by Karen Cioffi
Every author has thought it, said it, and heard it: promotion is the roll-up-your-sleeves, and dig-in part of writing. It’s the much more difficult and time consuming aspect of writing that every author needs to become involved with . . . if he wants to sell his books.
To actually sell a book, you need to have a quality product. This is the bare-bottom, first rung of book promotion . . . the foundation.
The Foundation: Create a Quality Product
The very first step in book promotion is to create a quality product. Hopefully, you noticed I said create a quality product, not just a good story. What this means is that all aspects of your book need to be top notch.
A. The Story
To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.
All the elements of a story should complement each other, should move each other forward, draw the reader in, and end with a satisfying conclusion. They should work together to create a story that will be remembered.
Suppose your story is action packed and plot driven, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters, it will fall short. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement. Again, it will be lacking. As with all things in life balance is necessary, the same holds true when writing a story.
B. Join a Critique Group
Yes, this is part of creating a quality story. Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides. They will help find: grammatical errors, holes in your story, unclear sentences and paragraphs, overuse of particular words, and weak verbs, among other elements.
They will also provide guidance and suggestions.
Check out this article for more information about joining a critique group:
Critiques are Essential
Yes, again, this is a necessary step to take to ensure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before it becomes a book. Look for an experienced and qualified editor to help tweak your manuscript. But, before you send it off to be edited, self-edit it first. There are a number of articles out there in cyberspace on self-editing. Take the time and read a few, then go over your manuscript.
D. Cover and Design
This step is more relevant to those who decide to self-publish, or use a Print-on-Demand (POD). The cover is the first impression a reader will usually have of your book, next is the interior design. These aspects are just as important as the story itself. I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression that you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Well, you can relate that to your book cover.
Don’t skimp on time, effort, or money when coming up with your book’s cover and design.
Tip: If you are writing a children’s book, do not do your own illustrations unless you’re a professional illustrator.
Karen Cioffi is an author and ghostwriter. For writing and marketing information visit http://karencioffi.com and sign up for her free newsletter, A Writer’s World. You’ll get 2 free e-books on writing and marketing in the process, and two more free e-books just for stopping by.
Author of Walking Through Walls