Always and Forever

That’s not the answer to the question: “How long will Neal talk if you give him a chance?”

Well, it is the answer to that question, but it’s also the answer to this question: “How long should I promote a newly published book?”

 But for Indie authors, I’ve noticed the opposite trend.  They’re like the American Quarter Horse; they’re quick out of the gate, but then slow down dramatically.  Most authors are on fire the first three months after a new release, bombarding Facebook and other social media and professional online outlets, hitting up Indie bookstores and local markets, searching out schools, libraries, and book fairs, and mounting reviews, interviews, articles, and other accolades.

During the next three months, much less energy is spent, and by the end of the first year, it’s as if they forgot themselves that they had published a book.

I used the analogy before that publishing a book is like having a child.  It can be disappointing and heartbreaking at times, but other times it can be the most rewarding thing in your life.  But no matter what happens, it should always be your baby.  Everyone you know or come into contact with should know the pride you feel with it being your very own because you’re convinced it’s the best one out there.

I have a friend who published a book 25 years ago and not a day goes by that he doesn’t promote that book 12 times a day on Facebook.  I met him two decades ago in a gym.  I was lifting weights and he walked right up and said, “Hi, I’m Joe Smith, I wrote Cup-o-Joe.”  The name and title are fictional, but the events happened just that way.

And he still talks about it to everyone he meets and recently talked himself into a PBS interview, which just aired a few weeks ago.  I doubt anyone even thinks of his name without thinking of his book.  “Oh, you’re Joe Smith, author of Cup-O-Joe.”

Yes, maybe it annoys some people.  Maybe some people wish he could stop talking about his book for two seconds and talk about politics, religion, the weather, sports, or tell a joke or two, but that’s not who he his.  He’s an author and there’s no mistaking that fact.

I can always spot the authors who haven’t tried everything by this statement, “I’ve tried everything.”  It’s not really possible.  It’s like saying, “I counted the stars.”

Years ago in corporate America, I remember one motivational seminar where the instructor asked everyone to stand with their feet shoulder width apart, point their arm and finger forward, then twist at the waist as far as they could and mark the spot on the wall with their finger.  After everyone did this, the instructor said, “Now do it again, and this time see how far past your mark you can go.”

All of us were amazed to learn that we really could twist around a lot more than we thought.  After everyone confessed that they had been able to go much farther the second time, the instructor then asked the pertinent question, “Why didn’t you go that far the first time?”

Yeah, why didn’t we?

Neal Wooten, Publisher/Indie Author/Illustrator/Cartoonist

Managing Editor; Mirror Publishing, Milwaukee, WI,
Author of Reternity,


Posted by on July 17, 2012. Filed under Books,Business,Neal Wooten. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

31 Responses to Always and Forever

  1. Darcie Mae

    July 18, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Nice Neal. You have said a lot here. I try to get people to go to my website and see my book most everyday. I get frustrated sometimes, but I know I am supposed to write. I will keep pushing my website and books, and try harder.
    Darcie Mae
    Author of the Mother Mouse series of children’s books, and the Sammy & Robert series of childrens books.
    I am working with an agent to try to get more of my stories recognized. I have over 70 single titles, and more series titles.
    My stories should be in children’s hands and not sitting on my shelf getting dusty.
    Push and push harder.
    Maybe they will get recognized.

  2. Irma Jacobs Tirro Author of The Lonely Snowflake and It's Almost Friday

    July 18, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Excellent article. Most of us belong to several organizations and need to use the time to promote our books in a way that does not detract from the purpose of the meeting. It can be done and many times is successful. Plus, they will tell other about the book.

  3. Dianna Skidmore, author of "Can You Be Like Me?"

    July 18, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Well Neal, you did everything to point a finger at me except list my name! You are so right, I am a published author and need to get giggy and promote my book till the cows come home! Thanks for the push in the right direction…Di

  4. Very good article, Neal. I’ve been keeping at it. I recently launched my new website,

    I hope everyone checks it out!

  5. Tim Balderramos

    July 18, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Good point. I still try to make an effort to get copies of my book out there.

  6. Maranda Russell

    July 18, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Great article Neal. I am kind of the opposite of this though lol. When my first picture book “Ode to Icky” came out I could barely do any promotion because of taking care of my dying grandfather. When he passed away in March I was able to start promoting and have built up steam ever since then! With my 2nd book now coming out, it will be interesting trying to juggle marketing for both books!

  7. Concetta M Payne

    July 18, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Neal, your comments were very motivating and right on point. I always have a book on hand along with my business cards regardless of where I am. But, as you mentioned we must keep focused on our never ending marketing strategies. As for facebook, at the beginning it was a great way to promote one’s book(s), but then my feelings changed. Your article made me realize that on facebook some people leave, but new people join. That being said, I’m going back to doing my thing. I’m proud of my “BoBo the Race Car” series and “Bess the Book Bus.” Thank you again Neal for your encouraging comments.

  8. corey colombin

    July 18, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Good point, Neal. I’m as guilty as charged at not promoting my work. Although, I did strike up a conversation on an airplane this weekend and managed to slip it in. The lady next to me wrote down everything so she could order the book.

    Great advice as always.

    Corey Colombin
    Author of Confessions of a Coffee Slinger
    Author & illustrator of Eli Ate a Fly, and Poor Me.

  9. Gina Maria Sanfilippo

    July 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Neal: Thanks for the motivating words. With just having my first book published last month I am still drowning in the newness of this world of published books. These articles that you write are really helpful and give me some ideas to ponder and some ideas to act on. Please keep it up. You are making a positive difference in the way I think and act. Author of “Jack The Husky Dog When Your Friends Parents Get Divorced”.

  10. Laura Marlowe

    July 18, 2012 at 8:36 am

    What a well-written gem of an article if ever there was one. Thank you for your insight, your outlook, and all that you do to inspire.

  11. Barbara

    July 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

    *hanging my head in shame* I so resemble this post.

  12. Sandra White

    July 18, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I really like this article, probably because I can personally relate to it so well. I do a terrible job of promoting myself and my “creations.” My husband often said I seemed to be “incapable of blowing my own horn.” And he was right–a holdover from being the shyest kid in the class, I guess. This article has reminded me I need to a better job of self-promotion. Humility isn’t always better than pride!

  13. I have to admit, I had no idea the work it would take to get my book out there. Sometimes it is the hardest part of being a novelist, and other times it is the “fun” part. I work it, I always carry business cards, books, bookmarks, post cards and other assorted promotional items with me at all times. And a pen!
    You should never pass up a chance to promote yourself and your work. But I have met people who don’t have a clue how to do it.
    I find the best way is word of mouth. At every book signing I have had, there is always an author who is newly published or is writing the next best seller. The first thing they ask me is how to promote their book.
    Joe is a smart guy. He knows people like to hear that about him. So he tells them! And they will like to hear that about you too! But it’s up to us to tell them!
    There are many, many different ways to promote your book using social media. You need to choose the best way, for you, and do it. I agree with what Neal said about being excited, it, like laughter, is contagious.

  14. Jerry Ellis

    July 18, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Good piece, Neal. Thanks for basing Cup of Joe on me. And in keeping with my PR: Dee Brown, author of the infamous book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, wrote this about my book, Walking the Trail: “Reading Jerry Ellis’s account of his modern-day trek along the old Cherokee Trail of Tears is better than receiving a series of letters from a perceptive, generous-hearted and imaginative traveler.” Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, quoted in Reader’s Digest and on display in the National Teachers Hall of Fame, the book is out in paperback and newly on Kindle. Take a FREE peek at Amazon.

  15. Jerry Ellis

    July 18, 2012 at 11:36 am

    wait, that wasn’t enough PR. Here’s some more and part of why the book has sold over 250,000 copies and now going strong on the new Kindle edition:

    Interview with Jerry Ellis, author of Walking the Trail on Chattanooga public TV station WTCI.

  16. Neal Wooten

    July 18, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Yes, Joe is Jerry Ellis. Did I mention how aggressive he is when it comes to promoting his book? Thanks, Jerry, for giving us a sample. lol

  17. Sandra Fishel Brandon

    July 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Good pep talk Neal. You gave me lots to think about. Thanks for your insights.

  18. Rebecca Fronzaglio

    July 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks again for such a wonderful article Neal. Your articles are always so educational and motivating. I could definately be doing more to promote my book. Thanks for reminding us to dust-off and get working again. We need reminding, at least I know I do.

  19. Rebecca Fronzaglio

    July 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Just watched Jerry’s interview. Wow! I could listen to him all day. What a story. Just loved it.
    Very touching. Sure hope everyone takes a few minutes to watch it and also purchase his book. Sounds like a marvelous read and gift.

    • Jerry Ellis

      July 20, 2012 at 4:40 am

      Thank you, Rebecca, for watching the PBS interview and saying kind things about it and my book, Walking the Trail. My next book, Ciao From Roma! Spring in the Eternal City of Love, will be out on Kindle in August. I live in Rome every spring and fall for 11 years now. Best of luck with all your writing projects.

  20. Sharon Farmer

    July 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Neal is always so encouraging. When he said, “your book should always be your baby” I actually thought that Neal makes a great “dad” for his authors, too.
    I am 60 years old and don’t have much money nor time, but I do have time to encourage others who always tell me they’d like to write a book, listen to others who tell me to try harder to make another or accommodate others who ask for another copy! SIGHTS I SEE WITH MY DESERT LEMON TREE was published in 2009 and I just sold another one last week. I’ve also greatly enjoy meeting other Mirror authors and trading our books. Share your dreams and talents! Thanks Neal.

  21. Lisa Sarver

    July 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks for the inspirational article. The self-promotion of Jerry (a.k.a. Joe) is a great case in point. Jerry Ellis is in the business of selling “Jerry Ellis” and he just used Neal’s article to promote himself and his book. Way to market Jerry! Let’s all take a cue and have a “cup-o-that”.

    • Jerry Ellis

      July 20, 2012 at 4:41 am

      Thank you, Lisa!

  22. Darlene Winter, author of I Remember Samson

    July 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    You really know your stuff. You’re timeline is right on. I’ve let other things get in my way. Thanks for the kick.

  23. Paula Parente, Author of "Annie's Amethyst" and "Rosalind's Rose Quartz"

    July 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks Neal, a great reminder to keep plugging away and not give up!

  24. Kevin Hall

    July 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Nice article, Neal. I enjoy reading your stuff–particularly “How to Write Good.” That was hysterical and brilliant! I want to validate your perspective with a couple of thoughts.

    Once I finished reading this piece, I drew an analogy between an author of a single but memorable book, and some of the songs of various 80′s bands that were identified as “one-hit-wonders.”

    Imagine yourself asking someone if they remember that song “Whip it” by DEVO. “That was cool wasn’t it?” “What other songs did you like from DEVO?” “Oh, you’ve never heard of them?“

    Nothing else DEVO wrote, performed, or produced matters because that one tune, their “baby,” helped define an entire generation and genre of music. “New Wave” came, conquered, and stayed for many years.

    To conclude, I want to make a play on Dr. Seuss’s words from “Horton Hears a Who”, an artist is an artist no matter how small. If you create one song, book, painting, etc, that defines you, provides an identity, and brings so much joy to others, it’s rightfully your baby and you should be proud.

  25. Lonnie McKelvey

    July 20, 2012 at 7:47 am

    So true-we can all learn from this.

  26. Just as my frustration was about to smother me, I realized, as Neal says, giving up shouldn’t be an option. So I sent out a few more comp. copies of Daddy’s Gone. Several days later, I received an unsolicited, fantastic “review” of it, from a national organization of grief counselors. They offered to post the review on their blog. So, every step, no matter how small, does count!

  27. Alicia Freitas

    July 21, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Well… I guess it’s time for me to finish my website I’ve started to promote my 3 books. I’ve been so wrapped up in my kid’s lives, summer vacation, reading …blah blah…My name should have been in that article. I was just telling my husband that I’ve been in “Writer’s FOG”. Your article has given me that “LIFT” I needed! Thanx Neal! ;o)

  28. This is so true! I’ve even found myself falling into a rut and it’s hard not to do that. Thanks for the inspirational words, Neal.
    p.s. You don’t keep talking Forever, do you? Because if so, thanks for promoting The Lands of Forever!!! XD

  29. Becca Mills

    July 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

    This is very good advice, Neal. The “first three months” syndrome might be due to marketing exhaustion, but it could also be a hold-over from how marketing works in traditional publishing. If your trad-pub book isn’t selling after three months, forget it — it’s been packed up and returned to the publisher. Thus the big early push, followed by nothing. But with indie books (both ebooks and POD), the product isn’t completing for physical shelf space and can hang around forever. Thus a very long-term marketing plan is a good idea.

    That said, spamming your Fb friends and Twitter followers about your book is not a productive approach to social-media marketing.

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