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Scorecard for Horizons Past Promotion

When I decided to launch a Blog and Forum, ,to offer my first novel, in free serialized form, I also created a promotional package to help jump start it. The package included a paid ad on the front page of Publishers Lunch, videos on, press releases through free article sites like Ezinearticles, emailing to my list, promoting on this PM Blog, “Read It and Weep,” and shouting from the rooftop. I also added Adsense ads and affiliate ads to the blog to help pay for the cost and time involved.

The question I’m asked most often is, “Why would you do that?” The short answer is “visibility.” But it’s a more complex proposition than just that publishers and their editorial and marketing staffs are eaten up with the concept that author visibility is more important than content and quality of writing. After twenty years of newspaper and periodical writing, I believe people (including my agent) when they tell me I’m a good writer, even though I strive everyday to get better. But on any given day, my writing is what it is, and I can’t dial it up to greatness.

So what’s left? Well, visibility! There is one other issue, though. The Blog,, also shows prospective publishers that I’m aware of the importance of contributing to the marketing my book; that, oh, by the way, I’m good at it; and just how far I willing to go to get it done. That’s what is all about.

I just uploaded Chapter 13 of Horizons Past, and it’s time to take stock of the project and see if it’s all worth it. Here’s the score sheet up to today:

1) I have editor manuscript requests for both my novels – Horizons Past and Vamonos!

2) Reading the chapter posts does not require registration so it’s hard to know how many readers there are. Adsense reports over 2,000 page views per month.

3) There are about 200 registered in the Forum.

4) I get more emails than I get comments in the Forum, and readers seem to like the book.

5) I’ve gotten what I feel are some good suggestions for the book.

6) Since Horizons Past is based on movie making, I have the good fortune of having a Hollywood production designer reading the book and commenting on the accuracy of my movie making scenes.

7) This Blog, “Read It and Weep,” now fairly regularly pops up in the PM Top Ten Blogs.

8) I have one newspaper interview on this fairly unique approach coming out this week and the promise of another newspaper article soon.

So is it worth it? Until some innovative forward thinking editor buys one of my damn books, it’s hard to say. But, yes, I think it’s worth it.

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Comment by Bill Stephens on March 14, 2007 at 8:53pm
Shirley, There many instances of writers who self publish and still have their book picked up by a publishers. In the case of serializing my book on a blog, the total number of those who read it from the blog compared to the potential readership if its publsihed is small.
Comment by shirley dicks on March 14, 2007 at 5:15pm
If you post the whole book, chapter by chapter, how can you sell it. If people can read the whole thing from beginning to ending, they won't spend the money to buy a copy.

I'd thought of putting a few chapters up on my website but I haven't done it yet.....I did put the prologue up on my life story though.... but that was just this week so not sure how that will go or if people will click on it to read it....
Comment by John Kremer on March 14, 2007 at 1:26pm
Thanks for the great story and report. I hope it gets other authors thinking about what they can do online marketing their books.

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