Saturday, June 9, 2012

Awash with Promo

By Ayla Ruse (Guest Blogger)

First off, thank you, Lisabet, for having me here today. I enjoy your site and I’m honored to be here.

Today I want to talk about promotion. A tool every successful writer employs, to one degree or another. However, I’ve discovered this tool is not one size fits all. I’m going to share a little of my rocky road in promotion. After the post, I’d love to hear your own thoughts on the matter.

Before I became published last year, I’d heard about promotion. I knew about promotion through the magazines I read, the websites I visited and word-of-mouth. I knew, in a rose-colored-glasses sort of way, that once my books were published, I’d have to join in this heraldic event. My attitude was laissez-faire. In my own head, all I had to do was write a great book, people would talk (i.e. promo), and voila! Instant best-seller-dom.

Ahem. I’m still working on that part. I have no one to blame but myself and my own naivety.  As a newly published writer, even though I knew I had to do some kind of promo, I didn’t know how to go about it. I had a blog, and a friend posted a few bits for me on her blog, but that was about it.

So time goes by. I go about my business, have a few more books published, only this time, I’m beginning to learn. I get hooked up with Yahoo Groups. I follow a few more blogs. I respond to some “want promo ops?” that often show up.

I’m feeling good now. I’m learning the ropes. I’m meeting new writer friends and having a great time, but that’s not the end of the story. Even though I was already busy with these few promotional tools, it apparently wasn’t enough. The next thing I know, I’m being nudged to do Facebook. “C’mon, everybody’s doing it.” Yeah, okay, I capitulated and joined. All set, right? No. Twitter rears its head. “You have to Twitter,” flows through my inbox. Check this one off now. Am I good? Still, a no. Where’s your website? Newsletter? Triberr? Throw out a contest. Join Blog Hops. Give interviews. Take part in group promo (pause, breathe). Or, I’m even told, the way to go is to sign with a promotional company and paid advertising (but that takes money, I moan). Join the Likes and Tags parties, and, and…

Acckkkk! Hide me, please! Yes, I want people to know about my books. Yes, I want people to buy my stories. But at the end of the day, I learned I was simply too exhausted to do that one thing that drove my heart. Write.

I’d become so busy trying to keep up with “what’s new,” that my time for writing shrunk. My goal of having X-number of books out this year has diminished as a result. Strong lesson learned.

No, I’m not blaming anyone for this but myself. Like a kid in a candy store, some of these items I went to eagerly, again and again, while others, I just had to taste. But, like that same kid, I found out that too much candy can give you a bellyache. Or in my case, terrible headaches.

They say the first step in solving a problem is to admit to the problem. My particular problem, I wasn’t writing. Now, what to do? Well, I’m still learning my way through the infested waters of promotion. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t. What I like and what I don’t care to do. Every day, when I go to the internet, I have to know beforehand what my goal is. Do I want to goof-off? Do I want to focus on promo and if so, where and how? I make lists. Do I want to be social, to mix and mingle so others don’t think I’m some kind of weird writer recluse?

Wait a minute.

I want to be a recluse. After all, writers have to be reclusive as a rule. Okay, I’m sure there are those who could be surrounded by stampeding elephants and turn out stellar work, but those are the weird ones. *grin*

What’s the magic formula, then? I hate to say it, but I think it’s pretty much “whatever works for you.” No two authors are going to promo the same way, just as we don’t write the same way. My best friend makes a six figure income through her writing. Does she promo? Yes, but as it turns out, she does very little. What she does do, is write her butt off.

It’s easy, I think, to get sucked into the feeling that we have to do X or Y in order to sell more books. Hey, if you have the time to promo like crazy, and it works for you, more power to you! But for those of us whose time is already scrunched with EDJ, family, other responsibilities (yes, the dishes should be washed from time to time), or whatever else, we need to make the most of that time we do have. And use most of that time to write.

Finally, as I am writing about promotion, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of a presented, no-stress opportunity.

I have a recent release at Total-E-Bound that is packed with so much heat, intrigue and good versus bad that it has something for everyone. I’m talking about my erotic horror romance, The Fires of Beltane. In this novella, Natalie and William meet at an annual springtime festival, where, unknown to the participants, there is someone using the festival to exploit its darker history. This night will test Natalie and William’s attraction, but could it also cost them their lives?

The Fires of Beltane

By Ayla Ruse

What was supposed to be a celebration of life turns into a festival of fear...


Natalie shot up into a sitting position. A girl tripped over her legs and as Natalie steadied her, she asked,

“Did you hear that scream?”

The girl giggled and shook her head before grabbing Natalie’s head and squashing their lips together. After the huge smack, which was oddly pleasant, the girl pulled back and shouted, “Only the screams of pleasure!”

Then the girl jumped up and ran off.

Natalie sat still. The orchestrated sounds of the night, melodic just moments ago, now seemed disjointed.

She strained to listen—sure the scream she’d heard had been one of fear, not pleasure—but no other odd noise met her ears. Telling herself it must have been the sound of someone being taken by surprise, she shook her head and tried to calm her heart rate to find the happy place she’d just been.

Warm arms settled around her from behind and she jerked.

“Shh,” came his warm voice. “It’s only me.”

Strange, how only a few brief moments with this man made him seem like a lifeline to her now. He sat behind her and she leaned against his hard chest as he wrapped his arms around her.

“William,” she sighed. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

“I know. I would have been here earlier, but Jordan and I…well…”

“Is he your lover?” she asked, fighting the jealousy that threatened to rise.

He shrugged. “At times. Nothing serious, though. We tried that and it never worked out, so we use this night to…touch base, I guess you could say. Did seeing us together bother you?”

She shook her head. “Honestly, it turned me on. I’ve never seen two men make love before.”

Was it her imagination or did William seem to relax? “I hope you got a good show, then.”


The Fires of Beltane can be purchased from Total E-Bound (URL:

About Ayla

Handed a historical romance at the age of twelve, Ayla Ruse fell in love with love and with happy endings.  Having grown up living life tasting a little of this and a little of that has not changed this attitude, but it’s expanded her views.  Love isn’t always happy and it isn’t always the way a person “thinks it should be.”

Sometimes it’s outside the box, and it’s always a challenge. 

The challenge of finding and holding onto this love is what drives Ayla in her fiction.  She likes stories that strip love – among other things - down to the skin and tests the attachment and beliefs of the participants.  Sometimes that test can come in the form of multiple partners, overcoming a desperate fear or even being sexually inventive. 

Ayla is published with Total E-Bound and with Changeling Press. You can find out more about her and her books through her website at

Thanks again, Lisabet, for having me today. Guest spots such as these are refreshing.

~Ayla Ruse


Lisabet Sarai said...

Greetings, Ayla,

I know EXACTLY what you're talking about! I spend a lot more time than I really want doing promo, but it's a necessary evil. However, when it gets in the way of writing, it's TOO evil to be borne.

I don't do FB and I don't tweet. Most of my promo involves blogging, because a) I'm pretty good at it and b) it doesn't require a real time presence (I'm in a different time zone than most of my readers and also have days when I really can't check out Lisabet's stuff due to work pressures.)

I also occasionally purchase (cheap) cover or banner ads - but only when the review sites have specials!

The Fires of Beltane sounds delicious! I hope your sales eventually match your friend's.

Maggie Nash said...

Great post Ayla :-)

The best promo is always the next book I reckon. Something I'm struggling with at the moment - so until I get that sorted, I'm making sure people don't forget me LOL. Trust me though - once the books start to come in a more steady pace, it will be the writing that will be the promo tool.

Oh, and Fires of Beltane is on my Kindle waiting for me to get time to read!

Bellina said...

Great post, Ayla. I too almost had a screaming breakdown trying to keep up with the promo. I think you hit the nail on the head, everyone has to do what works for them. Try a little of everything, and if it doesn't feel right, move on to the next item on your list. Fires of Beltane sounds like a best seller; good luck to you!

Naomi Bellina

Sage Marlowe said...

An insightful post, Ayla!
I'm currently finding myself in much the same situation as you describe. My first book has just been released, and I'm still struggling to weed my way through all the different promo, networking and various other offers that cross my path - not to mention juggling my alter ego's life. The time I can take to really sit down with my laptop and focus on the next story is very limited, and I even find myself fighting tooth and claw for it occasionally.
However, so far it's fortunately the writing that keeps me from doing lots of promo, so I'm hoping that it's true about the best promo being the next book you publish!

Fires of Beltane sounds tempting, by the way! It's on my tbr list and I hope it's a step towards best seller-dom for you.


Word Actress said...

I'm with you! Promoting is all encompassing these days b/c it's all up to the author. I've been taking seminars about Building Your Business, which for me is my book(s) and my ability to teach/ talk writing.
I try to Guest Blog as often as I can and I put lots of energy into doing that, jut as you have done here. I've got a second book of stories Squinting Over Water coming out, hopefully in the next month. This time I'm going straight to ebook form which is it's own mystery to me!
According to these seminars, we're all supposed to be Rock Stars with thousands of 'fans' and 'likes' on our FB Fan Page which is supposed to turn into sales. I'm on a lot of the Yahoo groups, too, but that translates into reading hundreds of emails a day. It makes for a fun, interesting life, to be sure, but it cuts drastically into our writing time. Big time on my Wish List is an Assistant! Best, Mary Kennedy Eastham

Ayla Ruse said...

Thanks again for having me, Lisabet. I agree about the blogs. One of the great advantages of this form of promo is that anything can be scheduled. Sometimes I'll cull out a day where that's all I do. My stuff's put in place and I can easily spend the next week more focused writing my stories. :)

Ayla Ruse said...

Hi Maggie. You are right about the best promo being the next book. Sometimes, however, this can get lost in "keeping up" with everything else. I think I need to make a huge poster reminding me of this fact and place it right over my computer! :)

Ayla Ruse said...

Thanks for visiting, Naomi. I hate to say it, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one who's felt run ragged from promo. Take care~

Ayla Ruse said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sage. I know! First-time is as exciting as it is rough, and learning the promo ropes can make your head spin. It does get better. Eventually. LOL. I am excited for you and your new release, Sub-Mission. I have this hot little number in my TBR pile and can't wait to sink my teeth into this one.

Have a great day,

Ayla Ruse said...

Hi Word,

I like the point you make that even though promo can be lots of work (like the tons of emails), but it can be rewarding personal fun. There are many great writer-friends I've made because of loops and comments and such. Not to mention some of the laugh-out loud and insightful posts by others. Promo does work hand in hand with writing, but it is a complicated, intricate web, is it not?

Oh, and yes, I've promised myself when I get that big income, hiring an assistant is my number 1 priority! :)


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