An acquaintance rushed up to me last year and said, “I didn’t know you had a new book out. You didn’t tell me!”
She’d already bought it, bless her, but it struck me how hopeless I am at all this promotional stuff. If someone who lives less than two miles from me doesn’t know, how can I expect people on different continents to find out about it? Part of the problem, I’m sure, is that I’m a shy retiring Brit. We don’t like to blow our own trumpets. Every time I mention a new release, I hear my mother saying in a sharp voice “Stop showing off, Shirley!”
I make a rare visit to Facebook and Twitter when I have a book coming out, and I let people know via my blog – and that’s it. I know from experience that if I contacted the local newspaper, they’d do a very nice piece on me and my books. What puts me off? The fact that I also know from experience that the local radio station would see it and get on the phone to me. Words can’t describe how much I hate being on the radio. I get so nervous I struggle to remember my own name never mind the titles of any books I’ve written.
The time aspect puts me off too. Social media, especially for people like me who can never think of anything interesting to say, is a huge time-suck. There are blog posts to be written, websites to be updated, newsletters to be sent out, a Facebook status to update frequently, tweets to hurl into the universe – aargh. I tell myself that I’d be better off spending that time writing. I also tell myself that Ruth Rendell isn’t on Facebook or Twitter. But then my inner voice replies with a sarcastic “She doesn’t need to be, she sells plenty of books without all that. No one’s heard of you…”
Love it or loathe it, writers have to promote themselves these days. So here goes…
In a fortnight, Dying Art, #5 in my Dylan Scott series, will be released and I’m determined to tell the whole world about it. Well, maybe not the whole world, but certainly you lovely people, and people who live near me. Wish me luck!
Portrait of a mystery
Dylan Scott vowed never to return to the dreary town of Dawson's Clough. But one visit from a beautiful ex-lover and he's back in Lancashire, investigating a possible murder. The police think Prue Murphy died during a burglary gone wrong, but her sister isn't so sure—and neither is Dylan. After all, the killer overlooked the only valuable thing in Prue's flat.
So who could have wanted the quirky young woman dead, and why? Dylan's search for answers takes him to France, where he discovers Prue's family didn't know her as well as they thought they did. And the more he digs, the more secrets he unearths—secrets someone would kill to keep buried…
(Coming to a device near you November 12. For more info, visit my website.)
How about you? Are you confident at selling stuff, including yourself, or are you a lost cause like me? More important perhaps, do you have any tips for those of us who’d rather hide under a stone?