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
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:
- 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:
- 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.)