Any author will tell you that the hardest part about being published is the promotion. Before I was published I was under the assumption that the publishers marketed books for their authors. Ummm...No. The truth is unless you're Nora Roberts or JK Rowling the publisher doesn't do much in terms of marketing. Virtually all of it falls on the author. The trouble is that most authors aren't experinced in marketing and in many cases they don't have the money to hire someone else to market for them. It can be a very frustrating experience to say the least. So here are a few tools that have worked for me.
I know that lots of people are a bit squeamish about self-promotion. If you're an author I've got three words for you--"GET OVER IT!"
It's really quiet simple. If you don't promote yourself--no one else will. Well... not at first. As a new author the responsibility is on YOU to tell people all about your book and why they should run out and buy it/download it--whatever.
Social Networking. No...not for dates...for your book. Twitter, My Space, Facebook, Blogspot, Shelfari, Good Reads and We Read are all FREE!!!
Anyone promoting a book should have every single one of these accounts live and online. If you have each of these accounts you can then link them all to each other, creating your own business network.
Why do they help you? Twitter, for example, I didn't understand initially. A status update with only 140 characters. Huh?! Well the idea is to follow a flock of like-minded people. Here's just one example of how Twitter helped me.
Since I write Paranormal Romance I did a search for "paranormal". Well as you can imagine a lot of funky folks came up. One of them was "Paranormal Podcast" with Jim Harold. I followed him and he followed me back. I asked him if I could link his website to mine. We got a little conversation going. He took it to the next level and asked me if I'd like to be interviewed on his podcast show. Absolutely! Jim gets 90,000 downloads of his podcasts a month. Our interview has already been downloaded 10,000 times! Think about that.....all of those people...a brand new audience simply from connecting on Twitter.
So that's a bit about the Internet. What about face to face?
If you're an author you absolutely have to set up a book tour. It's not easy and you'll have to be persistent but it will pay off. What better way to personally connect with readers? I exectued a book tour last summer via various Borders and B&N and used all of the social networking to help promote it. These face to face signings were an outstanding way to connect personally with readers you may not have found online.
Okay. You get them face to face...and then what? What do you do you tell them? Easy. Give them your "elevator pitch". In other words...if you were on an elevator with your dream publisher and only had 60 seconds to grab their attention and sell them on your book....What would you say? That's an "elevator pitch". For me... the hook question to bring passers by to my signing table was..."Did you like "Twilight"?" Now, my series isn't about vampires...BUT...it's the same genre. I got their attention and got them to stop and listen a bit more. Then comes the elevator pitch.
I have to say that I throughly enjoyed all of my book signings. You can see an example of my experiences here on my blog.
I hope these thoughts were helpful. Believe me...after all of the publicity and promo...I need a big glass of Pinot!
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained."