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How to Promote Yourself and Your Book

Categories: Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents Blog, Guest Columns, Marketing and Sales, Paranormal, Platform.

As an author, you have to promote yourself. This is how people become aware of your books. Your publisher will do some advertising for you, but if you are self/vanity-published or mid-list (one of those authors who didn’t get a huge advance and thus a lot of marketing bucks from the publisher’s publicity funds), you need to do something to make yourself known to the reading public without coming across like a pushy used car salesman—no offense to any used car salesmen out there. Even those who get huge advances should still make some efforts to make their book visible and desirable.

Click here for a FREE DOWNLOAD on How to Promote Your Book.

Jess is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week;
winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Heather won.)

 

     


Guest column by Jess Haines, author of
Hunted by the Others (Kensington/Zebra)
and its sequels. She’s a displaced New Yorker
with a penchant for the silly, the obscure,
and the fantastical, and is currently working
on expanding the H&W Investigations urban
fantasy series. Find out more about her books,
how to contact her, or join her mailing list
at jesshaines.com.

 

Promoting yourself as an author may not sound like fun, but it doesn’t have to be a drag. All you are doing is making something well known and well thought of in such a way as to make public respond. You are seeking to discover how to offer something in such a way as to make the target audience then buy the product. You are creating want in the public by promoting. For a book or author, this could include things like interviews, guest blog posts, ads in magazines, etc. There are many ways of going about this.

FIRST, SOME FREE METHODS:

  1. Google bloggers who review books in your genre. Visit their blog and check that they are actively blogging, that they have followers (most will have widgets showing their Google followers, or you’ll see that they regularly have a number of comments on their posts), and that they are open to submissions. Follow their submission guidelines and ask for a review, including enough information to entice them into wanting to read your story. Most of them will be happy to help you, and may even refer you to someone else they know who reviews your genre.

 

  • Similar to the above, check for blogs or magazines open for submissions of articles (*cough* thanks Chuck! *cough*), and radio personalities or podcasters who are looking for authors in your genre to interview. Many of them will be happy to have you as long as what you have to offer is tailored to fit appropriately into their site, magazine, or show.
  • Create a Facebook author page and/or book page. Former literary agent and now author extraordinaire Nathan Bransford wrote an excellent postgiving some tips and examples of how to do this right.
  • Create a Twitter account. Interact with people. Make friends. Talk about your book—and othersubjects, so people don’t ignore you or view you as a spammer.
  • Create a blog (WordPress, Blogspot, and Blogger are some of the bigger and more reliable blogging platforms that are free to use). Use it as a way to get people talking and interested in coming back, not as a place to spam your book. Update it regularly. Visit other blogs, comment on them regularly, linking back to your own blog or website.

 


AND, SOME NOT-FREE METHODS:

  1. Create a website. It’s important to make yourself easy to find and contact. Fans and reviewers love to have a place to go that has reliable information about your current work, your upcoming work, where to buy your stories, and where to get pictures of you or your books to use for their own articles and websites. Plus a way to reach you!

 

  • Business cards. I’ll admit, I didn’t make these for a long time, but they come in handy. You never know who you might run into or when you might want to stay in touch with somebody.  This is a cheap and fabulous way to share contact information. You can also make other items to use for giveaways and promotion. Check companies like Vista Print—they often have great deals at decent prices.
  • Hold contests giving away copies of your book.Once you have a following on Twitter, Facebook, or if you do a guest blog post online, free giveaways are a fabulous way to garner attention. Make it easy and fun to enter. You may have to pay for the book and the shipping, but if your giveaway was engaging and interesting enough, you may have earned a few new sales.
  • Go to conventions aimed at readers, not authors. One example is the Authors After Dark convention that I went to last year, and will be attending again this year in August. It’s a small, intimate convention where you can meet other authors (most of them are romance authors, but you’ll find a few fantasy ones like me, too), bloggers, and, most importantly, fans. Going to a smaller convention also means you won’t get lost in the shuffle. By speaking on panels and being open to meeting people, you can make many new friends and promote yourself to people who may not otherwise have heard of you—and who will now be interested in picking up your books, and possibly to talk to their friends about it.

 


As you can see, there are a number of ways to promote yourself that aren’t terribly difficult or strenuous. Time consuming? Yes. Expensive? No. Most of these are easy ways of promoting your work without having to dig deep into your pockets, and will start the ball rolling on word of mouth. Leave the payments for billboards, magazine ads, radio and TV spots to your publisher.

So what are you waiting for? Get your name out there!

Jess is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Heather won.)

Writing fiction? Get all of WD’s popular
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11 Responses to How to Promote Yourself and Your Book

  1. Thanks for the post. Also thankful to be reminded of things I’m doing (just to be sure I’m still doing them) and maybe catch a new tip or two.

  2. LizzieBeth says:

    Great tips. I’ve done most of these, but will be looking into applying the others that you’ve suggested on here. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Clothdragon says:

    I do have to write it (getting to "The End" is not so easy) first, but these tips are great. I’ve been looking at conventions already, but not having finished — well a second one after deciding my first wasn’t quite good enough — I don’t know how much it would help.

  4. Great tips! The one that really caught my eye was the one about attending conferences for readers – what a smart idea, and one that is often overlooked. (and I second the question from Chris about finding reputable reviewers)

  5. Chris says:

    I like the idea of asking bloggers who review books to write a review of one’s book, but do you know if there is any resource for finding out who the reputable reviewers are? Thanks.

  6. Shane says:

    A great promotion strategy. I appreciate.
    All the best!

  7. Corrie says:

    This book promotion stuff is intimidating, I appreciate any and all tips. :-) I hope your promotioning continues to go well!

  8. T.C. Porter says:

    Thanks. Great ideas. Nathan’s link on The Facebook didn’t work on my iTouch. It’s
    http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/02/facebook-for-authors-how-to-get-started.html

  9. Anthony says:

    It really does come down to the single biggest deciding factor for authors (and writers) that determines their success, that’s ‘Hustle’. All the tools are available now but if you don’t consciously build some structure or a plan of attack and invest sweat equity as it’s known, then you won’t get the best from any tool.
    Great post Chuck or is that Jess?

  10. Excellent tips Jess, thank you so much! I’m taking notes and bookmarking this post. :)

  11. Great tips. I hope to need and use them in the future.

    Business cards don’t have to be expensive. I ordered from colorfulimages.com. They have some that are two sided, and have more characters so I could fit theresamilstein.blogspot.com along with my e-mail and other contact information. I think they were about $20 or $25 for hundreds of ‘em. They look and feel professional.

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