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  • MJ Carter

Promotion Can Be Fun

No way, right? A few weeks ago, I would have agreed. I love to write, but dislike the need to 'explain' it in those dreaded summaries and proposals. After all, writing is creative. Selling one's writing can be hard work.

My first novel with The Wild Rose Press got released at a time of upheaval in my life—not to mention the holiday season. Perhaps these sound like excuses. They very well could be from someone like me who groans at the 'serious task' side of writing. I often think of those golden days when big publishers sent a good number of authors on all-expenses paid book tours. Hotels, meals and beverages, promo tables at the bookstore all set up. Nice. Even nicer was the fact that top publishers had the handle on media promotion. This made it possible for writers to keep on writing. What a 'novel' concept.

One month after my book's debut, the glaring truth was right before my eyes. My daughters and my closest circle of friends bought my book. Beyond that, no one had a clue it was out there. While I can't pin down the proper estimated numbers, there's somewhere around 4000 new books released every day. 4000. That's staggering. Unless someone is searching for exactly what my story is about—(and I'm guessing few readers are Googling: Lafayette, America, 1825, sisters, sweet and gentle romance, etc.,)—they're never going to find me. And darn it all, because my story is good. The other factor in all of this is that my publisher has put time, effort, and money into my book. I owe them some effort in return.

Nights after work, I researched avenues to get my story known. These avenues held a number of dead-ends. Many of these opportunities cost money. Some, a great deal of money. For one such 'opportunity', I had to sell 200 books to break even. A gamble, one could say—a gamble that could pay off. But there was an inner voice telling me that it was wrong to dish out big bucks for a minimal word count review. Maybe I'm the only one out there with that conviction, and I'll someday change my mind. But I moved on. Now here's the fun part.

Instead of recognized reviewers, promotional firms, and influencers, I started searching for people who like the kind of elements I've woven in my story. Rules of Engagement is a lighthearted comedy about a New Hampshire village preparing and presenting a pageant for the last surviving general of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette. I'm now connecting with historians, librarians, educators, and museum curators. In other words, I'm communicating with like-minded people who are actually reacting to my request and offering a hand. How nice is that!? Best of all, during my research, I'm learning about how great these people are, and how interesting their passions are.

So, that's my revelation for today. It's time to get back to the real work which, thankfully, just got a whole lot more rewarding.

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