Shameless Shilling, Byron Style

Despite the fact that I’m on the internet so much it probably looks like I live there, I’ve never been completely comfortable trumpeting my own work. But I have to. All authors do. Publishing economics dictate we handle the majority of our own promotion these days. So, to publicize a new release in a way I could live with, I decided I needed to call my efforts exactly what they were. I titled them the Shameless Shilling Campaign.

For each new book, I create three or four humorous graphics that I post one week at a time before my launch date. This has turned an onerous task into a fun one… especially this year. MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD revolves around Halloween, so I reached into the dozens of photo albums I have chronicling the life of our sibling-free child and called up photos of Halloweens past. The photos then inspired a few cringe-worthy puns…





Along with the crafts-y fun of creating these, I got such a wonderful dose of memories with this particular campaign that I kept going, even when I ran out of puns and had to resort to merely cutesy copy…

Luckily for my readers, with these last two graphics, I’ve used up all my daughter-approved photos.

Does the campaign achieve its goal of moving merchandise? I have no idea. The one thing I haven’t mastered about promotion is analytics, which is probably the most important thing. But thanks to my Shameless Shilling Campaigns, promotion is something that I now look forward to… kind of.

Readers, have you ever found a way to turn a dreaded task into a fun one?

43 thoughts on “Shameless Shilling, Byron Style

  1. What a fun behind-the-scenes peek at the Schill-mobile in gear! None of us can wait for MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD—and who could resist a Halloween theme and your adorable daughter? Outta the way, Don Draper—our very own Chick Ellen is an advertising genius!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I think what you post is not nearly as important as where you post it. I create graphics using Book Brush to post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but my gut says they’re not really effective. I give away a lot of free downloads in each launch, which translate into KU page reads – not as lucrative as selling a book, but money’s money. The most effective tool by far for me has been Amazon ads, but it’s a real balancing act between spend and income to make a profit. I’ve mapped out a strategy for my next launch at the end of October, which will include freebies, a blog tour, reviews from ARC readers and an ad in PW Select. I’m also gonna try for a BookBub featured deal, but don’t hold your breath.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sounds like you have a great game plan, Tom! I’m limited to what I can do by my publisher. I did a couple of my own Amazon ads, but I never quite mastered them. It looks like you managed to do that and I’m very impressed!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have also not mastered the art of the “shamless shill.” Unfortunately, my books don’t lend themselves to such adorable graphics as you have – and my kids probably wouldn’t agree to let their pictures be used! LOL But injecting a little humor always makes an unpleasant task more palatable.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I have just been dipping my toe into marketing, so I have no tricks to share. And I’m not sure it is ever fun for the creative-minded folks. Likely one has to have a different brain to turn what feels like drudgergy to me into an engaging challenge. That being said, I can’t wait to dip into the Boneyard Bayou!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I made my peace with marketing when I realized it’s not really about me, it’s about my readers and potential readers … a favor to anyone who might like to read what I write. If I don’t tell them about it, then they’d probably never know.

    But in answer to your question, I have a big TV with Netflix capabilities set up right in front of my treadmill. Definitely turns exercise into fun!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I wish I had one quarter of the energy you have for promotion, Ellen–you are the maîtress! (Which sounds a little like some sort of edgy Halloween costume, come to think of it…)

    I was lucky enough to get to read an advance copy of Murder in the Bayou Boneyard, and I can tell all of you that you are in for a treat! (No trick.)

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I have such a hard time promoting myself. You have so much energy to do this, El, and I’m definitely in awe.

    For me, I like partnering with people the best. It’s more comfortable for me to be on a panel or in a conversation with someone than going solo.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Partnering is really the only way to go! I’ll never do just a plain ‘ol bookstore signing by myself. The only people who’d come would be friends who’d buy my books anyway. I want somebody else’s friends to buy my books for a change! It’s just smart business. And if nobody shows up, you have somebody to talk to.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Great promos, Ellen! Love the cute pics of your daughter! I agree with Leslie. I had an early read of Murder in the Bayou Boneyard, and it just may be my fave in the Cajun Country series!

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Cringe-worthy puns? There is no such thing as a cringe-worthy pun. Now, I have to completely edit my review of the book before I schedule it for tomorrow.

    “As always, I loved Ellen’s new book. But she thinks that puns can be cringe-worthy. I can no longer support her as a result.” 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  10. These are great! I love the photos of your daughter and as always, your sense of humor. I have a serious problem with marketing and it’s getting me nowhere. So thanks for paving the way, as always. You’re an incredible writer and mentor for others. Everyone benefits from all that you do.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow, Cynthia – I don’t know what to say except you are way too generous! You’re a fabulous writer. Cozies don’t break out the way other mystery genres do but in some ways they’re an easier sell because they reach such a specific fan base. I loved your first book and can’t wait for the second one… and not just because it’s set in my favorite city!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. These are so fabulous!! I’m with Lisa: absolute marketing genius.

    One of life’s great ironies is that I’m in marketing but am terrible at marketing myself. I guess it’s a case of the shoemaker’s children–or something like that!

    So excited that MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD will make its way into the world very soon!

    Liked by 3 people

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