To promote or not to promote--that is the question.
Of course, you must promote. How else will you be able to let the world know that you have created a page-turning masterpiece? So the answer to the question is "Promote!"
However, the bigger question is when is promotion too much promotion? Where do you draw the line between promoting and writing? When I signed my first contract and held my first book in my hands, all I could think about was promotion. I joined every single yahoo group I heard about and signed up for every single chat on any of the loops that I could participate in.
I created this blog. I created a My Space. I created a new website.
But soon, the glow wears off. What do you write about on your blog day after day after day? How often do you "update" your website to create interest? How many dang chats can you participate in...especially when you see the same names over and over and over. And then you go to the chats and find yourself chatting with other authors. The same ones who are also promoting in this time slot.
You give away items. In order to give away, you have to...you guessed it...buy!
What is your return? What is the best way to promote?
In getting caught up in the promotion angle, I lost writing time. Since I work full time, after dinner I sit at the computer. Then I've got to check all the stats, answer millions of emails (well, maybe I'm exaggerating) a little. I put my groups on digest. That made it hard to keep up with what was happening, plus even harder to respond. All my time was sucked up in activities that had nothing to do with writing.
I'm taking a good hard look at what it is I want to accomplish. In doing so, I will have to make some hard decisions about promotion. I think I've just about reached the point of giving up on the email loops. I will keep those few that are important to me but not the other ones where the same things keep being posted over and over--other writers trying to keep the word out about their novels.
In order to build a fan base, one must continue to produce novels. So, I'm trusting in my local writing chapter to help me with booksignings and events where I can promote myself as a local author. And I'm going to write more. If I don't, I'll never keep up with my goals for this year.
So how about you? How do you balance promotion with your writing, your real life, and family? What have you found to be effective in promotions?