Most of my promotional giveaways are things I’ve made because I have lots of craft materials lying around and because I enjoy making them. Plus, working on crafts gives me another creative outlet, especially when the writing part of my brain isn’t working so well. But what if you’re not into crafts? What if your creative talent lies in other directions? I asked several of my author friends to weigh in on low-cost ways that they market themselves and their books. One of the first people I approached – and the first to respond – was fellow Clean Reads author Jeff Salter, who writes romance as J. L. Salter.
Like most people our age, Jeff/J.L. is reluctant to dive into social media. But he’s definitely learned to use Facebook to cultivate a relationship with his readers. He has an author page on which he notifies us of his books and blog posts, but his regular profile includes little bits of wisdom that reflect his writing style and personality. He calls them his Possum Trot posts and they’re highly entertaining, so I asked him to share how he came about this idea and what it’s done for his writing:
Patty graciously invited me to explain what I do on my personal Facebook page to entertain and occasionally enlighten others… but which also (indirectly) promotes my writing career. By that last part, I mean if people become interested in what I have to say (whether humorous, thought-provoking, or newsworthy), I believe they’ll be more inclined to read what I’ve written and published.
Though I was reluctant to engage in FB, I finally relented in early 2009. At first I figured I didn’t have time for it and didn’t have much to “say” anyhow. But what I didn’t foresee was all the cool new friends and wonderful networking opportunities it has provided. I also worried that if I posted very often, it would somehow “drain the tank” of my creative writing. If anything, however, it has STIMULATED my creative wellspring.
After a few months of posting about things I’d seen or experienced (or thought about), I decided to give my FB readers a sense of where (geographically) I was coming from. I had retired in mid-2006 to acreage which has been in my wife’s family since about 1803. The name of the community around this land has (historically) been Possum Trot. That name also signified the down-home flavor of many of my posts. So it was logical to begin calling them Possum Trot Posts. As time went on, I added to the different TYPES of P.T. posts, by calling them P.T. Professor, P.T. Pundit… Psychs, Pets, etc. Not sure why I decided on alliteration, but there were others like, Protests, Puzzlements, Pondering, etc. Also, I had another series which began with T, as in P.T. Tunes, P.T. Tribute… Thanks, Trouble, etc. One of my favorite categories – which also typically generates interest and feedback – is P.T. Television. When I’ve seen part (or all) of a movie or TV show which caught my attention, I’ll provide a short critique.
At first, I assigned arbitrary numbers, to help identify these posts, but beginning in 2012, I started formalizing the numbering, as in Possum Trot Puzzlement (#12-001)… or P.T. Psychs (#12-568). Having begun with the worry that I’d have little to share with anyone, I found that last year (2014), I posted over 700 bits of Possum Trot wisdom or humor… and that does NOT count any of the FB posts I used to directly promote my novels, novellas, blogs, reviews, or whatever. [I had read the opinions of many experts who said people will stop reading your posts if you’re continually “selling”… and I’m inclined to agree.] I don’t have firm figures, but I’d estimate there weren’t more than about 100 “promotional” posts on my personal FB page in 2014… compared to those 700+ posts of general interest / entertainment. This year, I’m numbering all of my posts consecutively, regardless whether they’re general or promotional. It will be interesting to see how many I end the year with.