Are You A Book Promotions Expert?

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Book promotion is a full-time job.  Just ask any Indie author and you’ll get an earful.  Not only are we responsible for the story, cover, editing, formatting and whatever else needs to be done, we are also responsible to get the word out about the book once it’s finished.  All of these tasks involve enough work to bring a normal person to his or her knees.  Not so the Indie Author.  He/she gallantly rises to the occasion, getting a little less sleep every night and fitting short blocks of time into an already crammed full daily schedule to tell the world about his/her creation.  After about a year of this most of us step back and sigh.  It never seems to let up.

Writing is no longer the same it was fifty years ago.  We authors may choose to go the traditional route and seek out an agent and publisher, but are aghast when we are told that we will also need to promote our work.  “Isn’t that what the publisher does?” one of my friends asked recently.  The answer is no.  You and you alone are the best person to promote your writing.  After all, if it’s left to someone else the facts may be a little bit skewed, right?  Who else will know the ins and outs of your writing as well as you do?  No one else knows the author as well, either.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The solution?  Start slow.  Build up contacts in more than one way.  Facebook and Twitter are great places to connect with readers and other authors.  Be present by posting daily and including quotes or things to be shared.  Let the readers know you’re a real person, not a pre-scheduled post.

Join groups and get to know the other members.  For instance, our Writing Wranglers and Warriors group is comprised of authors who seek to help each other by using their social media to promote each other.  Think it’s a unique concept?  There are many other groups on Facebook based on the same thing.  It just so happens that our group is focused on sharing and interacting.

Do you have an e-mail list?  A blog?  These are both great ways to reach readers and keep them current.

I recently read a post on WG2E about other promotional ideas.  One of them was to purchase magnetic signs for your car doors.  The author who wrote the post said she hopes to reach more people as they stop her and ask questions.  Bears some thought, doesn’t it?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Guest blogging is another way to reach people.  Don’t forget that writers are readers too.  Many times I have purchased a Kindle book at the end of a post I really enjoyed.  I figure if I enjoy the writer’s post there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy his or her book.  Rarely have I been disappointed.

Do you ever get the occasion to speak locally?  A local women’s breakfast,speaker conference, library, school or anywhere your subject will fit in would be the perfect place for you, the author to speak about your craft.  You will then have time to “plug” your own writing.

How about radio and television?  Have you ever asked?  I have had occasion to do radio spots often for my songwriting, as well as being a feature on the local news several times.  I have never sought out these opportunities; rather they have come to me.  The reason?  I am involved in the community and the venue I am playing lends itself well to advertising to the local population.  I have not as yet tried this for my books, but it is on my to do list for the summer.  I have a plan in place to contact local libraries (perhaps to be part of their summer reading program).  This would give me the opportunity to tell people about my books and make a few free or discounted copies available.

Sometimes brainstorming opens up new avenues.  We live in the Midwest, in an area that has parades throughout the summer.  My husband and I attend them all.  He turned to me at one point and said “We need to get pens or something with your book on them and ride in the parade and throw them out to the crowd.”  Hmmm, worth thinking about, right?parade

How about contacting local bookstores?  Have you ever done it?  I have seen books in hair salons, restaurants, gift shops and many other places you wouldn’t expect them to be.  You don’t know if you don’t ask.

Just for the record, promotion is the thing I dislike the most about being an author.  I hate asking people to read my books.  When they ask me though, I can talk nonstop about the subject and generally they wind up buying a book or two.  I hand out lots of cards (my husband is actually the pro at this) and make lots of new friends.  While I’m not an introvert, I hate putting people on the spot.  But yesterday we were car shopping and my husband told the saleswoman I was an author.  Her eyes got big and she said “no way!”  Before I knew it she had salebrought.over the sales manager and administrative assistant to introduce me (because I’m a “real” author).  It was funny, but also gave me a chance to talk about my work and hand out more cards.  Since I have a promotion coming up this month I directed them to the days the book will be discounted

What do you do for promotion?  Is it your favorite part of being an author or you least favorite?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Books by L.Leander:

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14 Responses to Are You A Book Promotions Expert?

  1. Some great tips in here. I have talked to a local independent bookstore and the manager is willing to read my book to determine if he will carry it in the store. I also want to get a batch of pens and I will carry a bunch with me at all times so I can leave them places. At restaurants mostly, when I sign the credit card receipt.

    We also have a mystery dinner theatre in a town close by. I was going to approach them about leaving postcards there for the mystery and crime anthology I’m going to be in. Their customers obviously like mystery so they would be my target audience. The two places where my local writing group meets will most likely be okay with having postcards of my book or bookmarks for people to pick up.

    I love the social media aspect of promo. I love it too much actually. 🙂 I spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter, mostly Twitter. But you never know what tweet or status update will connect with other people.

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    • Great tips Cindy – thanks for sharing! I love the one about the Mystery Dinner Theater. I have found a lot of people and businesses willing to talk to me and I’m thinking of putting together a display board. We all have different venues that would work well for us. My husband is always “on” with promotion – lucky me!

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  2. renawomyn says:

    Writing, promoting, one leads to the other but at a cost. Great ideas that give rise to other concepts. Thank you. Doris

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  3. Erin Thorne says:

    Yes indeed, it’s like having another job on top of actually writing the book! Marketing, press releases, etc., constitutes a lot of work, but well worth it. I’m constantly handing out cards, both to strangers and people I run into that I’ve known at one time or another. When they ask what I’m up to, my card says it all! I also can’t say enough about Vistaprint; they have so many marketing tools, promotional items, and overall fun stuff. Designing the promotional items is probably my favorite aspect of promotion, aside from meeting new people! Nice post!

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    • I’ll have to check Vista Print out. I’ve heard rave reviews from other people about it. My daughter took one of my business cards and had a t-shirt made (at another site). It’s awesome! I plan to use it for a special promo and we’re getting ready to order more. I’m lucky – daughter likes doing the designing and hubby likes doing the promotions so I can write!

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  4. Wranglers says:

    It is another job and one I don’t like either. I’ve done many of the things you have suggested. I’m going to take the leap into featuring a free book day or two as soon as I can get my cover finished. I’m trying to redo the one I have for the Secret in Grandma’s Trunk, and it’s fighting me all the way.

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    • Wranglers says:

      That was by Cher’ley

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    • I love the cover you just showed us for The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk. I hired my covers out because it’s something I felt I couldn’t do. As I’ve learned more I think I should have tried but now the series needs to be cohesive. I will be stepping into the waters at some point though as I took a book designing workshop and really enjoyed it. Promos can be so tiring, but rewarding, don’t you think?

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  5. Nancy Jardine says:

    I find the promotions part of it very hard to maintain. I feel like I’m putting the same marketing posts to the same people all the time and yet, like you say Linda, I’m meeting new people every day by Facebook liking new pages and joining groups etc. Another big issue is what matters most? My new witing, mypromoting or my family? There’s no contest there!

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    • I totally agree Nancy. I’m actually doing less online promoting these days because we camp all summer and I don’t have good internet. The funny thing is that my book sales are rising. Go figure!

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  6. Thanks for the great tips, Linda. I have one of those magnetic signs for my car, but often forget to put it on! (I’ve lost a few on the highway, so I’m leary with our Wyoming winds!) Promoting isn’t so difficult for me since I was a public relations major and worked in journalism, but it’s difficult to find new avenues living in Wyoming, therefore, learning more about one can do online is very helpful. Thank you!

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    • Lucky you, Gayle! I love people so talking isn’t an issue, but I hate to push my books to everyone I meet. I’m learning though. My farmer husband was in feed sales all his working career, so he never hesitates to hand out a card or mention “my wife is an author.” Gotta love him! My brother talked to a saleswoman at an auto dealer and told her she should read my books and she bought both. I went to a business seminar and was actually asked to read part of a book and sold several there. I didn’t even have any hard copies but I’ve been asked to authorgraph them so I know they came from the seminar. You never know where someone will be interested in your type of writing.

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  7. Pingback: Writer Unboxed » Are You Building An Audience Of Writers, Not Readers? | Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!

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