Promoting a Novel

A Dreadful Task

I shared with my writer-friend Marcia Sargent that if I had known how much time I would spend writing and promoting my debut novel, I probably wouldn’t have embarked upon this journey. While I loved learning how to write and enjoyed the excitement of researching, networking, and uncovering little nuggets here and there, I find promoting is a task that I dread.

Every reference book and blog that I’ve read about book marketing recommends: Promote, Promote, Promote. A couple of years ago, I happened to catch Barbara Walters on her last appearance on The View, and she said the same thing. I remember thinking this advice would have been helpful when I worked in the corporate world. Believing my hard work would speak for itself, I remained silent while co-workers had no hesitation broadcasting their (smallest) accomplishments. Have you had this experience?

Something Special

Something special happened, and so far, I’ve only told a handful of people. Kirkus Reviews is a professional review organization, and their weekly Magazine is used as a reference for 5,200 industry professionals (librarians, publishers, agents, producers, directors, etc.). A few months ago, I posted on Facebook that Kirkus gave Busted a positive review. Nice. (FYI: not all Kirkus reviews are positive, and the author has the right to not have a negative review published.) What I haven’t shared is their Indie Editors selected Busted to be featured as one of their 35 recommended reads. Less than 10 percent of their book reviews are selected, so this is quite an honor.

Please notice the date on the cover. The magazine was published over a month ago, and I’m just sharing it now? Yes, I admit I must have some psychological defect. If you’re interested in reading the Kirkus Review, here’s the link:


I took a Webinar on how to get published novels into libraries. This is a time-consuming task, which involves contacting every library in the U.S. and asking them to please purchase Busted. While this is on my to-do list, my friend Kathy Popoff, unbeknownst to me, visited two libraries—the Palos Verdes Library and the Los Angeles Public Library. Based on her request/recommendation, they added Busted to their inventory. THANK YOU, KATHY!

Reader’s Reviews

What I have also learned is that reader’s reviews are extremely important, which is why I’ve asked/begged/pleaded with friends/family/acquaintances to please post one. As of this blog, I have 37 reviews (THANK YOU!) on Amazon, and none on Goodreads or Barnes and Noble. Receiving 5-stars on Amazon triggers an internal algorithm, which automatically promotes my book: i.e., “Other readers have also purchased Busted.” For awhile Amazon was promoting A Gentleman in Moscow next to Busted. (They’re completely different genres, and I have no idea why Amazon coupled them.)

Book Bloggers

Through my research I discovered there are bloggers who specialize in specific genres and have thousands of followers. I’ve been an avid reader all my life and never knew about these people. So far, I’ve submitted Busted to half a dozen bloggers, and have been accepted by two—I received a fabulous review from Arya Fomonyuy of Reader’s Favorites (it’s on my website book page; and a lady in the UK is now reading Busted. Every week I find another blogger and request a review. If you’re interested in receiving recommendations, google Book Bloggers, identify your favorite genre, and subscribe.

Social Media

Of course, all advice includes using social media. Before I published, I rarely posted on Facebook; I was a FB “lurker”—I enjoyed reading other’s posts, but felt too shy to share. I’m slowly getting better. Last night I noticed a writer-friend, Diana Wentworth had posted this:


So Simple. So Easy. So Elegant. So Diana.

I also have an author page: If you have a chance, please “Like” both.

Indie Author Day

In October, libraries across the U.S. will host Indie Author events to promote non-traditional publications. On Saturday, October 14th, I’ll be at the Anaheim Central Library (500 W. Broadway) from 1 to 4 p.m., along with a half-dozen of my wonderful writer-friends, selling and autographing our books. The public is invited to view a panel discussion from 1 to 2 p.m., then attend a Book Fair from 2 to 4 p.m. This is something I swore I’d never do because my handwriting is atrocious and painful. If you can, stop by—I’d love to see a friendly face, and I’ll recommend some excellent books. (P.S. Anaheim Library also carries Busted.)

Promoting Feels Like Selling

Even though I retired a few years ago, promoting feels like selling and I feel as if I’m in the business world again. Full disclosure: I’m not afraid of success. On the contrary, I set multiple records selling conceptual, intangible products and services, won numerous awards, and loved being an international business consultant. I’m proud of my first novel, so why is promoting Busted such an emotional challenge?

Before this blog becomes my next novel, it’s time to end. What are your thoughts about promoting yourself/products/services? Experiences? Do you have a magic secret? I love hearing from you.

Warmest Regards,                                                                                                                                           Michele                                                                                                                                                               Author, Busted                                                                                                                                                                                

5 thoughts on “Promoting a Novel”

  1. Millie PaulMillie Paul

    Enjoyed reading your latest blog, Michele. You are doing more than 99% of the authors who get a book published. As Obi Wan said, “Have patience, young Jedi.”

  2. Tina Hogan GrantTina Hogan Grant

    Hi Michele, I feel your pain! I truly believe that Writing the book was the easy part! As you know my book will not be launched until sometime early next year but I am already promoting. Seems I am lost in the world of the internet with blogs, social media of all kinds and researching. The list goes on and on. Now that my family has returned home after an enjoyable one month’s visit I can return to reading “Busted” So far I am loving it! and will be happy to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads when I am finished. Maybe even have you as a guest author on my site? Great review by “Kirkus” too, you should be feeling extremely proud 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  3. Laura BLaura B

    Michele –
    I did have that same co-worker experience with folks who crowed about every little thing they did no matter how trivial it seemed. being an introvert blowing my own horn has never been a place of comfort for me. However, there times when I was very proud of something I had found particularly challenging, and made sure I at least let my boss know. I was careful to actually say that I had found the task difficult and that I was proud for having overcome the difficulty and was able to find success. Mind you this did not happen often but it did happen enough to make a difference in my ability to advance in a very satisfying role, higher pay and an overall better retirement situation.

    Maybe instead of stressing abut not doing enough or doing too much to promote your book you could try the elevator speech approach. When you are introduced to someone who doesn’t yet know you (and especially if the person doing the introduction mentions you as an author) you could say something like “how very nice to meet you. Are you a reader?”If they respond in the positive you can then say “I sure hope you will find the time to read my first novel, I am so hoping to develop an on going reader base for my future works when they completed”. That way you are not asking them to read or to buy you are just hoping that they do. It might make you feel just slightly different about the interaction and less like you are begging for attention. Hope that thought helps. Best LB

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