Friday, January 22, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Committee - and yet...

We’ve talked before on this blog about the importance of promotion even when you aren’t quite published. The reason for this is simple and yet not so: it’s been said that agents and editors are “googleing” people more and more when they consider taking their work. A huge chunk of an author’s job goes into the promotion of their own books. Any publisher worth their salt will assist in this but more and more it’s on the author including the time involved and the cost (I’ve heard more than one published author advise that if you get an advance, use it for promotional costs cause you’ll need it). Only it’s hard when you don’t yet have a product to promote that so what is a pre-published newbie to do? Why get involved of course.

As a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) there are no shortage of opportunities to get involved both with the national organization as well as the local and online chapters. In my local chapter I have been a co-chair for our big conference as well as a volunteer at the conference. I put myself up for election for the board. In my online chapter I’ve just volunteered to be the Publicity Chair. All these opportunities have and will put me face to face with some of the movers and shakers of my genre. When the time comes (and I have to believe that it will) if I need cover quotes or other publicity help, my hope is that the request won’t be met with “who are you again?” but with “oh yeah, Colleen was the (fill in the blank)”.

Cherry Adair, mentor extraordinaire, is fond of saying “Thou Shalt Not Committee” more for taking the time away from writing than anything. But writing is more than just sitting in front of a computer putting words on the pages – it’s advertising yourself, your voice and your ability to sell it when the time comes. And it’s not as easy as it looks – and while my writing time is precious little enough as it is, I also realize that it’s opportunities like answering the call to help published authors promote themselves that are going to be invaluable to my own future as a published author.


Sheila said...

You know, there's a name for this. It's called, "Helium Hand". As a fellow sufferer, I recognize the symptoms. :)

And yes, volunteering in a writing-related venue can be helpful. Hmm, and it's a great way for me to justify volunteering and helping out at local SF conventions!