Ok, all kidding aside, promotion is the key to having a successful writing career. You can write the best book in the entire history of written literature, but if no one hears of it, how will they know? Sure, depending on the house who publishes your work, a certain amount of promotion will be done on your behalf, but when it comes right down to it, the future of your book really lies in your hands. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Have a large web presence. This is particularly important if the majority of your works come out in the form of e-books. The more people you reach out to on the web, the better the opportunity is that one of them will read your work and heaven forbid, tell someone else to check it out as well. I personally use, Publisher’s Marketplace, blogspot, MySpace, Twitter, Goodreads, chats and message boards, to convey my presence.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your books in a face to face environment. On any given week, I pass out ten to thirty business cards, I don’t ram the information down their throat like a seventeen year old Amway salesman, but if there is an opportunity to segue into you’re your elevator pitch, take it. If not, is it really that big a stretch to create one? Again, don’t yammer incessantly about it, but touch on the topic of your book and if there is an interest, let them know where to find it and move on to the next topic.
Conferences are another invaluable source. Though, I’d like to point out that the ones that are directed more at readers than authors will generally be your better bet. We all seek approval from our peers, but let’s face it; it’s the avid reader we’re really need to meet out there.
Reviews, both given and received, are another way to get your name out there. Say you do a review on author X. Fan of author X googles said author. Your review pops up and maybe…just maybe, they take an interest in your work as a result.
And we can’t forget the age old custom of book signings. What better way to let potential new readers know you exist than sitting in the front of a book store (you’re already a leg up, because they wouldn’t be there if they weren’t readers) with a smile and a stack of books?
Are there other ways to promote? I’m sure there are and some of them are probably more effective, but this list is just how I’ve chosen to approach the necessary evil of self-promotion. Does it work? Well, not as well as I’d envisioned in my fantasy rise to fame, but my numbers seem to be increasing every month, be it ever so gradually. Having said that, if anyone has any suggestions as to how I can coax more people to read my books, I’m all ears.