How to Promote Your Work Like a Pro

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Now more than ever before, there are so many things we can do to promote our books, articles, stories, essays, services, and other creative works and skills—regardless of whether we’re self-published, traditionally published, or even not-yet-published. Bookstore and library events remain staples, of course, as do reviews, mentions and bylines in prominent media. But add to the mix blog tours, home pages, social networking sites, free promos, cheap promos, paid placements, Web ads, print ads, Goodreads giveaways, email lists, indie author coalitions, and the myriad services claiming to increase “discoverability,” and one thing becomes clear:

Writer's Digest February 2015

You can’t do them all.

And even if you could, who would want to? Just reading that list is enough to make even a savvy marketer’s head spin.

What you need is a strategy—one that’s developed through a solid understanding of what makes the best sense for you and your work, while allowing flexibility to bend with the changing winds.

I don’t need to tell you that self-promotion and platform building are important. In a reader survey we conducted in 2014, 61 percent of respondents listed “to learn how to promote myself and my work” as one of the primary reasons they read Writer’s Digest magazine, and 45 percent of readers requested even more coverage of the topic.

The February 2015 Writer’s Digest delivers. It’s our best and most up-to-date resource on how to promote your work—and it’s hot off the press and on newsstands now. Here’s an exclusive sneak peek at what’s inside.

Keys to a Successful Promotional Strategy

In creating this issue, first, we identified two key areas worth focusing on: your author website (essential for scribes of all stripes, from freelancer to novelist, from beginner to multi-published author) and Goodreads (a must for book authors in particular). We enlisted experts to deconstruct what you need to know to make the most of each medium. Digital media pro Jane Friedman’s “Your Author Website 101” and bestselling hybrid author Michael J. Sullivan’s “Get in Good With Goodreads” are comprehensive guides ripe for earmarking, highlighting, and referencing again and again. Whether you're just starting to investigate how to promote a book or you are looking to create a Web presence that will be the foundation of your career, these articles are a great place to start.

Then, we put a call out to the writing community asking for “Success Stories in Self-Promotion”—and we got them, in droves. Learn through the real-life trial and error of writers whose promotional efforts ultimately yielded impressive sales, further opportunities, and, in some cases, even agents and book deals.

Best of all, as those authors share their secrets and tips, you’ll notice one key takeaway that comes up again and again:

If they can do it, so can you.

Doing What Works for You

That underscores the point that in working to improve both our craft and our career, it can help for us writers to stick together—to use one another as the valuable resources we are. The February issue also features a WD Interview with Garth Stein, best known for his runaway bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain and his latest novel, A Sudden Light. Stein had more great insights than we had space to print, so in our online exclusive outtakes from the interview, he talks about how he came to co-found the literacy outreach group Seattle7Writers, and why every writer should have a writing friend.

The February 2015 Writer’s Digest is already getting some great buzz on Twitter, Facebook and blogs from other writers who likely share in the same platform and promotional challenges that you do. If you’re looking for fresh tips on how to promote your work—plus the usual doses of writing inspiration and craft advice we put into every issue of WD—you won’t want to miss it!

Happy Writing,
Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer’s Digest Magazine
Follow me on Twitter @jessicastrawser.

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