In the world of social media and digital marketing, I am a dinosaur. I can be found on Instagram by a growing number of followers, and I piddle around on Facebook, but ask me to download images to my website or generate an Facebook author’s page, and I freeze.
Now, as I await the TouchPoint Press publication of my new mystery, “The Miner’s Canary,”
and excitedly craft a historical novel that has me on the edge of my seat, I am aware that my
digital shortcomings must be addressed; that dragging myself into the 21st century is a must, even for someone who wrote her first book on a Smith Corona typewriter. (Confession: if I ever again had to write without the glorious gift of cut and paste, there would never have been a second!) But the fact is that twenty-odd years ago, I did write six mysteries and two non-fiction books – all published by traditional publishers (there were no hybrids then, and self-publishing was mostly snubbed.) Two were optioned for film, one was published in nine languages by Reader’s Digest, several were ‘blurbed’ by best-selling authors, and most were sold for large-print and European editions. I still receive royalties on two of them.
So, I must have done something right – and what I did right, I think, was market the hell out of them, not by going online or tapping on a cell phone – unavailable options, then! – but by putting my shoe leather on the sidewalk.
Most people, I discovered, love to hear writers talk! I probably spoke to 200 women’s clubs,
service clubs, church groups, book clubs, all of whom I contacted by letter (no email then,
either!), most of whom happily accepted my offer and all of whom purchased books.
I contacted – and appeared at – 40 or 50 bookstores, libraries, and Army/Navy bases.
I taught one-day writing seminars at several community colleges, all of which carried my books in their bookstores. I lined up radio interviews, newspaper features, even a couple of TV morning show interviews, all by ‘selling’ editors and producers on some correlation between current events and something in my book’s subject matter.
And while the world has changed mightily in the years since my first book was published, six of my early mysteries – three by Barbara Pronin and three under my aka, Barbara Nickolae – (long story, that!) are now being re-published with new covers and are popping up one by one on Amazon and most other platforms. (Yes, that’s a hint. You can find them there.)I am doing my best to learn my way around digital and social media. But you can bet your
bottom royalty dollar that when “The Miner’s Canary” is published, I will shine up that shoe
leather to market it the old-fashioned way: by engaging upfront and personal with as many
potential booksellers – and book buyers! – as well as take me up on my offer.
It worked then. It will work now. For you as well as for me!
Barbara Pronin is currently working on a historical novel set in World War II Amsterdam. A former journalist and news editor, Barbara Pronin has written six adult mysteries and two non-fiction books as well as hundreds of magazine articles and executive speeches. iner’s Canary,” is under contract to Touchpoint Press. She is currently working on a historical novel set in World War II Amsterdam.