My hair is turning grey. Why? Because I not only write books, but have to concentrate on publicity. Publicity? Yeah, I know, it’s a bad word—but a necessary one. Maybe there are those in book-land who love book promotion. Let it be known up front that I’m not one of them. But, BUT, it is necessary! So as my latest novel, Riptide came out, I bit the bullet and formulated a plan.
Anyway, here is what I’ve done which I present with the thought that it might help other reluctant authors-promoters.
First I appealed for some reviewers and encouraged them to put reviews up on my publisher’s site (Pelican Book Group), on Amazon, Indigo, and Barnes and Noble. The results were not only encouraging, but astounding. People actually liked, even loved my book!
Of course, I’d already updated my web site and talked about the book on Facebook and twitter.
I wrote a persuasive one page description of the book which included facts, cost, availability, reviews, etc. Along with a picture of the cover, I sent this to my email list encouraging previous readers of my fiction to order the book. Orders began to trickle in.
Since my home church has been supportive, I approached the pastor about making the book available on a Sunday. Some churches are sensitive about selling on Sunday. But since our church allows the sale of missionary books and music videos from visiting presenters, the pastor was positive. With a notice in the bulletin for a couple of weeks, the sales on the Sunday in question were good.
Next I wrote a one page News Release and presented this in person to the offices of local papers. Ours is a rural county with several small towns and a very active arts and writers’ community. The papers readily accept news releases and often use them almost verbatim. In my case, one of the widest disseminated free papers printed a very positive article. I was astonished when three different people contacted me directly as a result of the article. This doesn’t often happen. I’m still waiting for two other papers to follow suit—especially when I approach them with specific dates for book readings, launches, and events.
Once one news article had circulated, it was time to approach local bookstores with whom I have maintained a relationship over the years. Fortunately, this personal approach paid dividends. All of the local bookstores have ordered copies from the distributor. Now I can direct inquiries to these stores. Even Indigo, Canada’s answer to Barnes & Noble, agreed to list it on their sites due to my relationship with some of their store managers. It is also available on Kindle, Kobo, and other e-readers.
The article also generated interest from libraries. So I took the time to personally approach the CEO of each of our local libraries with the suggestion they purchase copies. Most of them eagerly did so, purchasing copies directly from me. In each case, I offered to either run or participate in a literary evening of readings and discussion. So far, our nearest library has reciprocated and scheduled an evening centred on reading from my three novels and discussion of the role of setting in fiction.
The summer is a great time to participate in fairs, arts and craft shows, and farmers’ markets. Most years I set up a table every Saturday at whatever event is taking place. Each of these cost money necessitating the pondering of whether or not sales will cover the cost of a booth. This year, due to some health problems, I’ve not been able to do this as often as I would like.
These same challenges have made it difficult to schedule a book launch evening at a local coffee shop, but this is being planned. A book launch where coffee and pastries are available is a great place to invite friends and writing colleagues. Usually, a couple of local authors get together to launch their books, give readings, and answer questions.
The period leading up to Christmas is an especially fruitful time to set up a book table at local fairs and Christmas craft shows. People come to these looking for gifts and what better gift could they buy than a book?
I’ve also found large bookstores welcome me as a local author offering to sign books during periods that lead up to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas. These stores, however, need to know far in advance as their schedules are often full and they need to order books from a distributer.
Finally, service clubs and churches provide one of the most fulfilling venues to speak at as a writer. This is especially true if you have a book of local interest or can gear your talk to something that intrigues or educates an audience. Writers of non-fiction, particularly, have a ready-made topic on which they can speak. My book, Through A Country Window, describes the joys of country life in a general way but also focuses on fascinating facts about our area of the country. Concerning my book, Church–No Spectator Sport, I often speak about the discovery and development of spiritual gifts. From my book, Revolutionary Forgiveness, I can address many questions about how to deal with bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. I find that people are also fascinated by the whole idea of writing a book of fiction. How did you become a writer? Where do you get your ideas from? How do you get published? What advice do you have for new writers?
While we who are authors may not be ideal promoters, any effort we can expend will be yield sales and make our books known. With thousands upon thousands of titles entering the book business every year, we must do whatever we can to promote our book, unless we want it to sink into oblivion. (http://www.countrywindow.ca)