5 Ways to Publicize & Promote Your Book

1. Start tweeting now! Or Tumblring, or whatever, and discover what feels genuine to you. My publisher is very active across multiple social media platforms and encouraged me to get involved well in advance of my book release, to explore what I was comfortable with and start making connections. I happen to like Twitter and would never vlog except under duress, but you may be more telegenic than me.

GIVEAWAY: Barry is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; 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: pavic30 won.)



Guest column by Barry Wolverton, author of the middle grade novel,
NEVERSINK (March 2012, Walden Pond Press). Barry has been writing
for curious children of all ages for almost 20 years, helping create
educational books, documentaries, and online content for Discovery
Networks, National Geographic, the Library of Congress, Scholastic,
and Time-Life Books. Ever since seeing puffins at the Baltimore Aquarium,
he has wondered why penguins are so much more celebrated than their
equally adorable northern counterparts.
Find him online here.



2. Make your promotion team’s job easier. They are the pros, but they can’t visit your local bookstore and introduce yourself for you. I didn’t sit back and wait for my publisher to send an ARC of my book to local buyers, I took my own copies to the children’s book buyer at my local store and the store in my hometown, and passed out others to school and county librarians, and got them excited early on about my book launch.

(What to write in the BIO section of your queries.)

3. Make your promo team’s job easier, part two. I said I like Twitter. But I probably only have around 500 followers. My publisher and agent, though, have more than 5,000 between them. They also have more than one book to publicize, so give them a reason to promote you. Lots of authors make bookmarks for their releases, but how many make large cutouts of the book’s adorable main characters? NEVERSINK stars a puffin, a hummingbird, and a walrus, and one pic of Egbert the walrus posing with me at my book launch was the Pic of the Week in Shelf Awareness. I also have stuffed animal versions of the characters, and kids are clamoring to be photographed holding them when I make school visits.

4. How can you add value for teachers and librarians? My book is fantasy, for sure, but the birds’ behavior and the conflict is firmly grounded in natural science. This lends the story to all sorts of curricular discussions on adaptation, habitat, and interdependency, as well as literary discussions about monomyth, as Lockley Puffin embarks on a classic hero’s journey. There is also a political allegory level to the story that could be explored with older elementary kids beginning to study the American Revolution. Teachers are smart enough to pick up on these things for themselves, but it still helps for me to highlight them when promoting the book. Even better, my publisher joined forces with Project Puffin to design a custom curriculum guide for Neversink that teachers can download.

(Do agents Google writers after reading a query?)

5. Does your book fit anywhere besides a traditional bookstore? My book was inspired by a love of birds, and birders are a passionate lot. I reached out to birding groups and the Audubon Society’s Project Puffin as possible other channels to promote NEVERSINK. In fact, my book was reviewed on the blog of the American Birding Association, which reaches a whole new audience compared to Publishers Weekly, and we have explore the possibility of having Buteo Books, which specializes in birding-related products, and the Project Puffin store to possibly carry NEVERSINK.

GIVEAWAY: Barry is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; 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: pavic30 won.)


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Buy it online at a discount.


Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:


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24 thoughts on “5 Ways to Publicize & Promote Your Book

  1. 4show

    Thanks for the tips, Barry. It’s true that self promotion is necessary today. The #4 tip is especially helpful. Love the book cover. It invites the reader to pick it up and look inside.

    1. bwolverton

      Thanks, Tess (and everyone):

      Yes, #4 may be the real key if you are writing middle-grade or younger — helping out teachers and librarians. I know in my area (Memphis), budgets are strapped across the board. So I have donated copies of my books to libraries (and will do so with the audiobook when it releases in Sept.), and I don’t currently charge anything for local school visits. Doesn’t mean I expect them to champion my book if they aren’t fans, but they do appreciate the help.


  2. Athornia

    I love the cover of your book…so cute! My niece wants to be a vet, and this book would be perfect for her.
    I enjoyed reading your promotion techniques. The stuffed animal is a charming touch and I’m sure the
    children wanted to take them home.

  3. nataliewrite

    Brilliant advice in your 5 ways to promote and publicize. Your book has a great, original-looking cover. Definitely catches the attention of all age groups, kids, adults, and educators. I like The Project Puffin program you discussed here. One state celebrates the puffin, now hopefully more are aware of the penguin’s silent cousin because of you book.

  4. pavic30

    What awesome cover art! If for nothing else, the artwork creates the lasting image and is sure to pique the interest of any reader. My 9-year old loves pufins and would love to add this book to his collection!!


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