The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Monday, 26 April 2010

Welcome Jannine Cortis-Peska, who is talking promotion, promotion, promotion....

Huge welcome to my blog site, Jannine - your topic is one so close to my heart, it makes me cry just thinking about it....PROMOTION!!!! AARRGHH!! I'm all ears...

First of all, thank you Rachel for having me as your guest today. ;-)

To Promote or Not to Promote.....the small press author's constant dilemma.

When I first started out in e-publishing, I was naive. In 2001 I had a book out in both POD and e-book, the latter fairly new to publishing. In fact, I had no clue what it really was. Needless to say, I didn't know how to get the most out of my promotion of my e-book. I didn't know how to promote period.

Fast forward to 2006 and my journey into e-publishing truly begins. Although in the last three years I've had a short story and three full-length novels e-published (as well as being offered in print, except for the short story), I've only recently--the last year or so--really understood the significance of promoting online. And the rewards of selling e-books as opposed to print; the royalties are higher!

When I have a book released, I set up about 4 blogs and interviews a month, and participate when my publishers have a guest day on various loops. Do my sales soar? In a word, NO. I put a lot of thought into what I blog about and spend a lot of time sending covers, blurbs, excerpts and other information to the loops. It takes away from my writing time, yet I feel it's one of the few ways I can successfully promote. The problem is, there is virtually no feedback from readers. I'll get a few responses from the other authors who are also promoting. But where are the readers? One loop I recently participated on has over 2700 members. I got two responses from my fellow authors? I've gave up on doing chats for the same reason. Only a fellow author or two came by. So why do I continue wasting my time?

For lack of a more efficient way of promoting, it's free and does get out to a large number of readers worldwide. Many other authors feel that even though readers don't join in, they're reading our excerpts and adding our books to their to-be-read list. But how many of those readers actually order our books? Obviously not enough.

One book I had published last year could have had a wide range of readers. It was set in medieval Italy. I did all my promoting as mentioned previously. I also paid for an ad in an Italian American magazine, and had a great review of my book in a national magazine dedicated to the Medieval/Renaissance period. My sales were nowhere near the 100 mark.

I also have bookmarks and other promo items made and send these to writing conferences all over the U.S., Canada and Australia for their goody bags. Still, it's had little effect on my sales. So once again I'm asking myself if all this promo is worth it. I certainly don't make enough money to pay for the promoting I do. And believe me, I can use the money. So why do I trudge along the promo trail with no real gain?

I get to hold my book in my hand, gaze at the cover, flip the pages and see my words on them...... It's self-gratifying. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. Now, if only I can write an erotic romance..... Now there is where the money is.

What about you? Reader or writer, how do you perceive promoting by way of blogs, interviews and all the rest?

I'd like to talk about my medieval psychic-sisters trilogy of which books one and two are presently available. The Sisters of Destiny trilogy started with an idea for a line Kensington had developed called Ballad. I had sent in a proposal to my editor there (who bought my only NY pubbed book). She liked my ideas; unfortunately Ballad was over-inventoried. Then the line folded. This seems to be a pattern with me, but that's another story, lol.

Book one, Carina and the Nobleman, takes place in Northern Italy. Carina is one of three sisters separated at birth, each brought to a different country to be raised. (You'll learn the reason at the end of book three.) She is clairvoyant. Book two, Charlotte and the Gypsy, takes place in a Gypsy camp in Andalusia. Char is clairaudient. I am presently researching book three, Callie and the Knight, which is set in England. Callie is clairsentient.

So far, book two has provided me with the most challenge. Researching Gypsies was actually fun, but their lives were so different from Italians, which I am used to writing about. Thankfully, a friend who is of Gypsy heritage gave me so much inside information, which paid off. I've been told how accurate my characters and the lifestyle was portrayed.

Below are the covers and blurbs for Carina and the Nobleman and Charlotte and the Gypsy. You can read the first chapters on my website:

Forced to the streets after her mother dies, Carina Gallo is desperate to survive and find her long lost sisters.
Consumed with locating his missing brother, Count Luciano Ruggero has forsaken his needs.
When Luciano catches beautiful and vulnerable Carina stealing from him, he takes pity and cares for her until she's strong enough to work off her crime. Carina is forever grateful to Luciano, yet fears he will learn of her wicked secret and condemn her to burn.
Will Luciano and Carina find a way to feed the mutual passions they share, or will heresy and obsession with lost family destroy them both?

Available at

Charlotte Nikolos keenly feels the difference between the dark coloring of the Gypsies who raised her and her own pale hair and skin. When she learns she has two sisters somewhere who share her looks and psychic powers, she's determined to search for her lost family and find answers about her past. But how?
For three years, Rafael Cazares has been away from the Gypsy camp and the woman who makes his blood boil. He's determined to win back Char's trust and recapture her heart. He insists on helping her to find her true family, but someone or something is determined to keep them apart. When a deep dark secret is revealed, Rafael would do everything in his power to keep the only women he has ever loved out of harm’s way. Even if he must die.

Trailer: Http://

Available at

Jannine Corti Petska
Assapora la passione (Feel the Passion)

Great post, Jannine - certainly got me thinking about promotion...and Italy!! Feel free to leave your comments, folks!!


  1. Jannine, (yes, here's a fellow author making a comment, LOL) I learned a lot from reading about your efforts to promote. I just started promoting and felt the same way about it.

    I wish you many sales!

  2. Another fellow author and new to the promoting field. Yes, at times it does seem futile to hit the blog trail. But, keep the faith. There are not many ways to get your name and books out there to the readers. And the blog authors that invite us as guests are literally authors helping authors. Great people. And there is nothing more exciting than seeing your words in print.
    Nice honest article. I loved it.

  3. I do get dispondant with promoting and never getting anywhere. I spend hours chatting away on various sites, blogging, helping other authors, yet still, not much happens in the sale side of things. Ive been writing over 10 years now professionally and not earned enough to leave my three jobs, but I have met some long term friends along the way.You have to love to write, to be in this job!! I took my royalty cheque into the bank this morning and me, the cashier and another customer had such a laugh. It turns out I earnt about £2.00 after deductions, on one of my books!!!! So I decided to take the cheque back home and frame it for prosperity lol You gotta love this life, or you'd go mad lol Loved the blog BTW!

  4. Another author, but steadfast reader, checking in. Promotion has to be the hardest part of being an author. I've been doing this for a number of years, spent far more on promotional tools than I've earned, and felt the same disappointment when royalty time rolled around. In the end, you have to decide WHY your write. For me, it's the same. I love seeing my accomplishments come to fruition, and I celebrate each and every one. I promote very little these days on loops because they are so inundated with competing excerpts that my head spins when I try to follow along. There are readers out there, we just haven't found the best way to tap into their hiding places yet. I'm not giving up, but I'm running on passion for what I do, not the money I make...and it's a good thing. :)

  5. I want to ditto what Ginger said. lol It's hard to promote if you're an author of a small publisher. But getting your name out there is the key! Great blog, Jannine!

  6. I think marketing and promotional work is harder than I thought it would be. I have a great book (helps if you believe in yourself and your work), and I know kids will love it...if I can actually get it into their hands! Sometimes I feel like I'm butting my head against the wall trying to figure out new things to try.

  7. Hi Jannine,
    Great post and so relevant. I only wish I knew the key to successful self promotion.



  8. Diane, thank you for commenting.

    I'm glad you were able to take something from what I wrote. It certainly is a frustrating part of publishing.

  9. Lorrie, I like the way you view blogging as authors helping authors. You're certainly right. The world of writing is actually quite small. And authors do tend to be close when it comes to promoting.


  10. Maragret, I hear ya! Yes, you have to love writing to keep at it and make peanuts. But my daughters, husband and all my friends are so proud of my accomplishments. It's so worth it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hi Ginger. You and I both know what we've been through personally. If I didn't have you and the other gals to complain to, I'd probably explode! LOL

    Yes, we keep writing. If it wasn't our passion, we'd likely find something else to do.

    Thanks, Sis.

  12. Hi Phyllis **waving** LOL

    Yes, getting your name out there is the key.

    Thanks for commenting.

  13. Katie, yes, it does feel like butting your head against a wall. Promoting is harder than writing, I think.

    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Margaret, if we had the key to successful promotion, we'd be rich!!!! LOL

    Thanks for commenting.

  15. Interesting blog topic, Jannine. I'd have to agree with Ginger that you have to use your passion for your work to inspire your efforts. I'm trying out a combo of a professional promo company, advertising on review sites, and making a hardcore push on Facebook. I'll let y'all know how it works out :)

  16. Please do, Cindy. And keep track of your expenses. I'm curious to see if all you're doing is cost effective.

    Thanks for commenting.

  17. Hello, Jannine,

    I wish that I knew the secret to successful promotion! However, I do have a theory -- that it's about building relationships with readers. I run a contest every month which usually involves asking participants to send me an email. I try to respond to every single email I receive. I have a small circle of loyal readers who seem to enjoy my work and I try to expand that circle, little by little. Because enthusiastic readers will share their opinions with other readers, and that will ultimately impact sales.

    However, I can't claim that I'm making big bucks on my work...But it's interesting that I'm making more than I did when I had only print work available through a NY publisher.


  18. Good theory, Lisabet. We certainly do need to build reader relationships.

    Thanks for commenting.

  19. Great blog Jannine!!

    Keep promoting... I know the results are nebulous, but getting yoru name out there can only help you in teh long run... :)

    Hang in there!

    Lisa :)

  20. Wow, I want to thank everyone for their comments....clearly self-promotion is the bug-bear for all of us. We will uncover the secret one day!!