Kate's Blog

Latest Thoughts on all things Agatha

19 March 2024

An Independent Streak Is Admirable, but Partnering Makes All the Difference

Author Observations

An Independent Streak Is Admirable, but Partnering Makes All the Difference

I work hard on my book marketing, alone with my laptop, and I used to feel my efforts were fairly effective. I had no idea what I was missing.

This book isn’t my first, so I already had an author “platform” set up from my earlier publishing efforts. Sure, it was a little dusty, but I freshened everything and cranked up the marketing machine, starting with news releases, social media posts, blog writing – everything that one can do without actually talking to real live people.

Does this sound familiar to any writers out there?

Fortunately for me, I have a very outgoing spouse. He cannot fathom my reluctance to pick up the phone and talk to a human being, but he acknowledges my shortcomings and has taken it upon himself to fill the void.

This is absolutely the best kind of partner when you have introvert tendencies. Talking to strangers isn’t impossible for me, but I’d rather try every other option first which is, at best, time-consuming, and at worst, entirely unfruitful. 

So while I worked on a “Poirot” presentation to generate interest, my husband/partner contacted libraries and soon had me lined up for a number of gigs. Most were unpaid, but some had honorariums, and all allowed me to sell books. My library partners did their own promotions while I promoted these events on my website, in my newsletters, and on my social media platforms. I also made sure to tag the hosts and comment on any of their social media posts. I even submitted news releases to local news outlets.

As I grow more comfortable with presenting, it gets easier to stay calm before an event so I can chat with people as they arrive. Frankly, having my extrovert husband by my side is a huge asset, making me feel like I’m at any average networking event rather than thrust “onstage” as the main attraction.

Stage fright aside, I’m a big believer in presentations and author fairs. Sure, there are times when an author won’t sell a lot of books or even get much of an audience, but other times, an author can make important connections.

Here’s a case in point: One of my “Poirot” presentations was attended by the prolific and award-winning mystery author Barbara Ross. She is a member of a marketing partnership with five other authors who run a blog called The Wickeds. This is an extremely active blog with posts every day, which is a lot even for six writers, so they also invite guest bloggers. And Barbara invited me!

The Wickeds have a smooth-running system with scheduled dates, guidelines, and social media sharing. When my post appeared, I was delighted to see how many people commented! I responded to 27 different comments, some more than once when there was a reply. I saw a boost in followers on my own social media platforms, an increase in my newsletter sign-ups, and even a few book sales. It also gave me fodder for my own social posts and for this blog article. It was a great partnership for me – and I did my best to make it reciprocal.

Remember when “it takes a village” was a popular phrase? Getting your book into the hands of readers also takes a village – of partners. Partners who know people you don’t know and who have skills you don’t have. Even though many of us revel in being “indie” authors, the truth is that partners help us reach heights we struggle to reach on our own.

Even though I’m not new to publishing, I learned a new and valuable lesson. Now to go out and build more partnerships!

(If you missed it, my blog post on The Wickeds website was “Reading Christie Like a Flapper.”)

Photo by Alexey Wineman

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Annotator Kate Gingold

Kate Gingold

... has been a huge fan of the works of Agatha Christie her entire adult life. Christie's vivid descriptions of picturesque English life in the early-to-mid twentieth century fascinated Kate, but many of the people and places were unfamiliar to her. A writer herself, as well as a researcher and historian with several local history books to her credit, Kate began a list of these strange words and set out to define them. Now, Christie fans like you and all those who come after will be able to fully enjoy the richness of Agatha Christie novels with their own copy of Agatha Annotated.

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