Three Ways Promotion Has Helped Me Write My Next Book by Laurie London

Three Ways Promotion Has Helped Me Write My Next Book

 By Laurie London 

Promoting my first book (which included a 35+ stop blog tour where I answered interview questions, wrote articles, and interacted with readers) taught me a lot about the writing process and what readers want to know about my books.

Whether your stories have been published or not, thinking about your book in terms of how you’d promote it can help you write the next one. Or help you figure out what needs tweaking in the current one. Or help you land an agent. Or help you sell it to a publisher.

1. You learn to convey what makes your characters and story interesting to readers.

Getting asked to describe your main characters is a fairly standard question. However, interviewers and blog readers aren’t looking for the basic hair color/eye color answers. They want to know what makes your characters tick.

Because you can’t be too spoilerish on a blog for people who haven’t read your book yet, you become good at explaining things on a high level.

Being able to describe your characters succinctly and in a compelling manner will hopefully cause someone to go out and buy your book, or it can help sell your story to agents and editors in your pitches and query letters.

Can you describe your character in a compelling manner using only a few sentences? What would a reader find interesting about him or her? What is his goal, motivation and backstory? What is his frame of mind when the story opens? 

2. You learn how to identify and make use of compelling character-themes and tones.

On several blogs, I was asked to use three words to describe my hero. Sure, I could’ve said, “vampire, dark-haired, handsome,” but that’s totally boring. It’s not compelling, nor would it cause readers of the blog to sit up and take notice. I needed to dig deeper.

If you can put a finger on what it is you’re drawn to about your character, you can capitalize on subtle details that will make him or her come alive on the page.

I love heroes who are “haunted” and “seductive” and “mysterious,” and so do a lot of other readers. In my current story, I’m looking for areas to explore these character-themes—not only in how I describe him, but also in how I want the reader to feel and the tone I want to convey. “Mysterious” to me connotes danger, wariness and excitement, so those are emotions I might try to wrench from a particular scene. 

I’ve been asked for my story in two sentences, three words to describe my character, a six word character memoir, and my story premise in Tweet length (140 characters). 

Talk about getting rid of the fluff! But in doing so, it helps you to see what’s really important.

3. Determining your inspiration can help your story resonate with readers.

This is a common interview question: What was your inspiration? Again, I couldn’t give this totally boring answer: Because I like vampires.

So I examined what is it about vampires that I’ve found so compelling for such a long time—books, movies, television shows, costumes, etc. My sister reminded me that, back in high school, we watched the vampire movie Fright Night eight times in a row when it came out. Talk about obsessed!

I asked myself, what is it that keeps me coming back? Why do I find vampires so seductive and alluring?

Now, when a tone or a scene doesn’t seem quite right in a story I’m working on, I go back to these basics of what attracts me as a reader and it really helps. 

You can also concentrate on your turning points. Why did you decide to set this major happening in this certain location? Or what was the inspiration behind XYZ happening in the first place? Then, capitalize on it.

 I wrote a blog article about the cemetery I used for the inspiration of the first scene of the book. That in depth exploration (no, the article was short, but writing it caused me to think further) helped me to examine the setting choices in my current story. I often find myself asking what is the mood and emotion I want to convey via the setting.

 So that’s it. Well, actually, I’ve learned other writing lessons in the course of promoting my book, but I thought I’d stop at three.

In a tip of the hat to our resident scientist Marie-Claude (as well as my daughter who is doing a massive science experiment in school right now), whenever you can boil things down to their essential elements, it helps you to understand them better. Effective promotion forces you to do exactly that. 

I would like to give a signed copy of BONDED BY BLOOD to one lucky commenter in the US or Canada.

Bonded By Blood

Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, two vampire coalitions battle for supremacy—Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors.  

Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she’s cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations—vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.

For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him—and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her

A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie London  writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.  

She is a member of Romance Writers of America®, Greater Seattle Area RWA, RWAOnline, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, FF&P (RWA chapter devoted to all things paranormal), and two book clubs.  

When not writing, she can be found running, reading, or riding and showing her horse. Someday she hopes to qualify for the Quarter Horse World Show – that is, if her horse doesn’t get hurt again.

10 Responses to Three Ways Promotion Has Helped Me Write My Next Book by Laurie London

  1. Marketing seems to force you to distill all the information about your book down to a few words that pack a powerful punch. In doing so, we also learn to weed out the extra stuff we load into our writing. By concentrating on the parts that we’ve identified as being truly important, we’ve found what to draw out in our pages. Thanks for the post. Gives me something to really think about as I’m wading through edits and re-writes!

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  2. Fantastic insights, Laurie! I really enjoyed your post and it’ll certainly think more about how and why I’m putting things into the story I’m currently working on.

    Theresa Meyers

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  3. Christy Farris says:

    I think so many times we are so focused on writing like a writer, that we forget about being readers. This has really given me the incentive to go back and look at my works in progress as a reader and not just a writer.
    Thanks!!

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  4. Stacey, yes, that’s it exactly! You’re distilling (I love that word) your message down to sound bites and it helps you see what’s really important about your story.

    Theresa, thanks! I’ve often been reminded of what I learned from you in your branding/promotion class. It was invaluable and caused me to examine the takeaway message in my stories.

    Christy, right on! I’m learning that’s what successful authors do–they think in terms of their readers. For instance, today we’re working on the back cover copy of my 3rd book, and I’ve asked myself these same questions. What will readers find really compelling about these characters and the conflict? And it must be punchy and succinct.

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  5. Wow! a 35 stop blog tour. That’s huge. I agree that blogging and answering questions helps you think about your characters and writing. My latest blog tour for <ahref="Streets on a Map" was only 7 plus an interview. It was a lot of fun and thought provoking though.

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  6. jbrayweber says:

    Wow, Laurie. I never thought of, as Stacey said, distilling my characters and stories in this manner. To me, it seems doing this would also help when writing the dreaded synopsis. Boiling it down to the elements that draws me to my heroes, heroines and the settings totally makes sense. Not only that, you’ve given awesome examples.

    Thanks so much, Laurie. It’s not often I’m given new insight.

    BTW – I, too, have a cemetery that I draw inspiration from. 🙂

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  7. StacieDM says:

    I find it interesting that your blog tour helped you understand how to be a better writer. I suppose when you get asked the same questions over and over you are forced to analyze the choices you made when writing the book. Thankfully you survived your blog tour and learned a few lessons about yourself as a writer along the way.

    Do you feel you will do another blog tour as aggressive as this one or do you think it won’t be necessary for the second book? After all, the first book will create a fanbase that will only grow before the second book is released. Just curious 😉

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  8. Interesting question, Stacie. I’ve got some tight deadlines that may preclude me from spending as much time on a blog tour for the next book. But I do enjoy talking with people I would’ve never met otherwise and I’ve been getting some wonderful feedback, so we’ll see. Plus, I keep in touch with many of the bloggers. If they invite me to come on again with book 2, I doubt I’ll be able to say no. 🙂

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  9. Thanks, Jenn! Glad you found it helpful. Yes, it’s the same skill set you use when you write a synopsis.

    Yay for cemeteries as inspiration!

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  10. treena74 says:

    Thanks for the insight ladies, I am not a US or other resident just an Aussie but I have been following your blog hop Laurie !! love the cover and the interviews you have been doing !!! cant wait to read your book 😉 and good luck with your first book Im sure it will be fantastic !!!!
    Has the blog tours been successfull ? in the way that you had hoped I noticed their was a lot of visits and thats how I found you !!!
    kat via facebook
    kittee_cat@bigpond.com
    😉

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