Monday, September 12, 2011

Promotion: Guest Blogger Claire Delacroix

I've invited Claire Delacroix/Deborah Cooke to be my first ever guest blogger. We've swapped blogs, and I'm on her site today talking about the tales behind my tales.

Welcome, Deb!

Promoting My Books
also writing as Claire Delacroix (

Thanks, Debra, for having me visit today!

Debra suggested that I write a post about my self-promotion. I always think it's funny when people ask me about this, because I'm convinced that I'm the world's worst promoter. I do promotion for both my self-published and NY-published books, but I mostly do things I like to do. Let's talk about those.

1. Covers
I get excited about covers. Really excited about covers. I think this is because as a reader, I choose what books to buy on the basis of their covers. Covers do the whole promo job for shopper-me. I will read anything if I like the cover. The thing is that the cover is the one thing that every potential reader will see. It pays to get it right.

I talk a lot about my covers - especially when I like them - and have a tendency to show them around a lot. This means that they get placement on my webpage and lots of mentions on my Facebook pages. I also have been strangely lucky with covers - ::knock wood:: here! - although I can't explain that at all. Maybe enthusiasm turns luck your way.

It also means that I have a lot of opinions about covers. I'm always ready when I deliver a book to my New York editor to talk about the package, and have a bunch of links and ideas at the ready. My Dragonfire books have awesome covers - you can see the cover for FLASHFIRE, which is coming up in January, right here (

One of the most exciting things to me about self-publishing is having complete control of the cover art. (Insert diabolical laughter here.) This is probably because I'm so opinionated about covers. I've found it really exciting to work directly with artists to have my re-released books get the covers I think they should have. One of the most exciting trilogies for me to repackage was my Rogues of Ravensmuir medieval romances. These are very hero-focussed romances with a bit of a darker, more gothic tone. The artist I hired, Eithne O'Hanlon, did a completely awesome job with these three covers.

In contrast, the loosely linked series called The Jewels of Kinfairlie is lighter in tone, and also medieval. Kim Killion did great covers for these three books, which you can see right here. In both cases, the linked books have strong graphical branding - there's a novella for a secondary character from the Jewels of Kinfairlie called "The Ballad of Rosamunde" which I had Kim create a cover for as well. I'm glad I did as it looks like part of the set.

2. Websites
What I like about websites is that they are available to readers 24/7. I like to update mine frequently, but it's good for readers that the information about my books is out there all the time. I have three websites right now: focusses on my Dragonfire series of paranormal romances, which are published by NAL Eclipse. highlights my spin-off trilogy, the Dragon Diaries, which is paranormal YA with romantic elements and is also published by NAL in trade. is Claire Delacroix's site. Since I've published a lot of books under that name and am digitally republishing a number of them this year, it's my most complex site. Claire Delacroix has written medieval romance, fantasy romance, fantasy with romantic elements. My Claire Cross time travels and contemporary romances are also on this site - three of the time travels have been digitally republished this year - (Kim Killion did the two covers with the clocks and clinches!)

I think it's important to keep the brands and series on separate websites. Even on the Delacroix site, I create separate pages for linked series, then link those pages to interconnected series. A reader interested in my medievals might not want to find my future-set post-nuclear but pre-Apocalyptic romances featuring fallen angel heroes - and vice versa! - but everything is there for anyone who wants to explore.
3. Blog
I have a blog called Alive & Knitting, right here

I talk about pretty much everything here, from writing to publishing to knitting. (It's true - I am a compulsive knitter.) This summer I started to host guest authors on my blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays, sometimes swapping posts but other times not. I had this idea that if I thought another author was interesting, that my blog-followers might think so too. This has worked out so well that I wish I'd had the idea sooner. (Psst - Debra's over there today!)

4. Facebook
I came late to Facebook, but I enjoy it a lot. I've made a lot of wonderful connections with readers and booksellers and cover artists too. I "met" Eithne on Facebook, which has worked out well for both of us. I have two pages there, again to keep the work in separate groups for readers who want to read one kind of book but not the others. The links are self-explanatory.

5. Amazon Author Central
Although I belong to many online forums and have my bio and picture on many reader sites, I think Amazon Author Central is the coolest of all of them. I not only can upload my bio and my picture, but I can ensure that all of my books display on my author page. I also have the RSS feed from my blog going to my Amazon author pages, and I just love that Amazon provides Bookscan data every Friday for print published books. Every author can only see his or her own Bookscan data, but those are the most interesting numbers!

6. Writing More
The final big thing that I do to promote my work is write more and publish more. There is a cumulative effect in book sales as an author releases more titles. You can watch in your numbers that a new release will prompt sales in much of the backlist. This effect is so pronounced for me - maybe because I tend to write linked series - that I think it's a better investment for me to get back to my desk and write more than to spend more time on promotion.

But writing is what I really love to do, so I will always choose it over promotion.

What do you think? What promotion do you think works best? And how do you balance writing and promoting?


  1. Very nice. Thanks for laying out all your promotion efforts. It is always interesting to see how writers navigate the waters of this rapidly changing industry. I noticed you didn't mention twitter. Do you not utilize it as another tool?

    I have not been exposed to your work before, so I picked up the first Brides book. I prefer series over stand-alone, and look forward to yours.

    To answer the question posed, I am a newbie to fiction, and am learning craft. So other than guest blogging on a couple of sites, I don't have a web presence at this time since I have nothing to promote. Hopefully that will change in the next year. Good luck!

  2. Derekd,

    I'll let Deb/Claire answer for herself, but I use Twitter, both to mention my books and blog posts and those of my friends. But it's important not to overdo it. I also post inspirational sayings.

    Good luck with learning craft. if you don't already belong, Romance Writers of America is a great organization and provides a lot of craft opportunities.

  3. Yep, RWA member, member of two local chapters, Celtic Hearts, and Hearts Through History. In 2 critique groups (2 different MS), and have been through a dozen or so online workshops in the past 3 months. Having fun, but taking it seriously.

    That's the reason why Deb's promotional efforts are interesting. Am hoping to implement the like soon. Of course, I'll need to pick up a female pen name, because other than Nickolas Sparks, guys aren't openly writing romance. Btw, I was an LMFT for a number of years also.

  4. A female pen name is probably a good idea. Pick one that is a male/female name like Jordan or Finley.

    I think this is an interesting topic. I'd probably pick up a romance by a man. Readers, would you?

  5. Cover talk and a website? That's totally my kind of promotion, especially since I'm a graphic artist and programmer, so I do my own covers and website. I'm on Facebook and Twitter, and I know not on them enough. Working on that one, but most of all working on the next book. Thanks for sharing, Claire/Deborah, and thanks to Dr. Debra for hosting her. And to answer your question, I'd pick up a romance by a man if it looked good - the author's gender doesn't matter to me.

  6. Jennette, thanks for sharing.

    Derek, Claire tried to respond to you but wasn't able to. So she emailed me her response:

    Hi, Derek, thanks for commenting and buying one of my books! I hope you enjoy it. :)

    I don't do Twitter, mostly because I write 3 to 4 books a year, so I chose one social media platform, the one I thought I'd have the most fun doing. If promo is a chore, then I just don't get to it. I've had a lot of fun on Facebook, more than expected, and have met some great people too. I'm glad I went that way--but we're all different and have to make choices that suit ourselves best.

    When I teach workshops, I encourage writers to think about what will work for them, rather than trying to do everything. If you're going to be in Toronto in January (even many locals won't be) I'm teaching a full day for Toronto Romance Writers, and this is one subject we'll talk about in detail.

    There are writers who love teaching and find it energizing--for a while Suzanne Brockman taught almost every weekend. I'd never get any writing done, but it worked for her. So think about who you are, then cherry-pick the promo option that best suits you.

    As for the female pen name, Harold Lowry wrote historical romance for years (maybe he still does) as Leigh Greenwood. He was even the president of RWA for a year. I suspect most houses would want you to use a female pen name--or readers might assume the book was a male/male romance. Different market there. Nicholas Sparks is marked as fiction for similar reasons!

    Good luck with your writing.