that I’m not just selling my novels, but I’m selling K D Grace. More than that, I’m building a relationship with readers. I love to read as much as I love to write, and if I find an author whose work I really enjoy, I want to know more about her. I don’t just want to know writing stuff, but I want to know her hobbies, her funny stories, what she loves, what she hates, what her favourite colour is. I want to know all of those things PLUS I want to know the story behind why her character did what they did and what inspired her to write such a tail.

The Initiation of Ms Holly was inspired by being stuck in the dark in a malfunctioning train in the Eurostar Tunnel while trying not to think about the gazillion gallons of the English Channel above my head. That’s unique; my readers like that I know exactly how Rita Holly feels in those opening scenes of the novel.

Beyond that, all of my fans know that I grow my own veg and that I have a reputation for writing what they refer to as ‘garden porn.’ They also know that I love the outdoors and I love to walk. In fact I love it so much I walked across England, from coast to coast with my husband. Neither of those two tidbits have anything to do with The Initiation of Ms Holly, nor with my writing. But they give my readers a chance to know me better. I want my readers to know me. I want them to follow me on Twitter and friend me on Facebook. I want to be on their minds. I want them to follow my blog and check out my website, and make comments so I get to know them. All of these things are under my control, all of these things I can give to my readers so that we can build a relationship. With the landscape in publishing changing so rapidly, every day it becomes more and more likely that more and more of that relationship, that brand building, that making myself and my work known and easily available will be my responsibility

With the meteoric success of Fifty Shades of Grey, erotic romance has taken up residence on the bookstore shelves alongside the rest of the romance genre, which is nothing but good news. The popularity of eBook readers has also boosted the demand and sales for erotica of all sorts, by offering anonymity to readers — though with the more subtle covers, that’s becoming less of an issue. Having said that, one of the very best things eBook readers have done is offer readers of all genre instant gratification at the tap of a finger. That makes having a strong, easily Googleable online presence even more essential for all authors, since not only are sales of eBooks dwarfing print book sales, but the profit margin for authors is greater with eBooks. Having said that, there’s still nothing like the feel of a print book.

One of the unique situations erotica writers deal with in their efforts at marketing and PR is that though no one would imagine Thomas Harris had to become a cannibalistic serial killer in order to write The Silence of the Lambs, an amazing number of people tend to think that surely we erotica writers must have done everything in our stories before we wrote them. While it’s true, I was stuck in a train, you can be confident that I didn’t have nearly as much fun there as Rita Holly did. Neither have I ever had sex on a Harley while careening down a British motorway. As for being a part of a secret sex cult, well it would hardly be secret if I told you, now would it.

20549484K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she is, otherwise, what would she write about?

When she’s not writing, K D is veg gardening. When she’s not gardening, she’s walking. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. She and her husband have walked Coast to Coast across England, along with several other long-distance routes. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots. She also enjoys martial arts, reading, watching the birds and anything that gets her outdoors.

K D has erotica published with SourceBooks, Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, Sweetmeats Press and others.

K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include The Initiation of Ms Holly and The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Books two and three, Riding the Ether and Elemental Fire, are now also available. She was nominated for ETO’s Best Erotic Author 2013.

K D Grace also writes hot romance as Grace Marshall. An Executive Decision, Identity Crisis, and The Exhibition are all available.

Click here to read my review of The Initiation Of Ms. Holly.

No Easy Solutions Here

If you want a clear-cut roadmap to success, you won’t find one. For every road to success there is a different path, a different challenge, a different obstacle that will block your way. It’s not on purpose. Instead, it’s because each of us is different, and each of us faces different experiences and opportunities. If the road to success were paved in red carpet, everyone would be a millionaire, and we could all suck our lollipops and eat our tangerines in perfect harmony.

Books are no different. In fact, with the publication of your first novel, the road for an author just got a lot harder, not easier, and filled with enough potholes to bring down a Hummer. Again, it’s not because life is supposed to be difficult and hard and challenging, but unfortunately, that’s often what happens. This is the time the real writers often get separated from the pretenders, as the reading public has fickle, ever-changing tastes. If the Big 6 publishers can’t figure it out, then there’s even less hope for you.

So does that mean you’re just supposed to stand in a corner and wait for the spotlight to come to you? Absolutely not. But it does mean that after you publish your debut novel that you shouldn’t expect success and fame and fortune to soon follow. Sure, it does happen for some, but there’re a whole lot more midlist and bottom-of-the-list authors than there are highly successful, highly compensated, career defining ones. And it does mean you have to keep at it and keep plugging away, as you keep churning out those labors of love. You can’t get discouraged if your book doesn’t fly off the shelves and into people’s hearts. And you can’t start attacking and berating reviewers if they don’t love your book as much as you do. Going on the offensive only leads to a missile fight that you will inevitably lose, even if your missiles are bigger than the other guy’s.

As for the marketing, you can’t just leave it all up to the publisher either. You have to step in the game, get your hands dirty, your feet wet, and your teeth cleaned to have a dog in this fight. But that doesn’t mean you should take to the social networking stratosphere and Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and LibraryThing till you’re blue in the face, and your eyes are crossed from staring at your computer screen too long, while you’re up all hours of the night. So how should you choose what to do? Pick what you like. I know this can be a foreign concept for some people, because it sounds way too easy. Marketing is number crunching and analysis and hard work and understanding people, and it can be done effectively from the comfort of your own home. Just as it can be done effectively, if that’s your shtick, out in the real world at conferences and speaking engagements. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two. But in the end, it’s what works best for you.